Federal government urged to extend COVID emergency benefits

Many businesses still coping with public health restrictions

With many Canadian companies delaying a full staff return to the office due to the delta COVID variant the federal government is under pressure to extend the emergency COVID benefits due to expire on October 23.

Both the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the New Democratic Party (NDP) are pushing for an extension. They note the economy has not yet fully recovered, and some parts of the country are in the midst of an alarming fourth wave of the virus.

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Canadian Chamber of Commerce president Perrin Beatty also pointed to the many businesses still coping with public health limits that prevent them from being self-sustaining. Beatty told The Canadian Press the government has brought them this far and can’t let them drown “50-feet from shore.”

Businesses have relied on federal funds to make up for pandemic-related shortfalls in terms of wages and rentals.

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There were no Liberal promises during the election campaign to continue these benefits, but there was a pledge to enhance the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which helps with the cost of taking on new employees. There was also a promise to help the tourism sector.

The NDP promised during the election campaign to extend the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.

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