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All businesses, non-profits, charities eligible for fed wage subsidy increase, PM says

Last Updated Mar 30, 2020 at 4:30 pm PDT

Summary

Small, medium, and large size businesses will be eligible for the wage subsidy increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said charities and non-profits will also be eligible

The government is warning businesses looking to take advantage of the system of 'serious consequences'

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.

“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.

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.