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Federal wage subsidy hiked to 75%

The federal wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses hit by the new coronavirus pandemic is jumping up to 75 per cent, the prime minister announced this morning.

The announcement came amid projections that Canada’s unemployment could reach 156 percent and the deficit could end up as high as $113 Billion.

Last week, Trudeau announced a 10 per cent wage subsidy but admitted Friday that it’s not enough.

“It’s becoming clear that we need to do more — much more — so we’re bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses,” he said. “This means people will continue to be paid even though their employers have to slow down or stop their businesses.” That wage subsidy will be backdated to March 15.

The news prompted an immediate response from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce praising the move and calling it “exactly what the doctor ordered, and what business groups have been asking for.”

It’s not clear at this time what the details are on that subsidy, including whether it will have a capped amount or an end date, but Trudeau said more details should be released on Monday.

Trudeau also said the government will be offering a new Canada Emergency Business Account to provide loans of up to $40,000 to small and medium-sized businesses that will be interest-free for one year. The move comes hours after Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux released a forecast report based on the possibility of physical distancing lasting until August. The report predicted the national unemployment rate could rise to 15 per cent by the end of the year. From Global News

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