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Feds extend wage subsidy program beyond June

Last Updated May 8, 2020 at 9:39 am PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Monday, May 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program beyond June

Justin Trudeau has announced a new Industry Strategy Council to determine how best to support hard-hit sectors

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Businesses will be able to benefit from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program for a little while longer.

The program is being extended beyond the June 6 deadline to continue to support employers and workers who are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday.

“From the beginning, we recognized that we needed to constantly adjust and improve the delivery of these unprecedented mechanisms to support Canadians who are suffering through this particular crisis.”

More details, including when the program — which covers 75 per cent of a worker’s pay up to $847 each week — will be extended until, are set to be released in the coming days.

Trudeau continues to urge eligible employers to rehire workers, if possible.

“If you had to let people go, try to bring them back. It’s those workers who will drive our economies’ short and long term recovery,” he said.

Beyond this, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has been asked to lead an Industry Strategy Council to figure out how best to help the hardest hit sectors.

“This will be a dedicated forum for industry and government to come together on tackling the effects of COVID-19,” Trudeau explained.

These announcements come after new job numbers were released, showing Canada lost nearly two million jobs last month. The unemployment rate now sits at 13 per cent — the second highest on record as the job losses spread beyond the service sector to include construction and manufacturing.

The shocking numbers were, to an extent, expected, as many people were temporarily laid off due to business closures and operation cuts, however, the trend has happened over a relative handful of weeks.

It could have been much worse, however. Economists on average had expected the loss of four million jobs and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent.