Although approximately 67% of Canadians are fully vaccinated as of August 2021, the Government of Canada is aware that COVID-19 continues to have serious consequences for Canadian businesses. To that end, on July 30, 2021, the Government of Canada announced the extension of certain COVID-19 support measures with the goal of continuing to provide for workers and businesses in need. Among these extensions are the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. These will be extended until October 23, 2021.
- “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.”
- – The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy was introduced to help employers pay the wages of their employees. Ideally, the subsidy will help employers re-hire employees and prevent job losses and job abandonment despite potentially massive losses of revenue as a consequence of COVID-19. The Emergency Wage Subsidy is known to have helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs. Originally this subsidy was scheduled to expire In June 2021, but was extended until September 25, 2021. Now, the Government proposes to extend it further to October 23, 2021. In addition, the maximum rate for the wage and rent subsidies was expected to be 20% between August 29 and September 25, 2021, however this rate has been increased to 40%. The maximum weekly benefit per employee provided by the subsidy would therefore be $452. The maximum rate for the extension into October will be set at 20%.
As of August 2021, over 4 million applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy have been approved, amounting to over $90 Billion of subsidies.
Canada Recovery Benefit
The Canada Recovery Benefit is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency and is intended to provide income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are affected by COVID-19. Originally, it was expected that individuals would be eligible for a total of 50 weeks of support between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. However, the Government of Canada is now proposing to extend that by another 4 weeks to October 23, 2021. The maximum number of weeks would therefore be 54 weeks. The rate would be $300 per week.
As of August 2021, over 25 million applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit have been approved. This has resulted in over $24 Billion in support. It is likely that the additional four weeks of support will result in a further 1.2 million applications being approved.