The current HASCAP deadline is set for March 31, 2022. This is an extension to the initial deadline from late June and the first deadline extension on December 31, 2021. However, pressure is starting to mount on the federal government to extend the program, particularly with the ongoing surge of the Omicron variant and ongoing international travel restrictions.
As written recently in the Times Colonist:
But advocates say the government also needs to extend its existing wage subsidy and rent relief programs for entrepreneurs who are still struggling to keep their heads above water. Anderson said Laser City has relied heavily on both of these programs, which are set to expire at the end of this month.
“A lot of businesses like mine are not ready for those supports to come off, because we’re not anywhere near operating at 100 per cent capacity yet,” she said. “Those programs have been incredibly helpful and we would not be here today without them.”
Beatty agrees. “It would be tragic, having brought people this far, to have them drown 50 feet from shore,” he said. “We have to get them successfully to the shore, not with across-the-board subsidies, but with targeted measures to help those who genuinely need it.
“How long that will be necessary, I don’t know.”
The food service industry is also asking for partial debt relief for government-backed loans, including theHighly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) and any other loan program that the government introduces to help businesses recover from the pandemic. Restaurants Canada says eight out of 10 food service operators have taken on debt due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We’re looking for loan forgiveness. We don’t need more debt,” Restaurants Canada’s Barclay said. “Most restaurants and small businesses have taken on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt over the last 18 months.”
Stay tuned for breaking news to see if the HASCAP program will be extended into 2022.