The federal government recently announced a number of program extensions, including:
- Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021, and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
- Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.
- Increasing the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB by an additional four weeks, to a total of 54 weeks, at a rate of $300 per week, and ensuring it is available to those who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits.
In addition, the government is proposing to offer businesses greater flexibility when calculating the revenue decline used to determine eligibility for the wage and rent subsidy programs and the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP).
The program extensions are not surprising given the expectation that a federal election will be called in the very near future. While the extensions are welcome news, RCC has reminded the government of the balance that needs to be kept in terms of ensuring that progams such as CRB and other employment insurance measures do not disincentivize people from returning to work by ensuring part-time worker benefits are not higher than they earned pre-pandemic.