The federal government intends to temporarily expand the eligibility of several support programs to apply to those impacted by new public health restrictions driven by the Omicron surge.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough said on Wednesday that through regulatory powers, Ottawa will make changes to the Local Lockdown Program and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit.
Instead of applying solely to those in “complete” lockdowns of more than 14 days, the local lockdown program will include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. The government is also reducing the current monthly revenue decline threshold to 25 per cent. Eligible employers will receive wage and rent subsidies between 25 per cent to 75 per cent.
With the adjustments, the worker lockdown benefit will apply to workers in regions where provincial or territorial governments have introduced capacity-limiting restrictions of 50 per cent or more. The benefit provides $300 a week to those eligible.
The government fielded criticism after unveiling the programs as no region then or now faces a lockdown of more than 14 days.
The two programs are detailed in Bill C-2, which passed through the Parliament last week.
The announcement comes as provinces and territories impose new restrictions to manage the surge of COVID-19 cases spurred by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
More details to come…