Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland looks on as she participates in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and, virtually, with U.S. President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill last week in Ottawa. The federal government announced that the rent and wage subsidies would remain unchanged and be extended. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

Ottawa announces it will extend rent and wage subsidies into June

The federal government announced today that the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will remain unchanged and be extended from March 14 until June 5, 2021.

According to a press release from the Department of Finance Canada, the extensions are meant to provide certainty and continued support for workers and businesses.

“Workers and businesses have showed incredible resilience over the past year, especially through this difficult winter, and today’s announcement makes clear that they can continue to rely on their government to be there for them, every step of the way,” Chrystia Freeland, the deputy prime minister and minister of finance, said in a statement.

The announcement came a day after the opposition New Democratic Party made an election style promise on Tuesday, unveiling a plan to help small businesses that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that the plan includes a commitment to extending the wage subsidy program until the pandemic is over so that small businesses can keep their workforce and hiring bonus to pay employers for new or rehired staff.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill. The NDP made an election style promise on Tuesday, unveiling a plan to help small businesses that were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and we must ensure they get all the support they need to recover from this pandemic,” Singh said in a statement.

“The Liberals are only interested in protecting the interests of big corporations that have been profiteering from this pandemic, not small businesses struggling to keep their heads above water,” he said.

“The NDP will continue to fight for support for small businesses.”

The plan also includes an extension of the rent subsidy program so that small businesses can continue to afford their rent and invest in their businesses, as well as what the NDP called an “excess profit tax” on pandemic profits to better support small businesses.

“As we aim for a recovery, we need to ensure our small businesses grow, innovate and stay competitive in Canada and around the world,” said Gord Johns, the NDP critic for small business.

This is not the first election promise that Singh and the NDP revealed.

In February, the party called for an end to for-profit long-term care homes and promised to implement a care guarantee standard that aims to protect people in long-term care homes and the people that care for them.

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