Feds 'need to keep a handle on expenditures, full stop': Political advisor
More than a year and a half since the onset of the pandemic, the federal government is pivoting its approach to supporting individuals and businesses that continue to be financially hobbled by COVID-19 and the resulting public health restrictions.
After the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) expires on Oct. 23 it will be replaced by a targeted benefit that will help those whose work is impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns, the government announced Thursday.
At a news conference, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit will go into effect on Oct. 24.
The benefit will provide $300 a week to workers who are subject to a lockdown.
Freeland said the government is taking out “insurance” by creating the new support program in the event of local lockdowns in the future, and that those who are affected by those lockdowns would be able to tap the subsidy program up to the maximum amount for the duration of the lockdown.
Freeland said all business and income support programs scheduled to expire on Oct. 23 will not be extended.
“We are announcing what we very much hope and believe is the final pivot in delivering the support needed to ensure a robust recovery,” she told reporters.
Freeland also announced a new Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program that will be available to employers who can demonstrate “deep and enduring losses.”
The program will provide support via rent and wage subsidies, starting at a rate of 10 per cent for applicants who show their revenue has been cut in half; the subsidy would rise to 50 per cent for revenue losses of 75 per cent, Freeland said.
She added that eligibility will be based an employer’s revenue loss over the course of 12 months of the pandemic. The other eligibility factor will be revenue loss in the current month. The support will be available from Oct. 24 until May 7.
In addition, the government is launching a Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program dedicated to certain industries that are facing particular hardship as a result of the pandemic and continuing public health restrictions, including restaurants, bars, hotels, and travel agencies.
According to a government document released Thursday afternoon, aid under that program would be provided via wage and rent subsidies (ranging from 40 to 75 per cent) to qualifying businesses that can show their monthly revenue has tumbled at least 40 per cent in the current month, as well as during the first 13 qualifying periods (on average) for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Subsidy rates under the two programs for employers will be cut in half from March 13 until May 7.
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