Rents in Major Canadian cities have increased by double digit percentages in a single year. Many long-time businesses fear lease renewals.

Since 2020 main street Canadian businesses have been on the brink of disaster.  CEBA Loans & insolvencies have dominated the conversation.  Yet an equally pressing issue has been double-digit percentage increases in commercial rents across urban Canada, leading to the closure of many cherished and otherwise successful local establishments.

Aaron Binder, Director of the Better Way Alliance, emphasizes, “Major commercial rent increases have plagued us for years, but the situation has worsened in 2023 and 2024. Retail rents in Toronto, Ottawa, and other cities jumping by double digits for many businesses. These increases translate to thousands more in monthly rent for main street businesses at a time when they can least afford it.  Provinces need to get serious about regulating the wild west of commercial leases or risk losing even more main street businesses.”

In light of these challenges, cities and businesses alike are advocating for change. New Westminster BC’s City Council is exploring the implementation of commercial rent controls, and in Ottawa, over a hundred businesses have united in a call for similar measures.

The Better Way Alliance’s 2022 Commercial Rent Report highlights alarming statistics:

  • Over 50% of businesses anticipate being forced to move at the end of their current lease because of landlord or lease difficulties.
  • 55% of businesses have moved or closed because of a large rent increase.

To address these challenges and support the continuity of main street and industrial-zoned businesses, the Better Way Alliance proposes:

  • Implementing a Commercial Rent Increase Cap
  • Invest in a Commercial Tenant – Landlord Board
  • Create a Provincially Recognized Standard Commercial Lease with Plain Language

These measures aim to introduce fairness and predictability into the commercial leasing market, ensuring that small businesses can continue to thrive and serve their communities.

For further information, to connect with a business experiencing a major rent increase, or comment about the BWA’s Commercial Rent Report, contact Aaron Binder: 416-677-5088 (Whatsapp/Signal) or