Expanding pandemic employment program for an additional $ 600 million, according to PBO

Ottawa-Parliamentary Budget Officer said extending pandemic measures designed to avoid layoffs in businesses would cost about $ 600 million in the Federal Treasury over three years.

Most of the additional spending of about $ 404 million will occur this year under the cost estimates released today by the Office of Management and Budget, to $ 174 million next year and finally $ 15 million the following year. Become.

Additional spending covers a one-year extension of provisions to provide easy access to worksharing programs that provide employment insurance replenishment to workers who save time to avoid layoffs.

With this extension, work-sharing arrangements in the enterprise could last up to 76 weeks from the pre-pandemic maximum of 38, with a “cooling-off” period between the time that the enterprise and workers have access to the program. The qualification criteria are expanded without the need for. ..

Budget Officer Eve Gillow reports that this decision will bring benefits to $ 882 million instead of $ 512 million this year, for a three-year total instead of $ 634 million. That’s close to $ 1.2 billion.

But the Office of Management has pointed out that numbers can change depending on how long it takes for the labor market to recover from last year’s historic employment plunge.

In general, worksharing programs follow the economic path. This means that as the employment market recovers deeper or longer, more workers and businesses will seek federal support.

In the April budget document, the use of work-sharing programs extends beyond manufacturing to other areas of the economy, including professional, scientific and technical services, including professions such as accountants, engineers and researchers. It is shown to have expanded.

The Canadian Bureau of Statistics provided the latest information on the labor market on Friday, detailing the number of jobs in June after two months of unemployment in April and May as companies dismissed staff during the third wave blockade. To do.

As of May, the country was about 571,100, or 3% below the pre-pandemic level seen in February 2020, but the Bureau of Statistics adjusted the population growth during the pandemic to the actual gap. Estimated that could be even larger. With 763,000 jobs, or 3.9 percent.

The federal budget for April estimated that the country would fill that first gap by this summer, but by early next year it will fill the second larger gap.

Economists said in a June employment report that regulations had receded nationwide, suggesting that summer employment would skyrocket as vaccination rates rise and more parts of the economy resume. We expect employment to increase.

As the situation looks better, federal aid has reduced the value of corporate wages and rent subsidies and has begun helping workers who have been hit.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Enterprises, which represents thousands of SMEs across the country, is calling on the government to reverse the decline in wage and rent subsidies until the economy and borders are fully reopened.

“The federal government is willing to improve and expand its support program throughout the pandemic. The finish line is visible but not yet there,” President Dan Kelly said in a statement. “It’s not time to get help from underneath SMEs while they’re still stepping in.”

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