June 2, 2021 

Check against delivery

Before we begin I want to express my sadness and utter horror at the discovery of the remains of 215 precious children in an unmarked mass grave in Kamloops. As a mother, as a Canadian, my heart is broken. I have struggled to find the words to explain it to my own children. I can’t.

Uncovering the truth of what happened in Kamloops and at other residential schools – and recognizing the true scale of the tragedy – is absolutely essential if we are to walk this path of reconciliation together. There must be accountability, and there will be.

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, we have done whatever it takes to help Canadian workers and businesses weather the storm. And we continue to do that.

Today, I am providing further detail about the Canada Recovery Hiring Program. This will be key to helping small and medium-sized businesses across Canada bounce back from the uncertainty and turmoil of the past 15 months.

More importantly, I can tell small businesses that once the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-30, receives Royal Assent, this program will be retroactive to June 6. That means that, in effect, it will apply as of this Sunday. And it will cover up to 50 per cent of the increase in payroll paid by eligible employers, through November 20 of this year.

This program is about jobs and growth. It is indispensable to the recovery of our small and medium businesses, which is indispensable to our broader recovery. This program will help people, both business owners and workers, get their lives back.

Over the past 15 months, we have continually adapted to the new needs of businesses as the crisis evolved. And even if we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the wisdom of Canadians and the availability of vaccines, we are ready for any eventuality.

In this year’s budget, we have proposed to extend the wage subsidy, rent subsidy and Lockdown Support until September.

These programs have been an integral part of the support that we have provided to workers and businesses across the country, and this remains the case.

The wage subsidy has already helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs. The rent subsidy and Lockdown Support have already helped more than 187,000 organizations with rent, mortgage, and other expenses.

Extending these supports means that millions of jobs will continue to be protected. And it will put businesses in position to come back with vigour and strength.

As the economy reopens, we know our supports must evolve to support the recovery.

This year’s budget is about jobs, economic growth, and setting the stage for recovery. It’s about making targeted investments to heal the wounds of COVID, and putting Canada on track towards higher growth, greater prosperity, and a cleaner, greener future.

But for that to happen, businesses must be able to first re-hire the workers they’ve had to lay off because of COVID, or bring on new workers.

That is where the Canada Recovery Hiring Program comes in.

This program has been carefully targeted to help employers whose revenue continues to suffer because of the pandemic. It can offset up to half the new labour costs incurred by eligible employers, as they get back on their feet.

A for-profit company would only be eligible for the Hiring Program if it is a Canadian-controlled private company. Other eligible employers are individuals, non-profit organizations, and registered charities. We estimate that this program will cost $595 million dollars in 2021-22.

The types of remuneration eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would also be eligible for the Hiring Program. These generally include salaries, wages and other remuneration on which employers are required to withhold income tax. However, it does not include severance pay or employee stock option benefits. In addition, the remuneration for these employees must be paid during the qualifying period.

So, for example, if you’re a restaurant owner who had to lay off half of your work force of ten last year, and you now think you can get back to your full complement by late summer, up to 50 per cent of that payroll increase could be covered by the CRHP.

This will provide businesses that are so critical to the health of our communities – small and medium-sized enterprises – the stability they need to plan their comeback on a timeline that makes sense for them.

I will conclude by emphasizing this point: We are going to give Canadian businesses the support they need to keep employees on the payroll, to hire new staff, maintain their day-to-day operations, and invest in long-term growth.

They need this and Canada needs this. I look forward to Bill C-30’s receiving Royal Assent, so we can help our critically important businesses recover, rebuild and grow once again.

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Author: Editor
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