Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that the federal 75% wage subsidy program will be extended for three months until the end of August. The federal government is also expanding eligibility for the financial assistance program and committing $ 450 million in temporary salary assistance for medical researchers whose work is not related to COVID-19 but has been affected by the pandemic.
A week ago, shortly after the latest national employment figures showed that Canada had suffered record job losses for two consecutive months, Trudeau said that the subsidy program would be extended after 6 June, but no further details were provided.
Now Trudeau says that with many places looking to reopen, they must be able to bring in workers or hire additional staff to adapt to the changed reality COVID-19 and preventative public health measures.
He said Finance Minister Bill Morneau would have more to say about the upcoming extensions to the eligibility criteria. Trudeau also said that the 30% cut in revenue cut is one of the things the government is reconsidering.
The grant covers the first $ 58,700 of an employee’s salary, which represents up to $ 847 per week per employee and, as and when implemented, was to be in effect for 12 weeks, with retroactive to March 15, for businesses and charities.
The subsidy was implemented to encourage employers to keep staff on the payroll or to bring back those who were laid off because the company could not afford to keep them during the closure. Originally planned to cost $ 73 billion, it was considered the largest economic program in Canadian history.
Since last week, 1.7 million workers have had their wages subsidized.
The federal government has indicated that there is hope, with more companies using the wage subsidy, many millions of Canadians receiving Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit would withdraw from this program. $ 2,000 a month and would go back to work.
$ 450 MILLION FOR A NON-COVID-19 RESEARCH SALARY SUBSIDY
And in an effort to avoid further layoffs, the Prime Minister announced $ 450 million to help researchers and research institutes that have seen their labs shut down or face layoffs because donations and other funds have been diverted to COVID-19 fight.
This money will go to universities and affiliated research institutes affected by the pandemic, to provide temporary wage support through federal granting agencies, said Trudeau.
Some 15,000 health researchers and laboratory technicians in hospitals and medical institutes across the country who have seen their work interrupted because it is not related to COVID-19, and face financial pressures while the country prioritizes the pandemic.
Asked about the plight of the researchers earlier this week, Trudeau said he would look into the matter and make sure that “scientists are getting the support they need.”