Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Rafe Wright works on making a beverage as a patron places an order at Receiver Coffee in Charlottetown on March 23, 2021.

John Morris/John Morris

The federal government is extending the wage and rent subsidies through the summer, keeping program eligibility unchanged and introducing a new incentive for small businesses to hire back workers.

In the federal budget tabled on Monday, the Liberal government said getting small- and medium-sized enterprises back on their feet after many have struggled because of public-health restrictions is key for economic recovery. Small businesses contribute about half of Canada’s private sector economy and about two-thirds of its employment.

The budget said the wage and rent programs would be extended until Sept. 25, and to Nov. 20 if needed. The rates of both programs, which provide support prorated to revenue decline, will diminish until they end.

Story continues below advertisement

For this generation of Liberals, government’s role is to do everything within its reach

Federal government targets child care, COVID-19 relief in a wave of new spending, as deficit projected to hit $354-billion

Liberals bet big that we can spend our way out of deficit problems

Companies that opened after February, 2020, are still ineligible for the subsidies, despite calls for help from businesses that were partway through renovations preparing to open when the pandemic began.

The wage subsidy has so far dispersed about $74-billion to companies, and the rent subsidy has provided nearly $3-billion. The budget provides an additional $10-billion for the wage subsidy and another $1.9-billion for the rent subsidy.

It also outlined a new subsidy, called the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which will fund a portion of the additional payroll costs for companies that increase employment between June and November. The subsidy begins at 50 per cent of new salary costs and declines over time. It can be used to hire new staff, recall laid-off workers or increase hours for existing employees. The cost is estimated at $595-million this fiscal year. Eligible businesses can access the hiring incentive or the wage subsidy, but not both.

Personal finance columnist Rob Carrick outlines the federal budget’s plans for discounted child care, money for seniors and extending the interest-free period for student loans. But the budget is light on details on how Ottawa will pay for pandemic recovery measures and what it will do to cool the housing market.

The most popular pandemic support for small businesses over the past year has been the Canada Emergency Business Account, which has provided $46-billion in partly forgivable loans of up to $60,000 each. The federal government recently extended the deadline to apply, but the budget indicated the government would not address the eligibility gaps, extend the repayment deadline or make more of the loans forgivable.

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the extension of the wage and rent subsidies -- and the new hiring incentive -- would be a lifeline for many small businesses.

However, he said he was disappointed eligibility criteria were not expanded.

“This is making a bad problem worse for tens of thousands of businesses that haven’t received a nickel of federal support since the pandemic started,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The budget recognized that the economic damage from the pandemic has not been felt evenly. For example, tourism companies, which have been devastated by travel restrictions, will be the beneficiaries of some targeted aid, including a $500-million tourism relief fund.

Restaurants Canada president Todd Barclay said he was disappointed that the food-services industry did not receive targeted support, given that restaurants are among the businesses hardest hit by lockdown measures.

The budget also announced a Canadian digital-adoption program for small- and medium-sized businesses that want to use new technology and increase their e-commerce practices. The program includes training and employment for up to 28,000 young people who would work with companies moving online. The budget provides $1.4-billion to the innovation department and $2.6-billion to the Business Development Bank of Canada for this purpose over four years.

Karl Littler, senior vice-president of public affairs for the Retail Council of Canada, said small retailers will welcome more support to embrace e-commerce.

“It’s been a pretty crying need in our space,” Mr. Littler said.

He said that although the Liberal government appears to have abandoned a 2019 campaign promise to stop charging sales tax on fees for credit-card transactions, he was glad to see a promise in the budget to address credit-card merchant fees in the fall economic statement.

Story continues below advertisement

The government also announced a $43.9-million investment to develop an e-payroll system for small businesses to streamline their payroll filing.

The budget also includes additional funding of about $365-million in total for programs aimed at supporting female, Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs.

The 2021 federal budget will continue economic support for businesses and individuals through the summer with a roadmap to wind them down later in the year as more Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies