Government extends expanded access to Local Lockdown Program and Worker Lockdown Benefit
The federal government will continue to support Canadian workers and businesses where provincial and territorial public health restrictions, including capacity restrictions, remain in place.
Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the federal government’s intention to extend enhanced key support programs to ensure Canadians are protected and workers and businesses continue to get help through ongoing public health restrictions.
Using regulatory authority provided in Bill C-2, the government intends to propose expanding access announced on December 22, 2021 by one month, until March 12, 2022:
- Local Lockdown Program: Eligibility would continue to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more; and the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement would remain at 25 per cent. Eligible employers would receive wage and rent subsidies from 25 per cent up to a maximum of 75 per cent, depending on their degree of revenue loss. The 12-month revenue decline test continues to not be required in order to access this support.
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit: Eligibility would continue to include workers in regions where capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more are in place. This benefit provides $300 a week in income support to eligible workers affected by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown order, and who are either unable to work or have lost 50 per cent or more of their income as a result.
With lower than anticipated accessing of the enhanced COVID worker benefits announced on December 22, 2021, today’s extension is expected to be fully covered by the $4.5 billion Omicron provision announced in the recent 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update.
“In October, when we introduced these more targeted measures, we didn’t know the Omicron variant was coming. But we made sure we were ready and that we had the flexibility to extend benefits until provincial restrictions are removed. Given recent announcements by provinces, that process is now underway.”
– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“We are beginning to see public health measures easing in some parts of the country, but this pandemic still remains uncertain. That’s why we’re extending the temporary expanded lockdown definition for the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit. We’ve seen just how vital these supports have been to Canadians so far, and we have to ensure they’re available in the event that regional lockdowns continue. We’ll continue to be there for Canadians, and help make sure that they have the support they need to stay home and stay safe.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
The Local Lockdown Program, which was introduced in October 2021 and became law on December 17, 2021, provides businesses that face new local lockdowns with up to the maximum amount of support available through the wage and rent subsidy programs. The Local Lockdown Program is available from October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022. The regulatory changes announced on December 22, 2021 temporarily expanded, from December 19, 2021, to February 12, 2022, the initial eligibility requirement to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more; and reduced the current-month revenue decline threshold requirement to 25 per cent. Today’s announcement extends this expanded access until March 12, 2022.
The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which was introduced in October 2021 and became law on December 17, 2021, provides income support of $300 per week to workers whose employment is affected as a result of a public health lockdown and who are either unable to work or have lost 50 per cent or more of their income due to such restrictions. The regulatory changes announced on December 22, 2021, temporarily expanded the definition of a public health lockdown order to also include those involving capacity restrictions of 50 per cent or more. The benefit is available from October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022.
The government has implemented other measures to ensure workers and businesses have the help they need. These include:
Extending the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit until May 7, 2022, and increasing the maximum duration of benefits by 2 weeks. This extends the caregiving benefit from 42 to 44 weeks and the sickness benefit from 4 to 6 weeks.
The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, providing support through wage and rent subsidies to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent. The eligible types of businesses are detailed in the legislation and a related backgrounder.
The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, providing support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.
Extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increasing the subsidy rate to 50 per cent. This extension will help businesses continue to hire back workers, increase hours, and create the additional jobs Canada needs for a robust recovery.
To ensure affected workers are able to access benefits as early as possible, public health authorities are encouraged to notify the Government of Canada at CWLB.PCTCC@hc-sc.gc.ca when COVID-19-related public health restrictions are issued in their area. The government also proposes to remove the requirement that orders made by municipalities or public health authorities be acknowledged by a province or territory.