The federal government says targeted aid is coming for some businesses hit by closures as a second wave of COVID-19 hits parts of the country. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, flanked by the prime minister and other cabinet colleagues, announced the new program at a news conference in Ottawa today. “The difficult reality is that the health measures we are taking to contain COVID-19 mean there are some businesses that simply cannot operate at full capacity, and some are closed down by public health orders. These measures are to support those businesses and to provide a bridge for all of us to the full containment of the virus,” she said.

“I want to stress that this is not for everyone. Some businesses are able to work at full capacity despite COVID 19 and they are doing well and that’s great.” The federal government also rolled out its overhauled rent relief program, which the government said will now allow businesses to apply directly for relief through the Canada Revenue Agency. The old program, which was meant to ease the pressure on businesses hit by the pandemic by covering a portion of their rent, was roundly criticized by businesses because tapping into the program depended on buy-in from landlords, who were under no obligation to participate. The previous version of the program expired last month.