TORONTO — Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, and Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the extension of crucial COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors means workers and businesses continue to need support.
These extensions include:
- Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021, and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
- Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.
- Increasing the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB, by an additional 4 weeks, to a total of 54 weeks, at a rate of $300 per week, and ensuring it is available to those who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits.
As the recovery gets underway, workers and businesses in certain regions and sectors continue to need support according to the government statement. In the April federal budget, the government recognized that the economic and public health situation remained uncertain and made sure it had the flexibility to extend supports further into the fall as the public health situation warranted. By moving forward on these extensions, the government is ensuring that businesses – including those in hard-hit sectors like tourism, hospitality, arts, and entertainment – can continue to get the support they need so they can invest in their recovery and long-term prosperity.
In addition, the government is proposing to offer businesses greater flexibility when calculating the revenue decline used to determine eligibility for the wage and rent subsidy programs and the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program. The government is also releasing draft legislation that provides further clarity on previously announced changes to the wage subsidy for furloughed employees.
“Throughout the pandemic, our government has been committed to doing whatever it takes to support Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our economies are safely and gradually reopening but many small businesses and workers are still getting back to business. Extending these supports—which have been lifelines for many—is needed. This is of particular importance for those workers and businesses that have been hit hardest by the pandemic and are still reopening and rebuilding. Our government will continue to be there for Canadians and make sure that all workers and businesses are well positioned to come roaring back,” says Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
While this is welcome news to the tourism industry, not everyone will agree that it is enough.
“Today’s announcement extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) until October 2021 is a positive step in supporting the tourism industry that has lost most of the summer and still suffering from travel restrictions and border closures. This is a very positive step and the government deserves credit for listening to our sector. However, we know that this will not be enough to keep thousands of businesses from closing their doors permanently and losing important tourism infrastructure. The tourism and travel industries were the first hit in the pandemic and the hardest hit, and we will be the last to recover. Without business survival programing that targets our sector, many tourism businesses will not survive,” says a statement from the Tourism Association of Canada.