Canada to spend billions on new recovery programs but will shut down wage subsidy
Canada announced sweeping changes to the pandemic recovery program in a press conference this morning, including the news that the federal government will end their wage and rent subsidy programs as of Oct. 23.
"Today we are announcing what we very much hope and believe is the final pivot in delivering the support needed to ensure a robust recovery – for everyone," said Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
"Our focus is to protect and create jobs. And ensure the strongest possible recovery for everyone. And we will continue to deliver on this promise we have made to Canadians."
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will all expire on Saturday, but that doesn't spell the end of assistance for those who have suffered the worst financially through one of the most challenging periods in history.
In place of CRB, CEWS, and CERS, Canada is launching $7.4 billion in recovery programs, the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program.
The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program would offer wage and rent subsidies of up to 75 per cent to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and restaurants. The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program would provide businesses that have faced heavy losses with wage subsidies as high as 50 per cent.
The plan takes a targeted approach, supporting employers with wage subsidies touted as a path to job creation and economic recovery. Freeland says that a business would be evaluated for the program based on its revenue loss over the previous year.
And while these two programs cover most of the bases for businesses and individuals who have faced the toughest times, there is also new proposed legislation for a program called the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit intended to take effect on Sunday.
As the name implies, the program would be a back-pocket solution for future outbreaks and lockdowns. In the event of future government-imposed public health lockdowns, the legislation would temporarily cover unemployed workers with a weekly stipend of $300 per week.
The new benefit would be limited to workers whose jobs have been interrupted by a government-imposed, available until May 7, 2022, with possible retroactive payments from Oct. 24, the day after the existing benefit programs expire.
Canada's Recovery Caregiving Benefit and Recovery Sickness Benefit are being extended to the same date, and have been given two-week increases in duration, upping the caregiving benefit to 44 weeks and the sickness benefit to six weeks.
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