OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Businesses of any size, not just small and medium, as well as non-profits and charities will all be eligible to apply for the federal government’s previously announced wage subsidy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
“If your business’ revenues have decreased by at least 30 per cent because of COVID-19, you will be eligible for this subsidy,” he said from Rideau Cottage. “Every business of every size is having to make some difficult decisions because of COVID-19, and that’s why the number of employees is not the eligibility criteria we’ve chosen. This is in line with best practices we’ve observed in other countries.”
Trudeau announced the wage subsidy measure to help struggling businesses last week. He said qualifying businesses will see it increase from 10 per cent to 75 per cent, and noted it would be backdated to March 15.
The prime minister asked companies that receive the increase re-hire workers who were laid off as a result of the pandemic over the last couple of weeks to ensure the money is going to employees.
Any business able to pay its employees without the help of the government is being encouraged to do so.
Meanwhile, Trudeau had a warning for anyone looking to abuse the aid package. He said there would be “serious consequences” for people trying to scam the system, but didn’t elaborate on what that would look like.
There will be serious penatlies @JustinTrudeau says for those who try to scam the system – every dollar is intended for employees to be paid or rehired if laid off in last two weeks. And employers who can pay remaining 25% must do so.#bcpoli @news1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) March 30, 2020
“We are trusting you to do the right thing,” Trudeau said. “If you have the means to pay the remaining 25 per cent that’s not covered by the subsidy, please do so.”
When asked about the price tag for the wage subsidy plan, Trudeau said the government has money set aside, but that further details would be revealed by the federal finance minister on Tuesday.
Trudeau asked about a price tag for this wage subsidy, but he says those cost estimates will be revealed tomorrow when the Finance Minister speaks with reporters/Canadians #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) March 30, 2020
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one-in-four small businesses have said they can’t pay their April rent, lease, or mortgage.
In the hospitality sector, 44 per cent of respondents in a recent survey said the same, while three per cent of in-person services, like hair salons, said they were concerned about upcoming rent.
One in four #SmallBusinesses say they cannot pay their April rent (lease or mortgage), says @CFIB re: online survey with nearly 9,400 respondents.
In the hospitality sector 44% say they cannot pay the rent, while in personal services such as hair salons it's 32%.@NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/Ldt9F13m7K
— Richard Dettman (@rwdettman) March 30, 2020