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Liberals pledge more cash for pandemic-hit workers and businesses

Monday, August 16, 2021 @ 3:58 PM | By Cristin Schmitz

The governing federal Liberals are pledging to extend their “Recovery Hiring Program” a further four months to March 31, 2022, if they are re-elected to form government on Sept. 20, 2021.

On Day 2 of the 36-day federal campaign kicked off by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa Aug. 15, the Liberals said in an Aug. 16  press release that they would provide eligible employers (in general, those eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) with a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of “incremental remuneration” paid to eligible active employees between June 6, 2021, and March 31, 2022. This would be an extension from the present end date of Nov. 20, 2021). See here some details of the Liberals’ partially released platform,  which is called Forward. For Everyone. 

 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The types of remuneration eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would also be eligible for the hiring program and generally include salary, wages, and other remuneration for which employers are required to withhold or deduct amounts on account of the employee's income tax obligations. (Severance pay, stock option benefits, or the personal use of a corporate vehicle are not eligible).

Eligible remuneration for each eligible employee would be subject to a maximum of $1,129 per week.

If re-elected to govern, the Liberal Party also pledged to:
  • Provide Canada’s hard-hit tourism industry — hotels, tour operators, convention centres and festivals experiencing a minimum 40-per-cent revenue loss — with temporary wage and rent support of up to 75 per cent of their fixed costs, such as wages and rent, between September 2021 and May 31, 2022.
  • Launch the “Arts and Culture Recovery Program” that will match ticket sales for performing arts and other culture venues, live theatres, and museums, until May 2022, to compensate for reduced capacity due to measures imposed by local health authorities. Eligible venues will include performing arts and other culture venues, live theatres and museums. The Liberals said they will ensure that the funds provided will be used to support workers in the industry.
  • Extend from March 31, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, a Compensation Fund for Canadian Audiovisual Productions, administered by Telefilm Canada, which fills the void left by the dearth of insurance coverage for filming interruptions and production shutdowns due to COVID-19. To be eligible, productions must qualify for the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and apply a COVID-19 safety plan in line with current requirements.
  • Provide $50 million to the Canada Council of the Arts to implement a transitional financial support program managed in collaboration with third parties and non-profits giving  access to emergency relief to out-of-work artists, craftsmen, creators and authors in the live performance sector who are primarily self-employed or independent contractors, and who continue to face economic challenges caused by COVID-19.

“Supporting businesses and their workers is at the heart of our plan to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and grow the economy,” Trudeau said in a prepared statement. “We’ve always been there for them, and the pandemic has been no different. We stepped up to help them keep their lights on, employees on the payroll, and communities safe — and we’re going to continue to support them for as long as it takes.”

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