Finance Minister Announces Details of Proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

On Friday, March 27, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled new relief measures for small business owners, including loan guarantees and significantly higher wage subsidies to help them cope with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The package increases the wage subsidy included in the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which received royal assent on March 25, from 10 per cent to 75 per cent.

On Monday, March 30, the Prime Minister said the 75-per-cent wage subsidy will be available to large and small companies as well as charities and non-profit organizations to keep employees on the payroll and weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Any business or organization that has suffered a 30-per-cent drop in revenue as a result of the coronavirus will be eligible for the subsidy.
 
On Wednesday, April 1, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains, announced the details of the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
 
On Wednesday, April 1, the Prime Minister announced that Parliament will be recalled again to consider passing further COVID-19 relief measures, including the expanded wage subsidy. Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez is negotiating Parliament’s return with opposition parties, but it’s expected that at least some MPs and Senators will be back in Ottawa the week of April 6.