The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will expire on Oct. 23, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday (Oct. 21).
The benefit, which many independent travel advisors have relied on during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be replaced by a “targeted benefit” that helps individuals whose work is impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns.
The new Canadian Worker Lockdown Benefit will go live on Oct. 24 and would provide $300 a week to workers who are subject to a lockdown, she said.
The new program will extend to cover those who are not eligible for employment insurance, Freeland said.
The CRB, which replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provides income support to individuals who are unemployed or self-employed for reasons related to COVID-19 or faced a 50 per reduction in their average weekly income compared to the previous year.
“Temporary lockdowns are still a possibility in the months to come. We want Canadians to know that we intend now to put in place measures that would snap into action immediately,” Freeland said Thursday.
Support for travel agencies
Freeland also acknowledged that “some businesses are not able to undertake some activities given the health measures that are in place.”
With that, she unveiled two targeted streams of support – one of which is aimed directly at helping travel, tourism and hospitality.
Called the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, the aid includes support for hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and tour operators.
The subsidy rate will be “very targeted,” Freeland said.
Eligible organizations would be required to meet the following two conditions to qualify:
- An average monthly revenue reduction of at least 40 percent over the first 13 qualifying periods for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (12-month revenue decline); and
- A current-month revenue loss of at least 40 percent.
The rate will increase according to loss of revenue up to 75 per cent, Freeland said.
The 12-month revenue decline would be calculated as the average of all revenue decline percentages for eligible organizations from March 2020 to February 2021, the Canadian government says on its website.
The second stream is the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which is available to employers who can show they have “faced deep and enduring losses,” she said.
Hard-hit organizations that do not qualify for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and that have been "deeply affected" since the outset of the pandemic would qualify for rent and wage support under this program.
Business must meet the following two eligibility requirements:
- An average monthly revenue reduction of at least 50 percent over the first 13 qualifying periods for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (12-month revenue decline); and
- A current-month revenue loss of at least 50 percent.
Support for both of these targeted streams will be available from Oct. 24 to May 7.
From March 13 to May 7, 2022, support will be decreased “by half as we prepare for full recovery and end of extraordinary pandemic-related benefits,” Freeland said.
The Canadian Sickness Benefit and Canadian Caregiver Benefit will also be extended.
“We intend to extend eligibility for both of these benefits until May 7 of next year, And we’ll increase the maximum duration of each benefit by two additional weeks,” Freeland said.
For a backgrounder on Canada's new supports for tourism and hard-hit businesses, click here.