COVID-19: Government Extends CECRA, Announces Transition Plan for CERB
Please note: the federal government is constantly updating their website as new information is announced. Remember to check Canada’s official coronavirus webpage and CREA’s COVID-19 online hub to stay up to date.
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government’s upcoming plans for two of the financial support programs currently available to Canadians and Canadian businesses. During a press conference on July 31, he stated the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses would be extended, while laying out the transition plan for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
In an effort to help Canadian businesses that were forced to close or were especially hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, CECRA will be extended by one month to help them pay rent for August. More information about CECRA is available on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s website
As for individuals, Canadians currently relying on the CERB will be transitioned to an updated Employment Insurance (EI) program, with no increase to premiums at this time. Addressing the issue of gig and contract workers who do not qualify for EI, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a transitional parallel benefit, which will include access to training and still allow Canadians to receive the benefit while working more hours and earning more money.
We have reached out to relevant government officials to ensure the self-employed professionals, independent contractors, and small business owners who comprise our membership are not left behind as this new iteration of financial support takes shape. We continue to underline the need for broad eligibility to cover the diversity of business operations driving the Canadian economy.
Prime Minister Trudeau also announced a new sickness and caregivers benefit for Canadians who get COVID-19, or who need to care for parents or children who have been infected.
“We intend to cover every Canadian who is looking for work with a better, 21st century EI system,” the Prime Minister said, before promising more details would be announced by the end of August.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus what an extended interruption of day-to-day business can have for self-employed Canadians. For those interested in planning for any potential interruptions in the future, there is an EI special benefits program accessible to those who enter into an agreement or register with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission.
The measures covered in this email are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The government is constantly assessing the evolving situation and is likely to introduce additional measures as it deems necessary. We are monitoring the implementation of existing measures and continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS® as new initiatives are developed.