Federal wage subsidy to businesses will be extended until December: Trudeau

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that the federal government is extending the emergency wage subsidy program until December of this year.The program covers 75 percent of wages, up to a weekly maximum of $ 847, for workers in eligible businesses and non-profit organizations affected by the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This week, we will announce an extension of the wage subsidy program until December, to provide more certainty and support to businesses as we restart the economy,” said Trudeau.

The wage subsidy program is the centerpiece of the government’s plan to get Canadians back to work after several months of tight economic activity – but the adoption of the program has not been as solid as the government had hoped.

As of July 6, the wage subsidy had paid $ 18.01 billion to 252,370 businesses.

The government’s budgetary and economic “snapshot” last week cut the budget for the wage subsidy program to $ 82.3 billion.

Trudeau did not say today how the government will reshape the program’s eligibility rules – rules that critics say hinder the receipt of aid.

The Liberals originally viewed the wage subsidy as a key tool to help cushion the economic blow from COVID-19 by helping workers stay connected to their employers while businesses remained closed due to the pandemic.

Instead, the amount of money spent on the program lagged behind the funds spent on the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which was designed to help people who had lost or almost lost their jobs. all their hours to deal with pandemic restrictions. The CERB benefit of $ 500 per week had, as of July 5, paid nearly $ 54.8 billion to 8.25 million people.

The budget for this program is now $ 80 billion, but it is scheduled to end in the fall.

Today, Trudeau also promised more details on federal financial support to the provinces as they try to restart their economy.

“We have also worked very hard, with the Deputy Prime Minister [Chrystia] Freeland and I are on the safe restart program with the provinces, and we will have an update on that later this week, “said Trudeau.

To date, the government has pledged $ 14 billion to help the provinces and territories reopen their economies. Premiers have complained that the money is not enough to meet their needs and that it is accompanied by too many chains.

Trudeau and Trump talk about trade and border closure

Trudeau said he spoke to President Donald Trump earlier this morning about the Canada-US border closure, the new NAFTA agreement, threats from Trump on aluminum tariffs and the Black movement Lives Matter.

An agreement to close the land border between the two countries to non-essential traffic is set to expire on July 21.

“We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States with respect to COVID-19,” said Trudeau. “Each month we have been able to extend border closings to all goods and services, except essentials, and these discussions are ongoing with the United States as we are one week from the next deadline for closures. ”

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the United States has exceeded 3.3 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The daily rate of new cases there continues to increase rapidly, although Canada appears to have largely controlled its outbreak.

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