On March 3, 2021, the federal government announced that it intends to extend the current rate structures for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support from March 14 to June 15, 2021. These programs are intended to assist businesses, non-profits and charities that have experienced a decline in revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information regarding these programs, see the government's Backgrounder.

In particular, the government announced that:

  • the maximum wage subsidy rate for active employees will remain at 75%;
  • the maximum rent subsidy rate will remain at 65%; and
  • Lockdown Support will remain at 25% and will continue to be provided in addition to the rent subsidy, providing eligible hard-hit businesses with rent support of up to 90%.

With respect to furloughed employees, the government announced that it intends to continue to align the wage subsidy rate structure with the benefits provided through Employment Insurance from March 14 to June 5, 2021. This means that employers who qualify for the wage subsidy will be able to continue to claim up to a maximum benefit of $595 per week per employee to support remuneration of their furloughed workers.

Furthermore, given that it has been almost a year since Canada began experiencing the economic impact of COVID-19, the government announced that applicants under these programs will be able to continue to use a pre-pandemic 2019 reference month for the purposes of demonstrating a decline in revenue.

The government advised that these extensions are intended to "provide certainty and continued support for workers, businesses and other affected organizations in the face of ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic."

We will continue to report on changes to these federal programs as developments occur.

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