Federal government revamps support programs in wake of Omicron

The government has reduced the current monthly revenue decline threshold

The federal government will temporarily expand support programs to people and businesses who have been impacted by restrictions put in place as a result of the Omicron variant.

At a news conference on Wednesday, the government said that through regulatory powers, it will make changes to the Local Lockdown Program (LLP) and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB).

The LLP used to apply if there was a “complete” lockdown of more than two weeks, but the program will include employers faced with capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. As well, the government has reduced the current monthly revenue decline threshold to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies between 25 per cent to 75 per cent.

With the adjustments, the CWLB will apply to workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. The benefit provides $300 a week to those eligible.

The changes are effective from Dec. 19 to Feb. 12, 2022.

“We’re going to be there for the hardest-hit regions, for specific sectors like art and culture, hospitality and tourism,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a virtual news conference.

“We will be there to keep you and your family safe.”

The Trudeau government came under fire when the two programs were passed by Parliament last week because at the time, no region then or currently was under a lockdown of more than 14 days.

Omicron is now the dominant variant in several provinces, prompting the closure of businesses and tight restrictions on capacity limits on many more.

Banner image: File photo

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