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February 23, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

Federal government extending Canadians' access to Canada Recovery Benefit and Employment Insurance

The federal government will extend the period of time claimants can receive several pandemic income benefits, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) will all see extensions in the number of weeks eligible recipients can receive them.

The government will also seek to increase the maximum period recipients can receive EI regular benefits to 50 weeks, an extension of 24 weeks. This applies to claims made from between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. The changes to EI depend on legislation receiving approval in Parliament.

The CRCB will receive the same extension to 38 weeks. The program "provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care," said the government. Recipients receive $500 for a one-week period and must reapply each week to continue receiving the benefit. The CRSB, designed to support those who cannot work due to illness or having to self-isolate in the pandemic, will be extended to four weeks from the previous two. Those eligible can receive $500 per week but must reapply every week.

Bank of Canada Governor points to child care, education to help ease protracted employment recovery

In a speech to chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary, Governor Tiff Macklem said he expects short-term rebounds in job numbers as parts of the country come out of those tight public health restrictions. Vaccines also promise a more sustained rebound coming out of this wave of the pandemic. Getting back to a healthy labour market is central to the bank's target of low, stable and predictable inflation, Macklem said.

But he warned the damage to the national labour market cased by COVID-19 will not be easily undone, saying that a recovery will be long and protracted. Some businesses and jobs won't come back either because of permanent changes in demand, or the adoption of new technologies, Macklem said.

Governments could increase access to child care and reduce its cost to help the labour market rebound, and reduce the risk of long-term economic scarring for women who have disproportionately felt the brunt of pandemic job losses, the governor of the Bank of Canada says.

Making child care more affordable and available across the country would help more women return to the labour force and stay there as conditions improve, Tiff Macklem said, noting their job numbers have fluctuated as school and daycare openings and closures during the pandemic affects their ability to work.

Child care is expected to play a role in the federal government's spring budget as the Liberals have vowed to create a national child-care system, seeing it as a key economic measure to aid in a jobs recovery.

The House of Commons finance committee recommended recently that the Liberals start with an initial spend of about $2 billion this year to kickstart development of a system that experts say will take years to build.

BC allows restaurants, bars to buy alcohol at wholesale prices

British Columbia will permanently allow restaurants, bars and tourism operators to buy liquor at wholesale prices, a move that industry hopes will help revive the struggling sector. The provincial government made temporary changes in June to allow the hospitality industry to buy alcohol at the same price as liquor stores, and it has now made that decision permanent.

Previously, restaurants, pubs and tourism businesses with liquor licences paid full retail price — the wholesale price, plus a markup set by the government — on most alcohol purchases. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says in a news release that the government is making the change permanent to give businesses certainty and to help the estimated 190,000 residents who work in the sector.

Vaccine rollout will be different in each region, Ontario government says

Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout could look different in each of its 34 public health units as the province receives more doses in the coming weeks, the government said Monday. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said Ontario is "empowering" local health units to draw up their own specific plans to distribute the vaccine, and all have been submitted to the government for approval. Vaccines will be distributed to health units based on population, Jones said, and while they must follow the province's plan to vaccinate priority populations first, they can also determine the best way to serve the needs of their communities.

Iain Rankin sworn in as Nova Scotia premier, along with 16 cabinet ministers

Rankin and 16 cabinet ministers were sworn in during a ceremony Tuesday in Halifax. The path Rankin laid out Tuesday plays on several of the key themes of his leadership campaign, including an overarching emphasis on addressing climate change throughout all government departments, and the creation of new government offices to focus on equality and systemic racism, as well as mental health and addictions.

The key Minsters from CFA’s perspective are:

  • Randy Delorey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Minister of Labour Relations
  • Lena Metlege Diab, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education
  • Labi Kousoulis, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, Minister of Inclusive Economic Growth

AstraZeneca vaccine review is in the 'final stages

Health Canada's chief medical adviser said today the department is poised to make a decision on whether to authorize a promising COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca in the coming days. Health Canada told the House of Commons health committee that the regulator has received all the necessary scientific information from the company but is still looking into questions about labelling and the product monograph — the information disseminated by Health Canada to medical professionals about how and when a vaccine should be administered and in what groups.

The department has said for weeks its decision on the product would be released soon. Other countries — notably Australia, the European Union and the United Kingdom — already have authorized the product for use in their jurisdictions, but under different conditions.

Business Recovery Summits On-Demand Videos Now Available for Purchase!

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COVID-19's impact on the world is creating waves across all sectors and industries.

Every member of the CFA community is dealing with an issue that is affecting the world, our industries, our communities, our businesses, and our people.

We would like to hear from you if you have any topics, issues or questions to navigate turbulent times in order to support you further: 


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