With one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world, restrictions are carefully being eased in our communities and at our border. Businesses across the country are safely reopening, the economy is rebounding, over a million jobs have been created, and employment is back to pre-pandemic levels. That’s why, last month, the government announced it is pivoting from broad-based economic support to targeted measures that provide support where it is needed, in order to create jobs and growth and prudently manage government spending.
Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, introduced Bill C-2 in Parliament to implement the recently announced 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 and that no one is left behind, 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 week
- 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.
This proposed legislation would support workers and businesses still affected by the pandemic and ensure Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.
“As our recovery has begun to take hold, we have moved past the darkest days of the pandemic to a new phase. We have recovered over a million jobs, borders are reopening, businesses are getting back up to speed, vaccination rates are high – and will get higher as our children are protected by their doses. That is why we are adapting our income and business support measures to target support to those who continue to need it the most. With today’s legislation, we are pivoting to what we hope will be the final stage of recovery. I hope Parliament will pass this legislation expeditiously so that Canadians can get the support they need and without undue delay.”
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our government has been there for workers and provided them with the support they need to stay healthy and safe, and to stay afloat. With many job vacancies currently and a more positive outlook in terms of the unemployment rate, it is time to transition away from broad economic measures to more targeted supports for businesses and workers. We want to ensure that if a decision is taken to impose a temporary lockdown to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, workers who are impacted will have access to the help they need.”
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
“We promised our tourism sector that we would deliver targeted support to get them through the end of this pandemic. We have delivered. We know that our economy will not fully recover until our tourism sector recovers. If passed, this legislation, alongside other supports we have made available, would ensure our sector gets the help it needs.”
The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
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.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs, with over $97 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 215,000 organizations with over $7 billion in support for rent, mortgage, and other expenses.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit has delivered $3.74 billion to 486,910 Canadians. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed people 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 $829 million to 758,670 Canadians. 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% according to the IMF and 5.4% according to the OECD.
Canada has now recovered more than 100% of the jobs lost during the pandemic, compared to 81% in the U.S.
On August 9, 2021, Canada opened its borders, for non-essential travel, to those American citizens and permanent residents who are currently residing in the United States who are fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. On September 7, 2021, Canada opened its borders to any fully vaccinated traveler who has completed a full course of vaccination at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.