2022 has kicked off with an unprecedented number of COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant, resulting in financial strain for several businesses and their employees.

“We continue to see some businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, struggle during this challenging time,” said Sharlane Bailey, owner of Canwest Accounting. “Tapping into Government Supports for Dealing with Omicron can help some to weather this latest storm in the COVID pandemic.”

We have compiled a list of COVID-19 relief benefits and programs below for both individuals and businesses.

Sickness and Caregiving Benefits

Some people may be required to take time off work due to illness affecting themselves or to care for a sick family member. These programs aim to help.

Paid Sick Leave – Launched on Jan. 1, 2022, B.C. workers who have worked for an employer for 90 days can take up to 5 days of paid leave per year for illness or personal injury.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) – Available until May 7, 2022, workers can receive up to 6 weeks of support if they are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or if they have an underlying health condition that makes them particularly vulnerable to catching COVID-19 and experiencing severe illness.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) – provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who cannot work because they are caring for their child, under the age of 12, or other family member needing supervised care. Each household can apply for support of up to $500 per week for a maximum of 44 weeks until May 7, 2022.

Recovery and Hiring Benefits

Organizations that have experienced a decline in earnings during the pandemic may qualify for assistance through the following programs, available until May 7, 2022:

Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – featuring wage and rent subsidies.

Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – consisting of wage and rent subsidies, recently expanded to assist those businesses affected by recent COVID lockdowns.

Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) – eligible employers can claim this if it is higher than the wage portion of THRP and HHBRP.

While the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has now wrapped up, the eligibility and calculation rules for THRP and HHBRP are similar to CEWS.

There are more economic supports for businesses, non-profits, and community groups available.

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