Economic and Fiscal Update 2021
Source: Government of Canada
Date: December 14, 2021
Paid Sick Leave for Workers
On November 26, 2021, the government introduced Bill C-3 to amend the Canada Labour Code to provide 10 days of paid sick leave per year to workers in the federally regulated private sector, covering almost one million workers. The government will consult with federally regulated employers and workers on implementation of this legislation.
Enhancing the Home Office Expense Deduction
Millions of Canadians were required to work from home during the pandemic. To help support this transition to working from home, in 2020 the government permitted workers to use a temporary flat rate method to calculate their deduction for home office expenses. As workplaces around the country continue to grapple with the return to the office, many Canadians continue to work from home for all or part of their jobs.
Extending the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
The government has introduced legislation to extend the caregiving and sickness benefit until May 7, 2022, and increase the maximum duration of benefits by two weeks. This would extend the caregiving benefit from 42 weeks to 44 weeks and the sickness benefit from four weeks to six weeks. It is estimated that the proposed extension of the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will cost $2.1 billion over 2021-22 and the first months of 2022-23.
Extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program
In order for our economy to recover and grow, we need to make sure to support the creation of good jobs in sectors across the economy. In Budget 2021, the federal government created the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to do just that. By extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, the government can encourage employers to hire back workers and increase workers’ hours and wages. On November 24, 2021, the government introduced the necessary legislation to extend the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent, and to increase the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
Support for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses
The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program would provide support through wage and rent subsidies to organizations in the tourism and hospitality sectors such as hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, restaurants and organizations that plan and host festivals or live performances, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
Support for Hard-hit Businesses in All Sectors
The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program would provide support through wage and rent subsidies to organizations that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.
Support for Businesses Facing Pandemic Lockdowns
The Local Lockdown Program would provide organizations that face new local COVID-19-related lockdowns with up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs.
Relieving Supply Chain Congestion
Since the beginning of the pandemic, supply chain disruptions around the world have made it harder for Canadians and businesses to get the products and supplies they need, and in many cases are contributing to rising prices. The recent devastating flooding in British Columbia has only exacerbated these pressures.
Clean and Healthy Indoor Air by Improving Ventilation
Proper ventilation makes indoor air healthier and safer, helping reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The government is proposing a refundable Small Businesses Air Quality Improvement Tax Credit of 25 per cent on eligible air quality improvement expenses incurred by small businesses to make it more affordable for them to invest in safer and healthier ventilation and air filtration.
Above are just a few highlights, to read the full announcement, please visit: https://www.budget.gc.ca/efu-meb/2021/home-accueil-en.html
CFIB also reporting an extension to the repayment date for CEBA
It is particularly good news that the government has announced it will extend the repayment deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan program. CFIB has urged the government to delay repayment for CEBA to the end of 2024, as only 36 per cent of businesses have returned to normal sales and many are struggling with their COVID-related debt. The extension on the deadline to apply for the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) is also positive, but CFIB calls on government to include a forgivable portion to the HASCAP loan like it has for the CEBA loan to address the debt loads of the hardest-hit businesses.