Businesses only need to show 15% drop in revenue to access wage subsidy: Trudeau

Apr 8 2020, 8:56 am

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced more financial assistance for young Canadians and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau said they are working with the opposition to recall parliament to pass the legislation needed to enact the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The wage subsidy was announced last month, and the prime minister said he has since received input from businesses on making changes.

“These conversations have helped us to adjust what we first announced,” said Trudeau.

The initial wage subsidy announced required businesses show a 30% drop in revenue in March 2020 compared to March 2019.

Trudeau said that now, businesses will just have to show a 15% decline in revenue in March compared to 30%, and that businesses can compare March revenue to January and February 2020.

Charities, as well as non-profits, can also choose to include or exclude government funding when making their calculations.

As for young Canadians, Trudeau said that the federal government will pay 100% of the wages paid by employers in the Canada Summer Jobs program.

As hiring will start later than usual, the prime minister said the program will remain open until the winter.

“Young people are especially vulnerable,” said Trudeau, adding that they’re new to the workforce and don’t have the money to secure expenses nor the experiences.

“I want to be clear, we will be doing more,” he said.

Dan Kelly, president at Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), said they were pleased to learn about the changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

“To be clear, these changes will still not help all small firms in need of help to gain access to the subsidy,” said Kelly in a statement.

“CFIB’s preferred option remains that government drop the 30% test altogether for small and medium-sized firms. The Federation will continue to lobby all parties for such a change. The changes will also not address the concerns of many who cannot afford to wait three to six weeks before receiving any support for their wage bills.”

CFIB is urging all parties to “quickly review and approve the legislation to ensure businesses can have confidence this much needed support measure will be in place as soon as possible.”

During his daily address, Trudeau said that while millions will receive the benefits, there will be people who don’t qualify.

“We’re not aiming for perfection, we’re trying to help as many people as quickly as possible,” said Trudeau.

On Monday, the prime minister said 240,000 had applied to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit within hours of the applications opening.

At the time, Trudeau had mentioned another plan was coming for those who don’t qualify for the program.

On April 1, the government released more details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which would apply at a rate of 75% of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week,  and the program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6.