Wage subsidy program extended

The federal government’s emergency Covid-19 wage subsidy program has been extended to end of August

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S wage-subsidy program will be extended to the end of August to help employers keep their workers on the payroll during the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.

The wage subsidy — designed to cover up to $847 per week — was originally designed to subsidize business labour costs from mid-March until the first week of June. While extending the program for another three months on Friday, the government also signalled it is willing to change the requirement that businesses had to show their revenues dropped by 30 per cent to receive the subsidy.

Trudeau said that requirement could create a perverse incentive for businesses to “hold back on their growth” so they can qualify for the subsidy.

“As the economy reopens, there is a danger of unintended consequences,” Trudeau said. “We wouldn’t want people… to feel like they have to hold back on their growth, on their expansion, on their rehiring in order to be able to continue benefiting from the wage subsidy.”

The subsidy will now also be available to businesses and organizations with employees that didn’t qualify before. That includes registered athletic and journalism organizations, private colleges and institutions like art and driving schools, and corporations owned by tax-exempt corporations owned by Indigenous governments, the finance department said in a press release.

In a statement Friday, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said it is “very pleased” the subsidy was extended, citing potential “major relief” for tourism and other sectors hit hard by the pandemic lock down.

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