Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed late last week that the federal government’s 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 recovery. The extension of this COVID-19 aid program for employers comes as the Canadian economy has lost about 3 million jobs, according to Statistics Canada. Millions of other Canadians have seen their incomes drastically reduced as a result of most non-essential businesses being closed. Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos said that, as of May 7, about 97,000 businesses have had their wage subsidy applications approved.
Since it was launched just over a week ago, employers across the country have applied for the 75% wage subsidy for over 2 million Canadian workers. The subsidy is on the first $58,700 of an employee’s salary, providing up to $847 a week per employee. The program was set to be in place for 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020 for businesses and charities.
The overall aim of the subsidy was to encourage employers to keep as many staff on their payroll as possible. Trudeau added that more details on how much longer employers will be able to claim the federal funding past the current June 6 deadline, will be unveiled later this week. He encouraged businesses that have laid off workers due to the pandemic, to rehire them with the help of this funding.