Ottawa to end COVID supports, replaced with new measures in last days of pandemic

Recovery program and local lockdown supports to be in place October 24

As of Saturday, October 23, the federal government will end its CRB, wage, and rent subsidy programs as planned. But alternative, targeted supports are in the works.

Our emergency support measures were always designed to be temporary to get us through the crisis,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday morning. “Our economy is rebounding, and we are winning the fight against COVID. However, it’s also true that the recovery is uneven, and that the health measures that are saving lives continue to restrict some economic activity.”

Freeland says existing income and business support programs will end this weekend, but that Ottawa will move from very broad supports to more targeted measures “that will provide help where it is needed while prudently managing government finances.”

The federal government plans to put new supports in place on October 24. This includes a Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program that Freeland says will be made available to employers who can show they have faced deep and enduring losses. “The subsidy rate for this group will start at 10%. for applicants with a 50% revenue loss increasing to a maximum 50% subsidy for those with a 75% revenue loss,” said Freeland, adding this subsidy will be available until May 7, 2022.

Ottawa will also be introducing a Lockdown Support Program that will be available in case the pandemic requires further local lockdowns anywhere in Canada. “For those businesses that face temporary local lockdowns, we will make the wage and rent subsidy available up to the maximum amount for the duration of the local lockdown,” said Freeland.

“We’re putting this insurance policy in place now to ensure that provinces, territories and municipalities can continue to make the right public health choices, knowing that support will be there for workers and businesses,” she concluded.

The CRB, which replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, paid out $27 billion to more than 28 million applicants as of October 10.