Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on October 21 that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will expire on October 23, and will be replaced the next day by targeted benefits including restaurant subsidies and programs to help individuals whose work is impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit will provide $300 a week to workers who are subject to a lockdown.
Other new measures include a Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which will offer hotel and restaurant subsidies, as well as a Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program and a Lockdown Support Program. The programs will all run until May 7, 2022.
The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program will provide help via wage and rent subsidy programs for hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent, the government said in a news release.
Meanwhile, the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program will provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs for other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.
For those two programs, the government will first consider whether an employer has faced significant revenue loss over the course of 12 months during the pandemic and then will assess revenue loss in the current month of application.
The Lockdown Support Program has been created in case the pandemic requires further lockdowns in parts of the country, Freeland said.
In a statement, Restaurants Canada called the fact that restaurants are being included in the new targeted approach to the rent and wage subsidy programs “a positive sign”.
“It’s critically important that businesses in desperate need of wage and rent support don’t lose access to these subsidies if they have been operating at significant revenue losses for months on end,” added the statement.
“Restaurant operators are innovative and resourceful, but the COVID-19 crisis has stretched their resiliency to the limits… With colder weather coming, the fate of Canada’s 90,000+ restaurants is still uncertain.”
For those businesses that face lockdowns, the federal government will make the wage and rent subsidy available up to the maximum amount for the duration of the shutdown.
Those proposed subsidy rates will be available through to March 13, and will then decrease by half until expiry on May 7.
Furthermore, the government is extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7 for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent. It will also increase the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
“Temporary lockdowns are still a possibility in the months to come. We want Canadians to know that we intend now to put in place measures that would snap into action immediately,” Freeland said, per CTV News.
“Our unrelenting objective is to protect and create jobs and to drive economic growth,” she added per Global News. “It is to ensure the strongest possible recovery for everyone.”
Under the CRB, eligible applicants could receive up to $500 a week, for a total of 27 eligibility periods or 54 weeks.
The rent subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped more than 210,600 organizations with more than $6.8 billion in support for rent, mortgage, and other expenses, the government said.
As of Oct. 10, the government had paid out $27 billion to more than 28 million CRB applicants.