What’s in the latest COVID-19 response bill passed by the House of Commons?

What’s in the latest COVID-19 response bill passed by the House of Commons?

OTTAWA — Though the politics of Parliament Tuesday were largely focused on a controversy around how the Liberals handled a contract for a student grant program, MPs also passed a new piece of legislation.

Bill C-20 contains a revamped approach to COVID-19 financial measures, and also dealt with the delays the pandemic has created in the legal system.

Here’s a look at what’s in the bill, which will go to the Senate in the coming days.

Wage subsidy

The program covers up to 75 per cent of employee salaries, and was designed to keep people on the payroll even as business remains sluggish during recovery from the shutdown.

The bill extends the program until Nov. 21, with the ability to extend it further by regulation to no later than Dec. 31.

It also provides a new calculation for who qualifies. Previously, employers had to show a decline of 30 per cent in revenue due to the pandemic.

Now there are two parts. One, a base subsidy available to all eligible employers, with the subsidy amount varying depending on the scale of revenue decline. Those who lost less than 30 per cent are now eligible.

Two, a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for those employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Disability benefits

The bill grants a payment of up to $600 to help cover additional costs incurred by people with disabilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify, someone must either already receive the disability tax credit, the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit or be on disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada. That’s an expansion of the previous approach, which had just given benefits to those receiving the tax credit.

For Canadians who received the one-time seniors payment and who qualify for the disability payment, they will see their seniors payments topped up to reach the $600 maximum.

Justice system

The bill adjusts time limits relating to civil litigation proceedings and other time limits included in federal legislation.

For civil litigation, the bill suspends existing time limits under federal laws for starting a legal proceeding or doing something in a legal proceeding.

Some examples include suspending the 30-day period to file an appeal of a divorce decision, or an assessment or decision made under the Income Tax Act.

For regulatory matters, the law allows federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend other time limits identified in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible.

For example, there are time limits on how long the government has to perform national security reviews under the Investment Canada Act and now the government can take longer.

There is a sunset clause on those measures, meaning the ability to suspend time limits expires at the end of September and no order to suspend time limits can extend past the end of 2020.

All temporary orders must also be published on a government website within five days, and be tabled in Parliament.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

National Indigenous Peoples Day is June 21 in Canada. (Government of Canada photo)
Alberta RCMP recognizes National Indigenous Peoples Day 2021

This year, June 21 marks the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples… Continue reading

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Most Read