OTTAWA – The Liberal government introduced a new pandemic aid bill on Wednesday afternoon that would maintain some financial aid for businesses and workers until at least the spring of 2022.

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Bill C-2, if passed, would provide a number of new targeted programs, built again from pre-existing benefits introduced at the start of the pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said, “With higher vaccination rates, more than a million jobs created, children back in school, and businesses reopening across the country, it is important for these new and better conditions to The time has come to adopt support measures.” Wednesday.

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As announced earlier, Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program And the toughest business recovery program will provide assistance through wage and rent subsidies.

The tourism and hospitality recovery program will apply to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and restaurants with a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent, while the toughest business recovery program will apply to other businesses that have suffered “deep losses”. Subsidy rate up to 50 percent.

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Specifically, to qualify for the former, businesses must show a 12-month revenue loss of at least 40 percent and a current month’s revenue decline of the same amount. For the latter, businesses will have to show a 12-month revenue loss of at least 50 percent and the current month’s revenue decline of the same amount.

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The government is also proposing a local lockdown program to help businesses affected by the government-imposed lockdown. These companies will be eligible to get the maximum subsidy amount.

For workers, the bill details a new Canada worker lockdown benefit replacing the popular Canada Response benefit. It is also ready for those whose work is directly affected by the lockdown.

It is available to employees who are ineligible and eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), as long as they have not been paid benefits through EI during the same period.

Liberals are proposing to extend and extend the eligible period of Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. The former will last 42 to 44 weeks, and the latter will last four to six weeks.

Finally, the Canada Recovery Hiring Program will be extended to employers with more than a 10 percent revenue loss. The rate of subsidy for this benefit will be increased to 50 percent.

All programs will be extended till May 7, 2022.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Employment Minister Carla Qualtro are due to address reporters on Wednesday evening regarding the bill.

Bill C-2 is one of four laws liberals are prioritizing as the new parliamentary session begins.

In October, Freeland announced that many COVID-19 supports were ending and being replaced with more “targeted” programs with a price tag of $7.4 billion.

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The minister said on Wednesday that he expected this to be the last round of pandemic aid expansion.

“I view this legislation as the final step in our COVID-19 support programmes. This is what I really hope and really believe is the ultimate pivot,” she said.

political horse trading

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said during a Granthshala News Throne speech special on Tuesday that the party was evaluating its position on the bill.

“We are looking at the new bill they are proposing now… In the election, we said hospitality and tourism need help, need help. That’s where we want to help,” O’ Toll said.

“But, we also know that out of control, accountability measures of the Liberal government led to a lot of fraud, which led to organized crime that deceived the government. So we want to make sure they plug the loopholes, They should take tough measures.”

Going to Wednesday’s caucus meeting, Deputy Conservative leader Candice Bergen said whether the party would support the bill was on the agenda to be discussed during that closed-door meeting with all lawmakers.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchett indicated that the party may support it, but is a point of contention.

“Basically, we agree with the principles. There is one thing that may be a preoccupation for us: the fact that activists in the arts and culture sector are not involved or supported in any way at this time. But other than the issue “We support the idea that we understand the intent of the C-2, then we will see what is the best way to go through the whole process,” he said at the press conference after the caucus on Wednesday.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh emphasized that the government should not expect automatic green light from the New Democrats.

“Liberals should not expect us to support their bills, any of them. It will only happen if we support Canadians when they benefit,” he said.

business feedback

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce weighed in, saying they were pleased that liberals preferred the proposed legislation.

[It’s] A great example of the government listening to and acting on the advice of the business community. “We urge all parties to work together to pass legislation as soon as possible to ensure that seriously affected SMEs are not affected,” said a statement by Alla Drigola Birk, Director of Parliamentary Affairs and SME Policy. Keep getting the necessary support without any interruption.

Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), who has been an outspoken proponent of expanding business support, had mixed reviews regarding eligibility criteria for business support.

“The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is disappointed that the federal government has not changed the 40 to 50 percent minimum revenue loss requirement to access small business assistance programs, which means that most small businesses need to be able to access those businesses,” a statement said. will be cut off from reaching.”

“The CFIB is pleased that the government has added to its list a number of sectors that can access a more generous tourism and hospitality recovery programme, such as gyms, arts and entertainment and weddings/events.”

With files from Granthshala News’ Rachel Aiello.