Highlights of the address:
- Small and Medium-sized businesses may qualify for a 75% wage subsidy
- Federal Government offering a new Canada Emergency Business Account loan
In his address to Canadians on Friday, March 27, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more help and financial aid for small and medium-sized businesses (SME) to keep employees during the coronavirus crisis, including a wage subsidy of 75% and guaranteed interest-free loans.
While it was previously announced that SMEs would be receiving a capped federal wage subsidy of 10%, today the Prime Minister promises a wage subsidy increase of up to 75% as he called the SMEs are the ‘backbone’ of the economy.
The newly increased wage subsidy is said to help encourage small businesses to continue to hire employees during this time while keeping these businesses running as they weather out the pandemic.
“It’s becoming clear that we need to do more – much more – so we’re bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses,” said the Prime Minister. “This means people will continue to be paid even though their employers have to slow down or stop their businesses.”
The Prime Minister said the wage subsidies will be backdated to March 15, 2020.
To further support these businesses the Prime Minister has also announced that the federal government will be offering a new Canada Emergency Business Account which will be providing loans of up to $40,000 to qualified SMEs, which will be interest-free for one year with up to $10,000 of the loans forgiven.
Trudeau also announced that GST and HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June, which amounts to about $30 billion in interest-free loans to businesses.
More information regarding what are the qualifications for this new Canada Emergency Business Account as well as how businesses can apply for the wage subsidy are expected to come in the following days.
Trudeau could not say precisely how long Canadians will have to stay home and practise physical distancing when asked, but he said actions taken now to flatten the curve of infections will help determine how long people will remain indoors.
“We know we’re talking about weeks and possibly months,” he said.
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