Madam Chair, it is an absolute pleasure for me to participate in this committee of the whole debate and speak this evening to budget 2021. I will be focusing most of my remarks on how our budget has a number of measures to help small businesses and, in turn, how this is good for our recovery and economic growth moving forward. Among many things in budget 2021, there is a plan to make investments in Canada's businesses so they can hire and train workers, who will, as a result, have more money to spend, spurring our recovery and growing an economy with more opportunities for everyone.
Let us start at the beginning. An essential part of Canada's fight against COVID-19 has been the unprecedented federal support for Canadians and Canadian businesses. This support has helped millions of families in the depths of this crisis. One in four Canadians was receiving federal COVID income support. The Canada emergency wage subsidy, currently set to expire in June 2021, has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs and has provided more than $79 billion in support to the Canadian economy.
To continue to support Canadians through the rest of this crisis, and to give workers and employers certainty and stability over the coming months, Bill C-30, the budget implementation act that is currently before the House, proposes to extent the wage subsidy until September 25, 2021. It also proposes to gradually decrease the subsidy rate, beginning on July 4, 2021, to ensure an orderly phase-out of the program as vaccinations are received and as the economy reopens. Extending the support will mean that millions of jobs will continue to be protected.
The wage subsidy has been an absolute lifeline for so many businesses in my riding of Davenport, from many of the artistic and cultural organizations, such as the House of Anansi, an iconic Canadian publishing house, to businesses such as Teixeira Accounting Firm, one of the many small businesses that serve the local community.
Another key support for our small businesses has been the Canada emergency rent subsidy and the lockdown top-up support that has helped more than 180,000 organizations pay their rent, mortgage interest and other expenses. The rent subsidy provides eligible organizations with direct and easy-to-access rental support. An important aspect of this support is that it is accessible directly to tenants and landlords. This program is also scheduled to end in June 2021, but to help Canadians weather the remainder of this crisis until the recovery, they need continued support. As in the case of the wage subsidy, budget 2021 proposes to extend the subsidy for the rent and the lockdown supports until September 25, 2021. It also proposes to gradually reduce the rate of the subsidy for the rent to ensure the program's orderly phase-out as vaccines continue to be rolled out and the economy reopens.
Again, these emergency supports have been tremendous lifelines to many businesses in my riding of Davenport, from hair salons to small theatres to many of the restaurants across my riding, among many other types of organizations and businesses. There is no way they could have survived without these supports. I know they are so grateful for this ongoing support, although I will say they are so excited at the prospect of opening up sometime soon.
Let us move on to speak to supports contained in Bill C-30 that would assist small businesses succeed moving forward. They are some of the new programs we are proposing.
To provide further support to our small businesses, Bill C-30 proposes the new Canada recovery hiring program for eligible employers who continue to experience qualifying declines in revenues, relative to before the pandemic, and who need help with restarting. This proposed program would provide an alternate support for businesses affected by the pandemic to help them hire more workers as the economy reopens. The proposed program is designed so that the rates for both the wage subsidy and the hiring program will slowly decrease over time, creating a strong incentive for employers to begin hiring as soon as possible to maximize their benefit.
For businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, hiring the workers they need to grow is a cost they may worry about taking on. The government wants these businesses to recover and grow by hiring more people, so that workers are at the forefront of our recovery. The proposed Canada recovery hiring benefit would offset a portion of the extra costs employers take on as they reopen, either by increasing wages or hours worked or by hiring more staff. This support would only be available for active employees and would be offered from June 6 to November 20, 2021. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for businesses to hire new workers as the economy reopens.
It is obvious that Canadian businesses must adopt new technologies and go digital to meet the needs of their customers and remain competitive. The pandemic has precipitated the digital transformation of the economy as businesses, workers and consumers increasingly do business online. To spur recovery, jobs and growth, the federal government is launching Canada's digital adoption program, which will create thousands of jobs for young Canadians in addition to helping up to 160,000 small and medium-sized businesses adopt new digital technologies.
This program will offer two components of support to businesses. Eligible shopping street businesses will receive micro grants to help offset the costs of the digital switchover and gain digital trainer support from a network of 20,000 well-trained young Canadians. Some companies will need more comprehensive support to adopt these new technologies. A second component will therefore be offered to businesses located outside the shopping streets, such as small food manufacturing and processing businesses. Support provided to these companies will focus on expert technology planning consultants and the financial options required to implement these technologies. These measures will match more businesses with customers seeking what they have to offer and ensure their continued success.
One of the inspirations for this new program is the digital main street, a program providing grants and services to Ontario businesses to help them digitize. Our federal government helped fund an expansion of this program in June of last year, which helped countless businesses in my riding adapt to the pandemic by going online.
The chair of Little Portugal on Dundas BIA went before the finance committee last week. In the chair's opening remarks to the committee, she let us know that the BIA had been at the forefront of adoption of the digital main street program and it was helped, in large part, by having a Portuguese speaker on its digital service squad. They have indicated the importance of making our new digital adoption program accessible to main street businesses, some of whom may be slow to adopt new technologies, including language barriers, but they have stressed how vital this program is in helping businesses recover from the pandemic and adapt for the future, improving their chances of long-term sustainable success.
Finally, I want to speak in the final minutes of my remarks this evening on budget 2021 about investments in immigration. As we know, Canada is the destination of global talent. With our declining birth rate and increasing retirement rate, Canada's future economic success depends on good immigration policy moving forward and a modern, efficient immigration system to meet the needs of incoming applicants and new Canadians.
As part of budget 2021, the government is proposing $428 million to develop and deliver an enterprise-wide digital platform that will replace the current legacy case management system. What this means is that Canada's immigration system will see an improved application process and support for applicants. We understand that this type of investment is needed to ensure immigration levels in Canada remain well supported.
When Stephen Poloz, former governor of the Bank of Canada, testified recently before the finance committee, he made a very important point. He said that immigration was Canada's most important economic growth engine, just as it was in the 1950s and 1960s. Therefore, anything we can do to make that process more efficient will be a good investment in Canada's future growth. It is important we recognize that the money we put into our immigration system is an investment, not a cost. It will pay huge dividends in economic growth for the future.
Budget 2021 invests in a more prosperous future for us all as we move past and come out of this pandemic. We are meeting this challenge head on and we are laser-focused on growth and the economy.
A sustainable recovery program must focus on the challenges and opportunities ahead in the coming years and decades. It must be guided by a growth strategy based on the unique competitive advantages of the Canadian economy and ensure that Canada is positioned to address the needs of the century to come.
I now have a couple of questions for the Associate Minister of Finance, and my first question is on mental health.
For over a year, Canadians have been forced to adapt their lives to a new normal to keep their communities safe. Many students have switched to attending classes online, and everyone misses having in-person interactions with their loved ones, peers and colleagues. Last year, 40% of all Canadians, and 60% of Canadians with pre-existing mental health conditions, reported that their mental health had worsened. Many of my constituents have shared how these changes and finance-related stress have caused them to feel severe burnout and fatigue due to the stress of this global pandemic.
We realize that this pandemic has taken a great toll on the mental health of Canadians, and that is why the government launched the Wellness Together Canada portal last April. This portal supports the mental health of Canadians by providing live support, treatment and reliable information on mental health and well-being.
Can the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance speak to the measures that will be implemented through budget 2021 to support Canadians who are struggling with their mental health?