Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy beyond June to “help kick-start” the economy reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The prime minister said more details will be announced next week.
The Subsidy gave eligible employers 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, with an original end date of June 6, 2020. The maximum benefit is $847 per employee each week.
Trudeau’s announcement comes after Statistics Canada released its latest jobs report, noting another significant hit. Canada lost nearly two million jobs in April amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Statistic Canada, after employment fell by 1,011,000 or 5.3% in March, it dropped by nearly two million in April, “bringing the total employment decline since the beginning of the COVID-19 economic shutdown to over three million.”
On Friday, Trudeau also said that Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains will be leading a new Industry Strategy Council, which will take a deeper dive into how the pandemic is affecting specific sectors, and how to best support them.
While the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is being extended, Trudeau said that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit already had a longer timeline, but that the federal government will be adjusting support programs as the pandemic evolves.
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Both full-time and part-time employment in Canada fell in April, by -9.7% and -17.1% respectively.
Since February, those losses translate to -12.5% in full-time work, and -29.6% in part-time work.
Statistics Canada calls the drop in employment “unprecedented.”
Looking ahead, the Stats Can report indicated that Canadians fear future employment losses.
“As the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 economic shutdown are gradually adjusted and economic activity increases, a number of Canadian workers face an uncertain immediate future.”