Government extends COVID-19 benefits and business supports

THE federal government on Friday announced the extension of COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses:

* Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until October 23, and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25.
* Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23.
* Increasing the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB, by an additional four 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.

Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance , and Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, said that as 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.

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.


Quick Facts

  • Since September 2020, there have been over 1 million CRB applications per two-week period, with the program paying out over $23 billion in income support to Canadians during the pandemic.
  • The CRB will remain available to people who are unable to work, or have had at least a 50 per cent reduction in average weekly income due to COVID-19.
  • By increasing the number of weeks available under the CRB, EI claimants who have exhausted the maximum 50 weeks of EI regular benefits would need to apply for the four additional weeks of the CRB provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • All the recovery benefits will continue to be available to eligible individuals until October 23 at the maximum number of weeks, including up to 42 weeks for the CRCB and up to the four weeks of the CRSB.
  • The minimum weekly benefit rate payable to Employment Insurance (EI) claimants will be set at $300 per week, matching the current rate paid under the CRB for new claimants. The EI minimum $300 benefit rate will apply to EI claims established between September 26 and November 20.
  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs, with over $87 billion in support already paid out through the program to help employers re-hire employees and avoid layoffs.
  • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped more than 200,000 organizations with over $5.2 billion in support for rent, mortgage, and other expenses.
  • The wage subsidy, rent subsidy and Lockdown Support were set to expire in June 2021. To help see Canadian employees and employers through to recovery, Budget 2021 extended these measures to September 25, 2021, and provided the government with the option to extend the programs through regulation for up to an additional two periods should the economic and public health situation require it. With this announcement the government is extending these measures until October 23, 2021, and increasing the wage and rent subsidy rates for the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
  • Budget 2021 also introduced the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help hard-hit businesses hire the workers they need to recover and grow, with a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of additional eligible salary or wages. This support gives businesses and other organizations the certainty they need to rehire and return to growth. Support is available from June 6, 2021 to November 20, 2021.