Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced updates to his previously released programs to help the country’s businesses and young people deal with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
At his daily press conference on Wednesday, Trudeau said his government’s goal was to deliver sweeping, robust programs that would help more people as quickly as possible, reports Xinhua news agency.
Since mid-March, more than 4 million Canadians have applied for financial assistance, but there were still many who have trouble making ends meet and did not qualify for the benefit programs created so far.
Facing criticism over benefit programs that exclude many businesses and individuals, he said some gaps in the programs need fine-tuning to include those who didn’t initially qualify.
Trudeau confirmed planned changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, including greater flexibility for employers to have access to the program.
He said his government consulted with various stakeholders before making the changes.
“We want to make these measures as effective and inclusive as we can. So we’re listening and making adjustments along the way.”
Business groups complained that the initial criteria for the wage subsidy, including the requirement that a business claiming the subsidy see its revenue decline by 30 per cent compared to the same month in the previous year, would exclude many businesses, including new, growing or seasonal companies.
Canadian businesses now will have to show a 15 per cent decline in revenues instead of a previously announced 30 per cent drop.
Trudeau also announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program aimed at helping young people get work.
The changes include a boost to the wage subsidy up to 100 per cent and an extension of the end date for employment to February 28, 2021 and the inclusion of part-time jobs.
Now employers who hire students can apply for a subsidy of up to 100 per cent to cover the cost, helping create up to 70,000 jobs for Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30.
As of Wednesday, a total of 19,179 cases of COVID-19 were identified in Canada, with 427 deaths, according to CTV.
There have been some positive indications that the COVID-19 spread was slowing in some parts of Canada such as British Columbia province.
However, with projections from provinces like Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta show that there will still be thousands of more COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.