Extended Federal Pandemic Benefits to Cost $873 Million: PBO

By Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
November 30, 2021 Updated: December 1, 2021

The federal government’s proposal to extend both pandemic sickness and caregiving benefits into next spring will come with a price tag of about $873.6 million, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) estimates.

On Nov. 24, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the federal government plans to prolong the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) by 28 weeks, through Bill C-2.

In its latest costing reports published on Nov. 30, the PBO estimates that extending the CRSB until May 7, 2022, and increasing the claim period from four to six weeks, will cost an estimated $507 million. 

As for CRCB, the PBO report states that a time frame extension and claim period expanded from 42 to 44 weeks will cost an additional $366.6 million.

Bill C-2 also proposes to extend the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) until May 7, 2022, and expects that $134 million will be paid under the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program and $542 million through the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program.

“With this extension, we expect the gross cost of the CERS to be $8.3 billion. This represents a net cost to the federal government of $7.2 billion after accounting for corporate income tax recoveries,” the report said.

Freeland said she hopes that the proposed extensions will be the “final pivot” from broad-based to more targeted support.

“I see this legislation as very much the last step in our COVID-19 support programs,” she said at the press conference on Nov. 24.

Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.