Legislation to create jobs and implement targeted COVID-19 support

Legislation to create jobs and implement targeted COVID-19 support receives Royal Assent

From: Department of Finance Canada

News release

December 17, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, welcomed the Royal Assent in Parliament of Bill C-2. This bill ensures that workers and businesses have the urgent help they need to deal with the impact of the Omicron variant:

  • The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit provides $300 a week in income support to eligible workers directly impacted by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown in their region until May 7, 2022.
  • The Local Lockdown Program, providing businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs.
  • Extending the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit until May 7, 2022, and increasing the maximum duration of benefits by two weeks. This extends the caregiving benefit from 42 to 44 weeks and the sickness benefit from 4 to 6 weeks. Individuals will be able to apply retroactively back to the week of November 21, 2021. Applications for period 61 will launch on December 20, 2021.
  • The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, providing support through wage and rent subsidies to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent. The eligible types of businesses are detailed in the legislation and related backgrounder.
  • The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, providing support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 percent.
  • Extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 percent and increasing the subsidy rate to 50 percent. This extension will help businesses hire back workers, increase hours, and create the additional jobs Canada needs for a robust recovery.

The Royal Assent of Bill C-2 provides certainty to Canadians and Canadian businesses in the face of the Omicron variant. Critical emergency lockdown support will help workers and businesses unable to work or do business, should the public health situation necessitate future lockdowns. It also provides essential, targeted support for businesses still profoundly affected by the pandemic. The Government will continue to help Canadians through the pandemic and ensure Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.

Quick facts

  • The total cost of the measures in Bill C-2, from October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022, is estimated at $7.4 billion. To account for the potential cost of the Omicron variant response, the Government has provisioned an additional $4.5 billion for these programs and other necessary measures to keep Canadians safe, should they be required. For context, the Government of Canada has provided $282 billion for direct income and business supports since the start of the pandemic.
  • In addition to Bill C-2, in the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, the Government proposed new measures to see Canadians through the pandemic and support a robust and resilient recovery. These measures include:
    • $1.7 billion to increase access to rapid testing supplies across Canada, helping to identify cases early, break the chain of transmissions, and reduce outbreaks.
    • $2 billion to procure lifesaving COVID-19 therapeutics and treatments.
    • $100 million through the Safe Return to Class Fund and $10 million for First Nations on-reserve schools to improve ventilation in schools and protect students, teachers, school staff, and parents from outbreaks.
    • $70 million to support ventilation projects in public and community buildings like hospitals, libraries, and community centres.
    • The proposed new Small Businesses Air Quality Improvement Tax Credit of 25 percent of the cost of upgrading ventilation systems and air filtration, up to $10,000 per location and $50,000 in total.
    • $60 million to support Canada’s live performance industry workers through the new temporary Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund.
  • 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 percent 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. More than $98 billion in support is already paid out through the program to help employers rehire workers and avoid layoffs.
  • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped more than 218,000 organizations with over $7 billion in support for rent, mortgage, and other expenses.
  • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit has delivered $3.81 billion to 496,490 Canadians. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed people who cannot 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 severe health complications due to COVID-19.
  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit has delivered over $879 million to 779,800 Canadians. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who cannot 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.
  • As reported in December’s Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, a Department of Finance survey of private-sector economists conducted in early November projects solid real GDP growth of 4.6 percent in 2021.
  • Canada has exceeded its goal of creating 1 million jobs, has the second-fastest jobs recovery in the G7, and has now recovered 106 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic, compared to 83 percent in the U.S.

Associated links

Source: CRA

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