Budget 2021 – Items of interest for employers

April 21, 2021 | Lisa Goodfellow, Jenifer C. Gentle

The Federal Government’s Budget 2021 proposes a number of items that may be of interest to employers.  The key ones include:

  • Expansion of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support from June 2021 to September 25, 2021.  To ensure an orderly phase-out, the wage subsidy and the rent subsidy will gradually decrease beginning July 4, 2021.  However, the current 25% rate for the Lockdown Support will continue for the qualifying periods from June 6, 2021 to September 25, 2021;
  • Creation of a new Canada Recovery Hiring Program for eligible employers that continue to experience qualifying declines in revenues relative to before the pandemic.  This proposed program would offset a portion of the extra costs that employers incur as they reopen, either by increasing wages or hours worked, or hiring more staff.  The support would only be for active employees and would be available from June 6 to November 20, 2021.  Eligible employers would claim the higher of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the new proposed subsidy.  The Federal Government’s stated goal is to make it as easy as possible for businesses to hire new workers as the economy reopens;
  • Provision of grants and supports to help small and medium-sized businesses go digital;
  • Establishment of a $15 Federal minimum wage;
  • Provision of up to 12 additional weeks of Canada Recovery Benefit to a maximum of 50 weeks. The first four of these additional 12 weeks will be paid at $500 per week and the remaining 8 weeks of this extension will be paid at a lower amount of $300 per week claimed;
  • Addition of 4 weeks to the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit to a maximum of 42 weeks, at $500 per week, in the event that caregiving options are not sufficiently available;
  • Amendments to the Canada Labour Code to improve labour protection for gig workers (the nature of these amendments have not been announced yet); and
  • Creation of a new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to design and deliver training that is relevant to the needs of businesses, especially small and medium sized businesses, and their employees.  The program would also help diversify sectors by ensuring that 40% of supported workers are from underrepresented groups, including women, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous people.

For more information, see the government’s press releases, Budget 2021 Support for Small Business and Budget 2021 Low-wage workers.

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