Feds to announce more support for most vulnerable during COVID-19 pandemic

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The federal government is expected to unveil today more financial support for vulnerable Canadians struggling to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poor, disabled, homeless and elderly people are among those who've been particularly hard hit by the health, social and economic ravages of the deadly virus as Canadians abide by orders to keep physical distance from one another and all but essential businesses are shut down.

Today's measures are on top of previously announced moves to provide financial support to the homeless, women's shelters, children's counseling, and local organizations that provide practical support to seniors, such as delivering groceries or medication.

The government is also expected to provide more details today about the timing and roll-out of the massive $73-billion wage subsidy program.

Among other things, the government is expected to provide details to businesses on how to apply for the subsidy.

Officials told the Commons finance committee last week that online applications are to open April 27 and they expect to have processed 90 per cent of claims by May 4, with payments starting to roll out later that week.

The subsidy is retroactive to March 15 and available to companies that lost 15 per cent of their revenue in March or 30 per cent in April or May. The federal government will pay eligible companies 75 per cent of the first $58,700 earned by each employee, up to $847 per week for up to 12 weeks.

The government is hoping the wage subsidy will prompt companies to rehire vast swaths of the millions of Canadian workers who have asked for emergency federal aid since the pandemic brought the global economy to a virtual standstill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020.

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