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Ottawa Government Extends Pandemic Support Projects

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Ottawa’s (Canada) federal government has approved the extension of several pandemic support programs and added a new one for the labor industry.

After passing Bill C-2 yesterday, the Canada Recovery Hiring Program will be extended until May 7, 2022, for qualified companies with revenue losses greater than ten percent, and the subsidy rate will be increased to 50 percent.

“This will encourage businesses to hire back workers, increase workers’ hours and create new jobs,” says Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Subsidies covered under Canada EWS Subsidy (CEWS) will also be extended until May 7, 2022.

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) has also been extended until May 7, 2022, and the maximum period of benefit has been extended by two weeks.

This extends the caregiving benefit from 42 weeks to 44 weeks, and the sickness benefit increased from four to six weeks.

They replaced those previously offered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

The legislation stated that eligible entities under these rules would need to demonstrate a revenue decline over 12 months of the pandemic, as well as a current-month revenue decline.

“In addition, organizations subject to a qualifying public health restriction would be eligible for support if they have one or more locations subject to a public health restriction lasting for at least seven days that require them to cease some or all of their activities.”

Last November, the federal government said it was looking for ways to recover money disbursed through CERB benefits.

Under Bill C-2, an act to offer additional support in the fight against COVID-19, the government will also provide targeted assistance to businesses confronting significant challenges related to the pandemic via three channels.

The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program will provide support through wage and rent subsidies to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent.  

The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program will provide support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 percent.  

The Local Lockdown Program will provide businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs.

“We understand that some travel restrictions will have an impact on tourism businesses that have already been through a very difficult time,” Freeland said.

Tourism HR Canada launched a student work placement program that provides employers with an opportunity to receive a wage subsidy of up to 75 percent of a qualifying student’s salary to a maximum of CA$7,500, using federal funding.

In place of the defunct Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) will offer CA$300 per week of income-based support to eligible workers directly affected by a COVID-19 related public health lockdown in their area until May 7, 2022.

“This is a new income benefit which takes into account the fact that the public health situation is still uncertain and unpredictable,” Freeland added.

“We are taking this step because we want to ensure that no one is left behind, including vulnerable workers.” Freeland ended.

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