Government Extends Pandemic Financial Supports for Business and Workers

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COVID-19 Impact on Business

CEWS, CERS and Recovery Benefits Extended

OTTAWA – COVID-19 UPDATE – THE Government of Canada has announced that a number of crucial COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses will be extended.
These extensions include:

  • Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, 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.

In a statement to media the government says this decision is in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors means workers and businesses continue to need support. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion made the announcement in Ottawa on Friday.

As our recovery gets underway, workers and businesses in certain regions and sectors continue to need support. 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.

Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says, “The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased by today’s announcement that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) have been extended for another month to October 23, 2021. With only 35 per cent of businesses back to making normal levels of sales, any additional runway on these crucial federal support programs is welcome news.

“However, CFIB continues to petition the federal government to maintain the programs until the economic recovery is more advanced. Small firms are keen to replace subsidies with sales, but many firms continue to face a significant lack of demand due to capacity restrictions, border closures and customers hesitant to return to normal activities,” continued Kelly.

The CFIB is concerned that new businesses also continue to be left out of all federal support programs, including the wage and rent subsidy and the new Canada Recovery Hiring Benefit (CRHB). CFIB urges the government to create a pathway for them to access these vital supports.

Kelly says that, “The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) program has also been extended into October, which will be a relief to many workers and self-employed Canadians who have had to rely on it throughout the pandemic. However, with a growing shortage of skilled workers in many sectors, CFIB cautions the government to ensure CRB or any other Employment Insurance measures do not disincentivize people from returning to work by ensuring part-time worker benefits are not higher than they earned pre-pandemic”.

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.

More details on the extension and these proposed changes to COVID business supports are available in the backgrounder associated with today’s announcement.

“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,” stated Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

“While there are positive signs of economic recovery throughout the country, it has not been equal. We recognize that certain sectors are slower to recover from the impact of COVID-19. By providing additional weeks for the Canada Recovery Benefit and extending the eligibility period for all three recovery benefits, we are ensuring that no one is left behind as the economy reopens. We remain firm in our commitment to support Canadians who need it the most,” added Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.