Everything You Need to Know About COVID Benefit Changes for 2022
November 29, 2021
At the beginning of the pandemic, many Canadians found themselves in places they’ve never been before. Since, the government created several benefit programs to help Canadians get through COVID-19.
As things continue to change, some of the COVID-19 benefit programs are being adapted to continue support individuals and businesses who need them.
Some of these changes include:
- New Changes, deadlines, and extensions
- Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) replaces Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
- What businesses need to know about new programs
- New extension on the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP)
- Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP)
- Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program
- Update from Speech from the Throne
But what do these changes mean for you? Well, let’s break it down.
New changes, deadlines, and extensions for individuals and businesses
On October 23, 2021, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), and Lockdown Support programs came to an end. With the end of these three programs, the federal government is swapping in two new programs to continue helping Canadians affected by COVID-19.
The two new recovery programs will come into effect on October 24, 2021 and run until May 7, 2022. These new recovery programs are:
· The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, and
· The Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program
More information about these two new programs including when and how to apply is coming soon.
Changes to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
Both CRSB and the CRCB have the following changes:
- The CRSB and the CRCB have been extended until May 7, 2022
- Recipients can now claim another two weeks of benefits:
- For the CRSB you can now claim up to 6 weeks (the previous limit is 4 weeks),
- For the CRCB, you can now claim up to 44 weeks (the previous limit is 42 weeks).
Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit (CWLB) replaces Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The CWLB is replacing the CRB, all benefits will remain the same. Eligible individuals will still get the same $300 per week, as long as their work was interrupted by a government-imposed public health lockdown.
Keep in mind, if a worker is eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), they can’t claim both the CWLB and EI at the same time. Also, if a worker experiences loss of income because of a refusal to follow vaccine mandates, they won’t be eligible for this benefit.
How do you apply for the CWLB?
Currently, this transition process is still waiting for an update. But an update is expected to happen soon.
For now, you can apply for the CRB through your CRA MyAccount. It’s worth noting that more details like how and when to apply are coming soon.
New Extension on the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP)
The Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) has been extended until May 7, 2022. Employers who experience revenue loss above 10% are eligible to apply.
This program runs on a period-by-period basis, each period is typically around four weeks long. You may notice that this program begins at period 17 instead of period 1, this is because the CRHP overlaps with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
Applicants can also apply for the claim periods in the CEWS using the eligibility requirements of the CRHP.
How much could I receive?
This subsidy is based on your active employee’s payroll. For more information about claim periods, subsidy rates or even calculating your eligible amount, it’s best to check with the information provided from the federal government’s page about the CRHP.
You can check and see which program will be more beneficial to your business by using the online calculators on the federal governments website.
How do I know if I am eligible for this subsidy?
There are two ways to see if you’re eligible for this subsidy.
The first way to check eligibility is called the general approach, this means that you take your average monthly earning for that claim period in 2021, then compare it to the average monthly earnings that you had in the same month in 2019.
The second way is called the alternative approach, this one compares the 2021 claim period you want to claim against your average monthly revenue in January and February 2020.
Other requirements that you must meet include:
- Have a CRA Business Number issues before March 15, 2020 OR a third-party payroll provider who submits your payroll to the CRA
- Have active employees who receive a T4 (this includes new hires)
- Have a revenue loss of more than:
- 0% for CRHP claim period 17 (between June 6 and July 3, 2021)
- 10% for CRHP claim period 18 (between July 4 to July 31, 2021) and any other CRHP claim period
The subsidy rate for the CRHP will be increased from 20% to 50% for the October 24 to November 20, 2021.
How do I apply for this program?
You can apply for the CRHP in three ways.
- Through your CRA MyBusiness Account under the “Payroll” menu
- Using the Represent a Client login and finally,
- Using the Web Form application
Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP)
This new program is designed to help selected organizations in the tourism and hospitality industry that have been deeply affected by lockdowns and the pandemic.
Examples of organizations eligible for this program include:
· Restaurants and bars
· Travel agencies
· Convention centres
· Other related industries
What do I need to be eligible?
To be eligible for this program, businesses must have:
- An average monthly revenue decline of 40% or more when compared to other years (any time before March 2020) for the first 13 periods of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
2. A current-month revenue loss of at least 40%
The 12-month decline would be calculated by dividing the claim period revenue by the previous reference month’s revenue. For this benefit you would have to average your revenue from March 2020 to February 2021 (except for periods 10 and 11).
How much can I claim?
Eligible businesses qualify can claim up to 75% of their revenue loss from period 22 (October 24, 2021) to period 26 (March 12, 2022).
For periods 27 (March 13, 2022) to period 28 (May 7, 2022), eligible business will be able to claim half of their revenue loss.
For more information on how to calculate your percentage, tools to help you calculate, and more information on the claim periods, check out the full details and outline on the federal government website.
How do I apply for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program?
At this current moment, applications are not open. But the federal government will be releasing more information soon.
Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program
If your business is outside of the tourism or hospitality industry, there’s still support available. The Hardest Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) offers rent and wage subsidies for those who don’t meet the qualification of the THRP.
Businesses who want to qualify for this program will need to prove:
1. An average monthly reduction of at least 50%for the first 13 periods of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and
2. A current-month revenue loss of 50%.
How much can I claim with the HHBRP?
For claim periods 22 through 26 (October 24, 2021 to March 12, 2022), the maximum subsidy rate for this program is 50%.
For claim periods 27 and 28 (March 13, 2022 to May 7, 2022), the maximum subsidy rate is 25%.
To find out more information on how to calculate your rate, check out the subsidy rate table on the federal government website.
Lockdown support would still be available to those at a fixed
-rate of 25% and will be based on the number of days a particular location was affected by a lockdown.
How do I apply for the Hardest Hit Business Program?
Applications aren’t open yet, but the federal government will be releasing more information on how to apply soon.
Update from the Speech from the Throne
On November 23. 2021 the federal government met to discuss their goals moving forward and for the next year.
Updated information that affects your taxes includes:
- The CRA has announced that the Climate Acton Incentive will not be claimed on the 2021 tax return. Instead it will be mailed in four quarterly instalments (like the GST/HST Credit) beginning in July 2022. However, people will still have to file a tax return in order to get it.
- Legislation was tabled on Wednesday to implement the changes to COVID-19 benefits proposed on October 21. It appears that it will pass with the Conservatives supporting it. Information on how to apply for the new Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit should be available on the CRA website next week.
- The Quebec Fiscal Update was released yesterday with some tax changes which will affect 2021 tax returns. There will also be a new Cost-of-Living Allowance paid to lower and middle income taxpayers in January 2022 to help ease the effect of inflation in that province.
- The federal finance minister has announced that she will present a federal fall economic update sometime in the next couple of weeks – which could mean more tax changes. A date has not yet been set.
If you have questions about how COVID-19 relief measures might affect you, or if you want to prepare and file your taxes but aren’t sure where to start, H&R Block is here to help. Choose from one of four convenient ways to file: File in an Office, Drop-off at an Office, Remote Tax Expert, or Do It Yourself Tax Software.