Coronavirus pandemic benefits: PBO costs program extensions


OTTAWA – Extending sickness and care benefits until next spring – as proposed in Bill C-2 – will cost the government about $ 873.6 million, the Parliamentary Estimates by the Budget Officer (DPB).

New cost reports published Tuesday says extending the Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit (CRSB) by 28 weeks, or until May 7, 2022, and extending the claim period from four to six weeks would cost $ 507 million .

Meanwhile, the extension of the Canadian Caregiver Recovery Benefit (CRCB) to the same time frame and application period from 42 to 44 weeks will cost $ 366.6 million.

Last week Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland formally introduced the new “targeted” pandemic assistance bill, extending some benefits and revamping others.

Freeland said she hopes this is the last set of extensions.

“I see this legislation as the last step in our COVID-19 support programs. This is what I really hope and really believe to be the final pivot, ”she said on November 24.

MPs have started debate on the bill – the Liberals hope to get it passed before the House rises for recess on December 17.

The PBO also assessed the planned support that will flow from the new tourism and hospitality recovery program and the recovery program for the hardest hit businesses.

The office anticipates that an additional $ 676 million in grants will be disbursed beyond those already approved. Of that, $ 134 million is expected to flow through the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and $ 542 million through the Hardest-Affected Business Recovery Program.

“With this extension, we expect the gross cost of [Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy] to $ 8.3 billion. This represents a net cost to the federal government of $ 7.2 billion after factoring in corporate income tax recoveries, ”the report says.

The CRSB provides income support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are unable to work because they are sick with COVID-19 or need to self-isolate. Eligible applicants can receive $ 500 for a period of one week.

The CRCB provides income support to employed and self-employed Canadians who are unable to work because they are caring for a child under 12 or a family member in need of supervised care. Eligible applicants can receive $ 500 for a period of one week.

The tourism and hospitality stimulus program applies to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and restaurants with a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent, while the recovery program for the most affected businesses is applies to other companies that have suffered “significant losses”, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 percent.

To qualify for the former, businesses would have to show a revenue loss of at least 40 percent over 12 months and a revenue drop of the same amount for the current month. For the latter, companies should show a 12-month revenue loss of at least 50% and a revenue drop of the same amount for the current month.

The government is also offering a Canadian Worker Lockdown Benefit, replacing the popular Canadian Response Benefit. It is aimed at those whose work is directly affected by the blockages and would offer a benefit of $ 300 per week. PBO has not calculated the individual cost of this program.


Comments are closed.