Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the emergency wage subsidy program is being extended beyond June, “to help kick-start our economic reopening and boost jobs.” This is the first federal aid program rolled out amid the COVID-19 pandemic to receive an extension and comes in light of record-high job losses. It was implemented to incentivize employers to keep staff on the payroll. Since it launched last week, employers have applied for the 75 per cent subsidy for more than 2 million workers, Trudeau said, adding that more details will be unveiled next week.
The question of whether the current aid packages will get extensions comes as some current programs set to end next month, even though the current pace of gradual economic reopening indicates many Canadians won’t be back to work by then.
In April, the Canadian economy lost nearly two million jobs, on top of the one million jobs lost in March, according to Statistics Canada.
Meanwhile, millions of other Canadians have seen their incomes drastically reduced as a result of nearly all non-essential businesses being closed.
Among the more than $150 billion in economic assistance programs the federal government has enacted over the last two months, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is providing out-of-work Canadians a financial tie-over of $2,000 a month. At least 7.7 million people have applied for it.
One figure the government’s waiting to see is how many Canadians are back on the job come May through the wage subsidy program.“ CTV news
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