On November 24, 2021, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-2 in Parliament to implement previously announced COVID-19 economic response measures aimed at industries and areas that may be particularly hard-hit by the pandemic’s lingering economic effects. This reflects a recalibration of the government’s strategy away from broad economic supports and towards more targeted measures.
To support businesses in industries particularly affected by the pandemic, eligible businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors that have and continue to experience an average monthly revenue loss of at least 40% will be eligible for wage and rent subsidies at a rate of up to 75%. Hard-hit businesses in other industries will continue to be eligible for wage and rent subsidies, though at a rate of only up to 50%. A new “two-key” eligibility system will generally require applicants to demonstrate that they have experienced a significant revenue decline (i.e., 40% or more) both over the first 12 months of the CEWS program as well as in the current month. That said, businesses impacted by “qualifying public health restrictions” will be able to access rent and wage subsidies without having to satisfy that two-key eligibility requirement.
In addition to the above, eligible individuals located in regions designated by the Minister of Employment and Social Development as “lockdown regions” will be able to apply for the new “Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit” of $300 per week. Support will be available on a weekly basis for as long as a regional lockdown order is in effect. However, support will not be available to workers who lose their employment or face reduced income because of failure to comply with a COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Numerous other restrictions and conditions apply to access this support.
These measures are intended to be available until at least May 7, 2022.