Federal government to cover up to 75 per cent of small business salaries

A new small business payroll subsidy from the federal government aims to keep people employed during the pandemic.

“Last week, we had announced that we would cover up to 10 per cent of wages, but it’s becoming clear that we need to do more – much more – so we’re bringing up that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses,” said Prime Minster Justin Trudeau at a press conference March 27.

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“This means that people will continue to be paid even though their employer has had to slow down or stop its operations because of COVID-19.”

The Prime Minster said more details were to come, but the subsidy would be backdated to March 15.

“[The] 75 per cent wage subsidy is exactly what the doctor ordered, and what business groups have been asking for,” said the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Twitter. “Very good news for small businesses and their workers, increasing their ability to keep staff on the payroll.”

That was one of a few measures Trudeau announced to support small businesses.

A new Canada Emergency Business Account program will see bank offer loans of up to $40,000 that will be guaranteed by the government. The interest will be free for the first year. Under certain conditions, $10,000 of that will be forgivable.

An additional $12.5 billion via Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank aims to help to help small and medium sized businesses with their operational cash flow requirements.

GST and HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June. Trudeau said that measure is like giving businesses $30 billion in interest-free loans.

“We recognize there’s still a little bit more design work to be done on this and we will have more on all of the details, hopefully by Monday, so people can make those decisions to keep people on the payroll and even to rehire people back on the payroll,” the Prime Minister said.

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