Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently revealed that the federal government’s 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy program will be extended beyond its June 6 deadline to encourage more employers to re-hire staff and “help kick-start” Canada’s gradual economic reopening. That target date has now been revealed – August 29. The subsidy is on the first $58,700 of an employee’s salary, providing up to $847 a week per employee. The initial subsidy was supposed to be in place for 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15 for businesses and charities. It has now been extended by an additional 12 weeks to Saturday, August 29.
The federal government is also expanding the eligibility for the financial-aid program by committing $450 million towards temporary wage assistance for medical researchers whose work is unrelated to COVID-19, but who have been impacted by the pandemic. “Business owners, please take confidence from this announcement. You have some runway to catch your breath as you get restarted,. So please, bring back your workers,” Trudeau said.
The subsidy was initially projected to cost $73 billion, but so far only a fraction of those funds has been used. The latest figures indicate that $3.4 billion has been spent on wage subsidies to slightly more than 120,000 companies. According to the Globe and Mail, the vast majority of the applications so far have been for subsidy amounts of less than $100,000. An estimated 5,500 applications have come in seeking between $100,000 and $1 million in federal assistance.