Politics
Federal wage and rent subsidies extended through June

Federal wage and rent subsidies extended through June

The federal government will extend two pandemic support programs that subsidize wages and rent to businesses until June as the country continues to fight the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press conference in Ottawa today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will be maintained at their current levels until June.

“Now is not the time to withdraw support from workers or business owners,” Trudeau said. “It’s time to see people cross what is hopefully the home stretch of this crisis.

The CEWS subsidizes up to 75 percent of the wages of workers who are kept on their employers’ payrolls, while the ESRB makes direct payments to eligible tenants covering up to 65 percent of their rents. An additional supplement to the rent subsidy for businesses forced to close due to lockouts will also be maintained.

Programs, originally scheduled to expire on March 13, are extended until June 5. Extending the programs is expected to cost taxpayers an additional $ 16 billion – $ 13.9 billion for the wage subsidy and $ 2.1 billion for the rent subsidy.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot say for sure that we have turned the corner,” said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

“This means that public health lockdowns and the supports that support them must continue to be available to Canadians where and when they need them.”

Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, welcomed the announcement.

“This is great news for small business owners and it will help them plan their workforce,” Kelly tweeted.

As of February 21, the federal government has paid more than $ 66 billion to more than 5 million Canadians through the wage subsidy, according to a government backgrounder. Another $ 1.6 billion went to 129,000 organizations through the rent subsidy and foreclosure aid.

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