Canada’s COVID-19 benefits: A look at what’s expiring and what’s new

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The federal government is pulling the plug on several COVID-19 support programs starting Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on Thursday, as she reminded Canadians that the measures were always temporary.

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However, the government has a “targeted” $7.4 billion plan to support new COVID-19 benefits for hard-hit businesses and employees going into the spring.

Here’s a look at the new benefits and expiring benefits.

What’s ending?

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Come Saturday, rent subsidies and lockdown support, which have helped more than 210,600 organizations support more than $6.8 billion in rent, mortgage and other expenses, are about to end, as of now, more than $95 billion. Paying wage subsidies will end. Help employers to re-hire workers and avoid layoffs.

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“Today, our support needs to be more narrow, more targeted and less expensive and we need to wait for the day, not too far now, when we will be able to eliminate it completely,” Freeland said. . News conference Thursday.

While the new measures will be taken, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will stop on 23 October.

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), formerly known as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), will also be phased out and will be replaced by a more targeted program called the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit.

what’s new?

The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit is a new measure aimed at providing income support to workers who are unable to continue working due to local government-imposed lockdowns – if any in the near future.

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“Our emergency aid measures were always designed to temporarily get us out of trouble,” Freeland told reporters. “We are now in a new phase, which is very different from the darkest days of our fight against COVID. We have regained the jobs we lost.”

Freeland said temporary local lockdowns are “still a possibility in the coming months.”

“We want Canadians to know that we now intend to take a measure that will take immediate action to support workers in the event of a new local lockdown,” she said.

The new program will include a benefit of $300 per week and will be available only to workers whose work disruptions are directly caused by government-initiated public health lockdowns. From October 24, this program will run till May 7, 2022 and will be available during the entire period of lockdown called by the government.

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The benefit will be accessible to those ineligible as well as eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), provided the latter is not receiving payment through EI for the same period.

However, workers who have suffered loss of income or employment due to refusal to comply with the vaccine order will not be able to avail the benefits.

A Look at Extended Benefits

The Canada Recovery Hiring Program is being extended through May 7, 2022, with the right to extend further through regulations until July 2, 2022.

This benefit is for those employers who have lost more than 10 per cent of the current revenue. An enhanced subsidy rate of up to 50 percent is also available.

There are two streams under this program: First, the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program which aims to provide wage and rent assistance to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and restaurants with a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent. The second is the hardest-hit business recovery program, which aims to support other businesses that have suffered deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 percent.

Those applying for these programs will have to go through a two-key eligibility process. Applicants must be able to show significant revenue loss not only during the 12 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the month in which they are applying.

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However, in the event of a new and temporary government-imposed shutdown, businesses will be eligible for maximum wage and rent subsidy programs, regardless of their status during the pandemic.

The proposed subsidy rates will be available till March 13, 2022, after which the rates will be halved till May 7, 2022.

Increase in monthly limit on eligible expenses

Under the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, businesses have a monthly limit of $75,000 on eligible expenses that can be claimed per business location and for a total of $300,000 for all locations.

To support hard-hit sectors such as hotels and restaurants, the Canadian government has now proposed legislative amendments to raise the total monthly limit from $300,000 to $1 million beginning October 24.

Employers and organizations that meet the new eligibility requirements for rent subsidies under the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and the toughest Business Recovery Program will be eligible.

Other programs being extended through the summer of 2022 include Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.

“Canadians across the country may need continued support from Canada Sickness Benefits and Canada Care Benefits. We all need to protect ourselves and each other by staying home when we are sick,” Freeland told a correspondent Thursday. said during the conference.

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“We therefore intend to extend eligibility for both of these benefits until May 7 of next year and extend the maximum period of each benefit by two additional weeks.”

This means that the caregiver benefit will now increase from the previous 42 weeks to 44 weeks and the illness benefit will last four to six weeks.

So far, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit has provided $3.58 billion to 465,610 different applicants, while Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit has provided more than $742 million to 698,970 unique claimants.

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