There’s some good news for businesses. The Canadian government is extending the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canadian Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to June 5
The COVID-19 emergency wage and rent subsidies were set to expire on March 14.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Trudeau told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “This isn’t the time to pull back on support for workers or business owners.”
The maximum wage subsidy rate will remain at 75%, the maximum rent subsidy at 65% and the lockdown support at 25%, confirmed Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. The government is providing hard-hit businesses with rent support of 90%.
“If you are a worker or business owner, you can have the certainty and support you need until the spring. We are here to provide you with the support you need,” Freeland said.
“Our government will continue to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help Canadians through this bleak time, to prevent economic scarring,” she added.
“The Canadian economy has faced its worst shock wave,” Freeland stated. “Even with encouraging signs of a recovery, with higher growth in the fourth quarter in 2020, we are not at the end of it. Today, there are 800,000 fewer Canadians working than at the beginning of the pandemic,” she noted.
According to the finance minister, the extension for the wage subsidy will cost the federal government an additional $2.1 billion.
While assuring Canadians that the government carefully evaluates federal debt and spending, Freeland said that the “greatest danger is not to act.” Therefore supports must be available to Canadians “where and when they are needed”. The federal government has needed to provide support to ensure the country doesn’t fall off an “economic cliff”, she added.