It looks like the CERB direct subsidy program will end at the end of this month as scheduled but the Trudeau government is hoping employers will take up the slack by enrolling in the wage subsidy program which reimburses employers up to 75 percent of an employees’ salary. In the throne speech the government promised to extend the wage subsidy program until next summer. That program, which aims to keep employees on the payroll to ensure a smooth post-pandemic economic transition, covers 75 per cent of employee wages for the initial claim period — up to $847 a week — before being gradually reduced in subsequent claim periods. The program — which as of Sept. 13 had paid out more than $35 billion — was set to end in December.
The government is also promising to expand the emergency business account — which offers interest-free loans of $40,000 to small businesses and non-profits — and more support for sectors that were hard-hit by the pandemic, such as tourism and hospitality.
To get more women, whose employment was disproportionately affected by the pandemic, , the government is promising “significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system.”
The government is also pledging to address inadequate care and dire conditions in some long-term care facilities — conditions that were exposed by the pandemic. It says it will work with the provinces and territories to establish national standards of care, and to provide additional supports to people who want to stay in their homes longer. It also says it plans to impose criminal penalties for those who neglect vulnerable, elderly Canadians after the pandemic exposed shocking gaps in some long-term care facilities. “Elders deserve to be safe, respected, and live in dignity,” Payette said. “Although long-term care falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the federal government will take any action it can to support seniors while working alongside the provinces and territories.”
“The economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has already been worse than the 2008 financial crisis. These consequences will not be short-lived,” said Gov. Gen. Julie Payette.”This is not the time for austerity.”
The speech says that tackling the climate change crisis will be a “cornerstone” of the government’s plan and commits to creating jobs through retrofitting homes and buildings while cutting energy costs for families and businesses. The government promised to create thousands of jobs by retrofitting homes and buildings and to make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable.
The government is also eyeing a new disability benefit, which would be modelled after the guaranteed income supplement (GIS) for seniors, as well as a new employment strategy for people with disabilities.
The government is promising to address systemic racism against racialized communities and Indigenous peoples by cracking down on online hate, improving data collection and implementing an action plan for diversity hires in the public service.
The government said it also remains committed to subsidizing before- and after-school program costs.