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Canada announces new support measures for economic recovery

IANS | October 22, 2021 09:50 AM

OTTAWA:  The Canadian government has announced new measures to restore the economy while its income and business support programs against the Covid-19 pandemic are to expire on Saturday.

CDeputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday that the new measures with an estimated C$7.4 billion between October 24 and May 7, 2022, are the "final pivot in delivering the support needed to deliver a robust recovery", reports Xinhua news agency.

Freeland noted that Canada is in a new phase following the darkest days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We're moving from the very broad based support that was appropriate at the height of our lockdown to more targeted measures that will provide help where it is needed while prudently managing government finances."

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be replaced by the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit for those whose work is directly impacted by government-imposed lockdowns.

The program will provide C$300 a week to eligible workers until May 7, 2022.

"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.

As of Oct. 10, the government paid out C$27 billion to more than two million unique CRB applicants.

Freeland also announced the implementation of two new programs to help hard-hit sectors, replacing the wage and rent subsidies.

With the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program expiring on November 20, Freeland said the government is proposing to introduce legislation to have them extended until May 7, 2022.

The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which would apply to operations such as hotels, restaurants, bars, festivals and travel agencies, requires applicants to show an average monthly revenue loss of at least 40 per cent for the first 13 qualifying periods of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and a current one-month revenue loss of the same amount.

The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program applies to those that don't fit under the tourism and hospitality umbrella but are still facing significant financial hurdles caused by the pandemic.

Eligible businesses would have to show an average monthly revenue loss of at least 50 per cent over the first 13 qualifying periods of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and a current one-month revenue loss of the same amount.

The maximum subsidy rate would be set at up to 50 per cent until mid-March and then reduced by half thereafter.

The government will also extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, for businesses that can show a more than 10 per cent revenue loss, until May 7, 2022 at a subsidy rate of 50 per cent paid to eligible employees.

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit will remain in place until the same time and are being extended by two weeks - moving the sickness benefit from four to six weeks and the caregiving benefit from 42 to 44 weeks.

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