Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this week that a planned wage subsidy program will help enterprises and charities with a revenue loss of 30% or more.
The subsidy, which would cover up to 75% of the wages of employees working for small and medium enterprises, will apply for all businesses and charities regardless of the business size. It will be capped at $847 a week per worker.
“If your business’s revenues have decreased by at least 30% because of COVID-19, you will be eligible for this subsidy. The number of employees you have will not determine whether or not you get this support,” Trudeau explained to reporters.
Citing government records, Reuters reported that about 1.55 million Canadians filed for unemployment insurance from March 16 to March 25 – representing a more than 50% increase from the nearly one million claimants from March 16 to March 22.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) voiced its approval for the expanded program, saying that it would “be a significant relief for tens of thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees.”
Since the program was first announced, the CFIB has pushed for the federal government to increase the amount for the wage subsidy, which was initially set to cover only 10% of a worker’s pay.
The CFIB had previously warned that nearly a third of Canada’s small businesses said that they could not survive until the end of March due to business losses sustained from the coronavirus outbreak. CFIB also cautioned that more than half of small firms have begun laying off their staff – but a quarter had already laid off their entire workforce. It was in that previous release that the trade group proposed that the government create a larger wage subsidy program to prevent “massive additional unemployment.”