On November 24, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, introduced Bill C-2 in Parliament to implement the recently announced COVID-19 relief fund measures. This bill would:
- Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10% and increase the subsidy rate to 50%. The extension would help businesses continue to hire back workers, increase hours, and create the additional jobs Canada needs for a robust recovery.
- Deliver targeted support to businesses still facing significant pandemic-related challenges. Support would be available through three streams:
- Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which would provide support through wage and rent subsidies to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75%. The types of business that would be eligible are detailed in the proposed legislation and in the backgrounder associated with today’s announcement.
- Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which would provide support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50%.
- Local Lockdown Program, which would provide businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs.
To ensure workers continue to have support, the proposed legislation would:
- 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 who are directly impacted by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown in their region up until May 7, 2022. Eligible workers would be able to apply to receive this support retroactively from October 24, 2021. The original benefit this is meant to replace is the Canada Recovery Benefit, which closed on October 23.
This proposed legislation would support workers and businesses still affected by the pandemic and ensure Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.
- The total cost of these measures, from October 24, 2021, through May 7, 2022, is estimated at $7.4 billion. This compares to the $289 billion the Government of Canada has spent on direct income and business supports since the start of the pandemic.
- 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% of additional eligible salary or wages. This support gives employers the certainty they need to rehire and expand operations.