Ottawa, April 28 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that nearly 10,000 businesses have applied for his government’s wage-subsidy program of C$73 billion ($52 billion) to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Applications opened early Monday morning and the subsidy was available for three months, retroactive to March 15, reports Xinhua news agency.
“That gives you a sense of just how many people this program will help. Right across the country, it’s going to keep businesses and workers connected, and that gives people certainty that they will have a job now, and in the months to come, to support themselves and their family,” Trudeau said at his daily press conference here on Monday.
The program covers 75 per cent of the first C$58,700 of an employee’s wage.
Trudeau has expanded the scope of, and eligibility for the program since first promising it last month.
It was passed at the Canadian parliament on April 11.
Businesses of all sizes, along with charities and non-profits, are eligible if they have experienced a drop in revenue of at least 30 per cent.
Hundreds of thousands of applications will be made for businesses to keep employees on staff as they await the reopening of the economy.
Trudeau emphasized that for Canadians whose employers cannot continue hiring them or if they are unable to find a job due to the ongoing pandemic, they can access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which offers workers C$2,000 every four weeks. But people can not get both.
He also said that talks continue with opposition parties about advancing legislation to pass the new measures promised to students.
Parliament will have its first virtual sitting on Tuesday, and then the first weekly in-person meeting of a reduced number of MPs on Wednesday.
Trudeau noted that it is a long way off if Canadians want life to get back to the way it was exactly before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There will be differences, even a few years from now, that we will have learned from dealing with this global pandemic that I think will be important lessons,” he added.
There were 48,230 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada and 2,701 deaths.