The Canadian federal government announced Wednesday it will extend multiple critical COVID-19 emergency benefits aimed at helping businesses during the pandemic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Canada, as well as the Lockdown Support programs, will maintain their current rates until June 5, 2021.
“Times are hard,” he said. “We’re here to provide you with the support you will need to make it through this crisis, as long as it lasts.”
The extension means the maximum wage subsidy rate for employees still on payroll will remain at 75 percent. For the rent subsidy program, the rate will remain at 65 percent. The Lockdown Support program will remain at 15 percent.
This will provide “hard-hit businesses with rent support of up to 90 percent,” Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland added.
She said the trio of programs is being extended because the economy is still struggling even with encouraging signs of a recovery on the horizon.
Ottawa has paid out more than $66 billion in wage subsidies and $1.6 billion in rent subsidies, according to official data.
Freeland said the cost of extending these programs was already set out in estimates published back in November.
Extending the rent program to June will cost an additional $2.1 billion, Freeland said. For the wage subsidy program, the additional cost would come at an approximate $13.9 billion.
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