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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asking Canada’s commercial landlords to buy into a federal program launching next week that would give companies a break on the rent due in only a few days.

Applications open Monday but business groups have warned that leery landlords are unlikely to take part in the program, which is delivered jointly with provinces and territories.

Landlords that do sign up can receive a forgivable loan to cover half monthly rents in April, May and June, so long as they drop rents by at least 75 per cent over the same period.

Speaking outside his Ottawa residence, Trudeau said Wednesday that businesses facing a rent crunch will need to hold on through the COVID-19 pandemic and help with an eventual economic recovery, instead of closing up and slowing the rebound.

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