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Federal government expanding COVID-19 wage subsidy eligibility

Last Updated Apr 8, 2020 at 10:38 am PDT

RILE - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

The federal government is relaxing rules around its $71-billion wage subsidy program

Employers only have to show a 15-per-cent decline in revenues in March

Parliament still has to approve the draft bill on the subsidy

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The federal government is expanding its wage subsidy program eligibility so more businesses can apply for support in the wake of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday the federal government is relaxing rules around its $71-billion wage subsidy program — to cover 75 per cent of employers’ payroll — as well as expanding supports to help young people find jobs through the pandemic.

Rather than having to show a 30-per-cent decline in revenues, Trudeau said businesses can now show a 15-per-cent decline in March, and can compare their revenues to previous months rather than the previous year.

“If our economy is to get through this, we need businesses to survive and workers to get paid,” he added.

Parliament still has to approve the draft bill on the subsidy, and it’s not clear when it will return.

Trudeau also announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to help young people connect with jobs during the pandemic.

“We will now give CSJ employers a subsidy of up to 100 per cent to cover the costs of hiring students,” as well as extend the time frame for job placement until the winter.

On model projections for just how bad this pandemic could get with deaths and infection rates, Trudeau said the government is still compiling data from provinces and will have more to say in the coming days.

Trudeau is also pushing for the option that parliament return in a virtual setting.

As of Wednesday morning, more than 18,000 Canadians had tested positive for COVID-19, with 401 deaths recorded.