Legislation to create jobs and implement targeted COVID-19 support receives Royal Assent

News release

December 17, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, welcomed the Royal Assent in Parliament of Bill C-2. This bill ensures that workers and businesses have the urgent help they need to deal with the impact of the Omicron variant:

  • The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, providing $300 a week in income support to eligible workers who are directly impacted by a COVID-19-related public health lockdown in their region up until May 7, 2022.
  • The Local Lockdown Program, providing businesses that face temporary new local lockdowns up to the maximum amount available through the wage and rent subsidy programs.
  • Extending the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit until May 7, 2022, and increasing the maximum duration of benefits by 2 weeks. This extends the caregiving benefit from 42 to 44 weeks and the sickness benefit from 4 to 6 weeks. Individuals will be able to apply retroactively back to the week of November 21, 2021. Applications for period 61 will launch on December 20, 2021.
  • The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, providing support through wage and rent subsidies to, for example, hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent. The eligible types of businesses are detailed in the legislation and related backgrounder.
  • The Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, providing support through wage and rent subsidies to other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.
  • Extending the Canada Recovery Hiring Program until May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent and increasing the subsidy rate to 50 per cent. This extension will help businesses continue to hire back workers, increase hours, and create the additional jobs Canada needs for a robust recovery.

The Royal Assent of Bill C-2 provides certainty to Canadians and Canadian businesses in the face of the Omicron variant. Critical emergency lockdown support will help workers and businesses that are unable to work or do business, should the public health situation necessitate future lockdowns. It also provides essential, targeted support for businesses still deeply affected by the pandemic. The government will continue to help Canadians through the pandemic and ensure Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.


“From the outset of the pandemic, our government understood that the best economic policy is finishing the fight against COVID-19. Bill C-2 ensures public health authorities can make the right decisions to save lives while knowing that the federal government will be there to support workers and businesses. The measures in this bill also address ongoing unevenness in our recovery and make sure that sectors and businesses that still need help get the support they need. Bill C-2 will help us finish this fight and invest in support for Canadians and Canadian businesses that will make life safer and more affordable.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“The Government will continue to be there for Canadians as the country fights the fourth wave of the pandemic. Through the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, we are providing targeted income support to workers whose job may be affected by lockdowns. This is in addition to the support Canadians can receive through the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit. Bill C-2 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to fighting the pandemic and strengthening the economy while keeping Canadian families safe.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“The Canadian tourism sector continues to be one of the most affected by COVID-19. These new targeted measures will help ensure that tourism businesses get the support they need while keeping safety as the top priority. We remain fully committed to supporting the sector through these challenging times so that it can recover quickly and thrive. The Canadian economy will not fully recover until our tourism sector recovers.”

- The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • The total cost of the measures in Bill C-2, from October 24, 2021 through to May 7, 2022, is estimated at $7.4 billion. To account for the potential cost of the Omicron variant response, the government has provisioned an additional $4.5 billion for these programs, and other necessary measures to keep Canadians safe, should they be required. For context, the Government of Canada has provided $282 billion for direct income and business supports since the start of the pandemic.

  • In addition to Bill C-2, in the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, the government proposed new measures to see Canadians through the pandemic and to support a robust and resilient recovery. These measures include:

    • $1.7 billion to increase access to rapid testing supplies across Canada, helping to identify cases early, break the chain of transmissions, and reduce outbreaks.
    • $2 billion to procure lifesaving COVID-19 therapeutics and treatments.
    • $100 million through the Safe Return to Class Fund and $10 million for First Nations on-reserve schools to improve ventilation in schools and protect students, teachers, school staff, and parents from outbreaks.
    • $70 million to support ventilation projects in public and community buildings like hospitals, libraries, and community centres.
    • The proposed new Small Businesses Air Quality Improvement Tax Credit of 25 per cent of the cost of upgrading ventilation systems and air filtration, up to $10,000 per location and $50,000 in total.
    • $60 million to support workers in Canada’s live performance industry through the new temporary Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund.
  • Budget 2021 introduced the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help employers hire the workers they need to recover and grow, with a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of additional eligible salary or wages. This support gives employers the certainty they need to rehire and expand operations. 

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs, with more than $98 billion in support already paid out through the program to help employers re-hire workers and avoid layoffs. 

  • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support have helped more than 218,000 organizations with over $7 billion in support for rent, mortgage, and other expenses.

  • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit has delivered $3.81 billion to 496,490 Canadians. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed people who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care. It applies if their school, regular program, or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19.

  • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit has delivered over $879 million to 779,800 Canadians. The benefit provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

  • As reported in December’s Economic and Fiscal Update 2021, a Department of Finance survey of private sector economists conducted in early November projects solid real GDP growth of 4.6 per cent in 2021. 

  • Canada has exceeded its goal of creating 1 million jobs, has the second-fastest jobs recovery in the G7, and has now recovered 106 per cent of the jobs lost during the pandemic, compared to 83 per cent in the U.S.

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