Ottawa Expands Eligibility for Epidemic Assistance Programs

The federal government finally said Wednesday that the entire state is contained enough so that all workers and businesses, provided they were present before the pandemic, can access the new benefits in the event of containment.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland explained that the rise in coronavirus cases and the tightening of health measures by all provinces are pushing the federal government to expand its definition of “containment”, thus providing needed assistance to workers and businesses suffering from low incomes. .

the duty On Monday, it reported that his department is already planning to make the all-new Canada Benefit available to Quebec workers on hold, which offers $300 a week. Legault’s government has just announced the closure of cinemas, theaters, gyms, spas, bars and casinos in Quebec.

This new containment feature, similar to the Canada Emergency Advantage (CEP), is part of Bill C-2, which received Royal Assent last Friday. In contrast to the assistance provided in this bill to businesses, the benefits workers receive are contingent upon the state of confinement in a county or district. Containment is defined by authorities shutting down nonessential businesses, for a period now reduced to at least seven days.

All workers will now be able to access this benefit if they lose at least 50% of their income due to health measures, such as in the case of a significant reduction in their working hours. Self-employed people, such as artists, are entitled to it, too.

Not all companies

Businesses that are required to reduce their capacity by 50% following a government order will also be able to benefit from the wage and rent subsidy, provided they record a minimum loss of 25% of their income, a limit that is temporarily reduced during containment. Subsidies can be up to 75% of labor and rent expenses, depending on the income drop. Companies no longer have to demonstrate an average decline during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

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“Overall, expanding access to help is a huge improvement. It will help many employers across the country,” said Jasmine Janet, vice president of national affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “But there are missed opportunities because some companies remain excluded from federal aid programs, especially new businesses.”

Businesses built during the pandemic will still be unable to benefit from pandemic aid from Ottawa, as the criterion for the decline in revenue is calculated from their pre-pandemic revenue.

However, companies that have opened their doors in recent months, confident of participating in the economic recovery, have witnessed a task To be completely helpless and to feel forgotten.

“The government can’t just say ‘Too bad, you just had to guess and not open a business during the pandemic.'” Andrian Mordaka, owner of Café Leo, which opened this summer in Montreal, argued, “We have to help us.”

And Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated at a press conference that the available programs are still intended for companies “that existed before the start of the pandemic, [celles] created when no one knew we had this experience fighting the epidemic.” The federal government considers that the “fairest approach” remains to compare companies’ current revenues with those they achieved before March 2020.

The measures announced Wednesday have been in effect retroactively since December 19. They will be offered provisionally until February 12th.

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