Businesses can now apply online for Federal wage subsidy program: PM

 

Businesses are now able to apply for the federal wage subsidy program through the Canada Revenue Agency's website, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday (April 27).

At Trudeau's daily media briefing, he said as of 6 a.m. Monday, the portal was open for employers to apply for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) which, if eligible, will provide upto $847 per week per employee.

The hope is that it will allow companies to rehire workers who they may have had to lay off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau made clear, however, that CEWS and the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) cannot both be accessed at the same time.

"It's either one or the other," Trudeau said. "These are two different measures with the same goal: to support people through this crisis."

The aim with CEWS is to support people and businesses financially through the pandemic and give employees the assurance that they will have a job to return to once the threat of the pandemic passes.

With the ability to keep employees on the payroll through CEWS, it provides businesses the capacity to return to full operation more quickly, Trudeau explained.

The first CEWS payouts are expected by May 7.

Trudeau told reporters that since the portal opened early Monday morning, more than 10,000 businesses had already applied.

For those who still need to access CERB, they will have to go online to confirm their eligibility (ie: that they are still unemployed) for the next payout.

The prime minister said additional help is on the way for students and seniors who are feeling the impacts of the pandemic deeply but that details of those supports are still being worked out and more information will be available at a later date.

The return to 'normal' is top of mind across the country after Ontario and Quebec -- the two provinces hardest hit by the pandemic -- announced over the weekend that they would be revealing part of their plans and possible timelines to reopen their economies once the danger has passed.

"We're all anxious to return to a normal life but we have to do everything we can to keep everyone safe," Trudeau said.

"If we get this wrong, everything we have done, everything we have sacrificed will have been in vain."

He said the fear of a resurgence is very real and any approach the country and the provinces take will be done gradually and under the guidance of public health officials at every level.

"It will be a clear, coordinated effort," he said, noting that the ultimate responsibility of reopening falls to the provinces.

"There will be an essential set of principles and guidelines for provinces to follow," Trudeau clarified, including a target amount of available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a prescribed capacity to test for COVID-19.

There will also be specific guidelines for different types of businesses and industries when the time comes to bring provinces back online.

"Measures will be different from region to region, province to province," he said.

"I have full confidence in the premiers to move forward in a way that is right for them and their citizens."

Photo courtesy The Canadian Press

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