Trudeau emphasized nature on Monday during his daily briefing as one of 10,000 companies that requested the program to help them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“This Guelph charity would have been forced to fire all of its staff. But thanks to the wage subsidy, they can now keep their employees on the payroll and continue to teach children about nature, ”said Trudeau.
Focus on Nature helps children connect to the natural world through photography, hosting hundreds of workshops each year in southern Ontario.
Executive Director Simon Bell said from last month that they were forced to cancel all of their workshops, including spring break events at the Guelph Arboretum, and that their summer camps are still in limbo.
“I was ready to lay off and fire our staff because it did not seem worthwhile to be hired and we did not want to exhaust the few resources we had,” he said. “But the government announced the wage subsidy and we did some quick calculations and thought we could keep everyone on staff. “
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The wage subsidy covers 75 percent of employers’ wages, up to $ 875 per worker. Trudeau said money will start to flow on March 7.
Focus on Nature has only four full-time employees because they rely heavily on some part-time workers and volunteers who have already applied for the Canada Emergency Benefits Fund.
Bell said they were now able to create simple online lessons for teachers to be launched on May 1 and that they were running a nature photography challenge via Instagram with a digital camera as a prize.
During his speech, the Prime Minister also mentioned that he had received a letter from Focus on Nature last week. Bell said he had to write it down to show his appreciation for the government’s work.
“I just explained to her that it allows us to stay engaged with the teachers and keep the curriculum alive so that we are ready to continue working in the classroom when we come to a new normal,” he said.
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Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Bell told Global News that the response was overwhelming as his inbox filled with emails from people interested in the program.
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“Donations come from who knows where. I haven’t really checked yet, “he said.
“But this is the first time that our program has been lucky to be known from coast to coast and it is ultimately what we think our program will be, it is a national program. “
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