Proposed changes to Business and worker support programs

On October 21, 2021 the federal government announced proposed changes to both business and worker support programs.  It was confirmed that the existing general support programs that were scheduled to end on October 23, 2021 will in fact end on schedule. However, more focused assistance will be made available as discussed below. 

Changes to business support programs included:

  • Extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increase the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
  • Since the wage subsidy, rent subsidy and lockdown support will expire on October 23, 2021, the government is introducing two new targeted support programs:  
    • Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
    • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, would support other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.

Applicants for these programs will use a new “two-key” eligibility system whereby they will need to demonstrate significant revenue losses over the course of 12 months of the pandemic, as well as revenue losses in the current month.

Businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns will be eligible for up to the maximum amount of the wage and rent subsidy programs, during the local lockdown, regardless of losses over the course of the pandemic.

These programs will be available until May 7, 2022, with the proposed subsidy rates available through to March 13, 2022. From March 13, 2022, to May 7, 2022, the subsidy rates will decrease by half.

The government also proposed the following changes to worker support programs: 

  • Extend the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit until May 7, 2022 and increase the maximum duration of benefits by 2 weeks. 
  • Introduce the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit which would provide $300 a week in income support to eligible workers should they be unable to work due to a local lockdown anytime between October 24, 2021 and May 7, 2022.

We will provide more information as it becomes available. Backgrounders are also available on the targeted business support program and the new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit on the Department of Finance site.