With one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, many businesses safely reopening, and employment now back to pre-pandemic levels, Canadians have reached a turning point in the fight against COVID-19. The government has now surpassed its target of creating a million new jobs. Canada is on the road to economic recovery—but some areas of the country and economy continue to need targeted support.
Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced that the government is taking targeted action to create jobs and spur economic growth. This includes moving from the very broad-based support that was appropriate at the height of lockdowns to more targeted measures that will provide help where it is needed, while prudently managing government spending.
The government is proposing the following changes to business support programs:
- Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increase the subsidy rate to 50 per cent. The extension would help businesses continue to hire back workers and to create the additional jobs Canada needs for a full recovery.
- Deliver targeted support to businesses that are still facing significant pandemic-related challenges. Support would be available through two streams:
- Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
- Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, would support other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.
- Applicants for these programs will use a new “two-key” eligibility system whereby they will need to demonstrate significant revenue losses over the course of 12 months of the pandemic, as well as revenue losses in the current month.
- Businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns will be eligible for up to the maximum amount of the wage and rent subsidy programs, during the local lockdown, regardless of losses over the course of the pandemic.
- These programs will be available until May 7, 2022, with the proposed subsidy rates available through to March 13th, 2022. From March 13, 2022, to May 7, 2022, the subsidy rates will decrease by half.
To ensure that workers continue to have support and that no one is left behind, the government proposes to:
- Extend the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit until May 7, 2022, and increase the maximum duration of benefits by 2 weeks. This would extend the caregiving benefit from 42 to 44 weeks and the sickness benefit from 4 to 6 weeks.
- Establish the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit which would provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers should they be unable to work due to a local lockdown anytime between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.
With these changes, the government is supporting the hardest-hit sectors and those who are affected by the virus while recognizing that broad-based assistance is no longer needed. These changes will continue to prioritize job creation and a strong economic recovery.
“Our economy is rebounding and we are winning the fight against COVID. It is also true, though, that the recovery is uneven and the health measures that are saving lives continue to restrict some economic activity. That is why 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. 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.”
- Existing income and business support programs will end on October 23, 2021, as previously announced.
- Budget 2021 introduced the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help employers hire the workers they need to recover and grow, with a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of additional eligible salary or wages. This support gives employers the certainty they need to rehire and return to growth.
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs, with over $95 billion in support already paid out through the program to help employers re-hire workers and avoid layoffs.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped more than 210,600 organizations with over $6.8 billion in support for rent, mortgage, and other expenses.
- The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit has delivered $3.58 billion to 465,610 unique applicants. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. It applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit has delivered over $742 million to 698,970 unique applicants. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
- Projected GDP growth for Canada in 2021 is 5.7 per cent according to the IMF and 5.4 per cent according to the OECD.
- Canada has now recovered 100 per cent of the jobs lost during the pandemic, compared to 78 per cent in the U.S.