New post-COVID economic rescue coming, say Laval’s four Liberal MPs
Despite ongoing debate in Ottawa between government and opposition forces over legislation to launch the nation’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery hiring strategy, Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis says she is confident the bill containing the measures will pass before Parliament’s summer break and the program will be implemented.
Economic Recovery Hiring
The Laval region’s four MPs announced last week that the new Economic Recovery Hiring Program will be available until November 21, and will be retroactive to June 6. Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, the program’s purpose is to assist eligible employers who have suffered revenue losses since the pandemic and difficulties hiring new employees.
Specifically, the program will provide employers with an allowance of up to 50 per cent of the additional earnings paid to eligible employees during the program period. The government believes this support would provide local businesses with the sense of confidence that they can afford the additional costs necessary to rehire staff and resume growth in Canada’s post-COVID19 economy.
Weathering the storm
“Local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic,” Laval MPs Annie Koutrakis (Vimy), Fayçal El-Khoury (Laval-Les Îles) Yves Robillard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin) and Angelo Iacono (Alfred-Pellan) said in a statement.
“That’s why our federal government has put in place emergency measures to help them weather this storm. The Economic Recovery Hiring Program underlines our continued commitment to be there for Laval entrepreneurs and to provide them with the necessary tools they need to ensure the prosperity of our Laval community.”
As a member of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance, Koutrakis has been in an especially advantageous position to hear from countless business owners in Laval and across Canada who were eager to reopen their doors to the public.
Bridging the gap, says Koutrakis
She said she is aware that Laval’s businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and as the economic recovery begins, it is important that they be able to hire the employees they need to restore their operations while supporting Laval’s economic activity.
“The Canada Recovery Hiring Program helps these businesses bridge the gap from essential support programs like the rent and wage subsidies as they return to normal operations,” said Koutrakis.
“By offsetting some of the costs associated with hiring staff, increasing wages or extending hours worked, we’re encouraging local employment while giving business owners the confidence they need to reopen and grow following the pandemic.”
Waiting to move forward
In the meantime, Bill C-30 (The Budget Implementation Act,’ which was tabled in the Commons on April 19) has reached third reading, but is being held back before going to the Senate by ongoing debate.
“Unfortunately, it’s silly time in Ottawa these days, and the opposition party – namely the Conservative Party – is blocking us from going forward, continuing the debate in the House before it goes to the Senate and receives royal assent,” Koutrakis said in an interview with the Laval News.
“So, right now it’s stuck in the legislative process. We’re just waiting for this to be complete before we can say it has become law under budget 2021 and the program can be rolled out.”
Will it pass before break?
The House of Commons rises for the summer break on June 23. Until then, according to Koutrakis, a lot of negotiations are taking place behind the scenes in Ottawa. As Bill C-30 is a budgetary piece of legislation, its failure to pass would be a vote of non-confidence against the Liberal government, potentially triggering an election.
“So, it’s very crucial that we see this bill go forward if we want to continue not only to roll out these measures that we’ve announced in budget 2021,” she said, “but also the extension of existing support programs that are already in place to support small businesses and all Canadians.”
Other programs extended
The Economic Recovery Hiring Program is available to eligible employers who have experienced qualifying revenue declines so they can hire more workers, increase workers’ hours, or increase wages.
In Ottawa, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Small Business Mary Ng recently also detailed the proposed extension of business support programs that have been serving as a lifeline to Canadian businesses through the pandemic.
This includes the proposed extension of the Wage Subsidy, Rent Subsidy, and Lockdown Support until September 25. These programs are currently set to expire in June. Both the Hiring Program and proposed extensions are part of Bill C-30.