On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Canadians from Rideau Cottage and unveiled changes to Canada's wage subsidy program and more help is coming for students.
Under the new changes, Canadian businesses will only need to show a loss of revenue of 15% for March, rather than the previously announced 30% mark, to qualify the federal government's Emergency Wage Subsidy program. This update would allow the many businesses that were forced to shut down midway through last month as a result of COVID-19 to qualify.
Businesses will also have the option of comparing March revenue to those in January and February 2020, rather than last year, which will help start-ups and other businesses qualify.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. Trudeau said the government will now offer subsidies to pay 100% of the wages for students hired by employers through the CSJ program, helping create up to 70,000 jobs for Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30.
Trudeau said the time frame for the job placements is also being extended until the winter, given that some jobs will “start later than usual.” Student hires can also be employed part-time, given many businesses have had to scale back their operations, Trudeau said.
The Prime Minister also said he's calling on the opposition to recall parliament to pass the legislation needed to enact the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Trudeau added that the government is working on a solution to help gig workers, those who work in home care, or work 10 hours or less a week. "I want to be clear, we will be doing more," said Trudeau.
The government previously announced the Emergency Wage Subsidy last month, which would provide a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks (March 15 to June 6). Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships, as well as nonprofits and registered charities.
The subsidy amount for a given employee would be 75% the amount of remuneration paid during the period, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week. There is no limit on the number of employees per employer.
This comes as a total of 18,477 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Canada and 401 people have died.