Sweeping Changes to All Federal COVID-19 Support Programs

After a relatively quiet Fall which included Federal COVID-19 support program phase-outs, the Federal government has announced the next major phase of COVID-19 supports for businesses and individuals. The most significant changes include:

Changes to Federal Support Programs Impacting Businesses

Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP)

The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) is an all-in-one wage and rent subsidy, targeted at organizations in the tourism and hospitality industries including hotels, restaurants, bars, festivals, travel agencies, convention centres and more. To qualify, a business in the tourism and hospitality industry must have:

  1. An average monthly revenue reduction of at least 40% over the first 13 qualifying periods (12 months) for the (CEWS); AND,
  2. A current-month revenue decrease of at least 40%.

The 12-month revenue decline is calculated as the average of all revenue decline percentages from March 2020 to February 2021 (claim periods 1-13, excluding claim period 10 or 11). Any periods where an entity was not carrying on its ordinary operations for reasons other than a public health restriction would be excluded from this calculation. The existing revenue decline calculations would continue to apply for the current-month revenue decline with an increase in the monthly cap on eligible expenses for all business locations increased from $300,000 to $1 million.

Lockdown Support is available to all organizations within the Tourism and Hospitality sector at the current fixed rate of 25%, pro-rated based on the number of days a particular location was affected by lockdown.

THRP Wage and Rent Subsidy Structure

 Periods 22-26 (Oct 24, 2021-March 12, 2022)Periods 27-28 (March 13, 2022 – May 7, 2022)
40-74%Revenue decline percentage (ex 60% revenue decline = 60% subsidy rate)Revenue decline percentage /2 (ex 60% revenue decline/2 = 30% subsidy rate)

Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP)

Organizations that do not qualify for the THRP and have been severely impacted by the pandemic may qualify for rent and wage support under the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP). To be eligible, a business must have:

  1. An average monthly revenue reduction of at least 50% over the first 13 qualifying periods (12 months) for the CEWS; AND,
  2. A current-month revenue loss of at least 50%.

Both revenue reduction metrics are calculated the same way as the THRP.

HHBRP Wage and Rent Subsidy Structure

 Periods 22-26 (Oct 24, 2021-March 12, 2022)Periods 27-28 (March 13, 2022 – May 7, 2022)
50-74%10% + ((Revenue decline – 50%) x 1.6) (ex: 10% + ((60% revenue decline - 50%) x 1.6) = 26% subsidy rate)5% + ((Revenue decline -50%) x 0.8) (ex: 5% + ((60% revenue decline – 50%) x 0.8) = 13% subsidy rate)

Lockdown Support

Organizations, regardless of sector or 12-month revenue decline, are eligible for support at the subsidy rates from the THRP if they have one or more locations subject to a public health restriction that lasts for a minimum of seven days during a claim period. The public health restriction must require these organizations to cease activities that accounted for at least 25% of total revenues during the prior reference period.

CEWS and CERS Expiration

As originally announced in August, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) were extended to October 23, 2021. With the announcement of the THRP, HHBRP and restructured lockdown support programs, the Federal government determined extensions of the CEWS and CERS programs were no longer necessary and allowed the programs to expire. The final periods for the CEWS and CERS are Period 21 and Period 14 respectively. Businesses have until April 21, 2022, to apply for the final periods.

CRHP Extension

The Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) has been extended until May 7, 2022. Eligible employers, as determined under the CEWS program, with current revenue losses above 10% can access the program. The subsidy rate will also be increased to 50% from October 24 through May 7, 2022.

Changes to Federal Support Programs Impacting Individuals

Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB)

The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) is designed to provide income support to workers whose employment is interrupted by specific government-imposed public health lockdowns. The new benefit provides $300 a week for workers who are ineligible for Employment Insurance (EI).  For individuals who are EI eligible, provided they are not paid benefits through EI for the same period, they may also be CWLB eligible. This program is available from October 24, 2021 until May 7, 2022. Individuals whose loss of income or employment is due to their refusal to adhere to a vaccine mandate are not able to access the CWLB.

CRB Expiration

Due to the introduction of the CWLB, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) program was allowed to expire as of October 23, 2021.

CRSB and CRCB Extension

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) have both been extended to May 7, 2022.  We have previously summarized these programs.

Final Thoughts

These new Federal support programs impacting businesses and individuals are similarly structured to the previous programs they replace. However, it should be noted the various specific program eligibility differences applicable to these new programs.  If you have any questions about these programs or would like to discuss application assistance, please contact your Bateman MacKay business advisor.

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