CRB, wage and rent subsidies will all end on Saturday, Chrystia Freeland confirms

CRB, wage and rent subsidies will all end on Saturday, Chrystia Freeland confirms
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OTTAWA — Several of the Canadian government’s pandemic supports for individuals and businesses will end this week, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed Thursday, as Ottawa transitions to new programs for those hardest hit by the crisis.

As , the Canada Response Benefit (CRB) will end on Saturday. Freeland said Thursday that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will officially expire on the same day.

Eligibility for two other benefits for individuals — Ottawa’s caregiving and sickness benefits — will be extended to May 7, 2022. The maximum duration for which those benefits can be received will be expanded by two weeks, meaning that people can apply for the caregiving benefit for up to 44 weeks, and the sickness benefit for up to six weeks.

“Our economy is rebounding, and we are winning the fight against COVID. However, it’s also true that the recovery is uneven, and that the health measures that are saving lives continue to restrict some economic activity,” Freeland told reporters Thursday morning, as she was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outside a children’s hospital in Ottawa.

“That is why today we are announcing what we very much hope and believe is the final pivot in delivering the support needed to ensure a robust recovery.”

Starting Oct. 24, the new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit will run until May 7, which will provide $300 a week to workers facing local lockdowns, including those who are not eligible for Employment Insurance.

And although Parliament does not return until Nov. 22, the federal government is using its authority under the budget implementation act to propose two targeted support programs for businesses buffeted by the crisis.

The first is the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which is aimed at hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and restaurants. Eligible businesses must be able to demonstrate an average monthly revenue reduction of at least 40 per cent over the first 13 qualifying periods of the CEWS, plus a revenue loss of at least 40 per cent during the current month. The maximum subsidy rate for the wage and rent subsidies is capped at 75 per cent until March 12, at which point subsidy rates will be reduced by half until May 7.

The second support measure, the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, would assist other businesses that have experienced serious pandemic losses. Eligible organizations will need to meet the same criteria as those receiving the tourism and hospitality benefit, except they’ll need to show monthly revenue reductions and current-month revenue losses of at least 50 per cent.
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