Trudeau alters wage subsidy rules for businesses, Conservatives looking for more help

by Morinville News Staff

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday morning that Canadian businesses can now use January and February books to show the 30% revenue loss to qualify for the federal government’s 75% wage subsidy. Additionally, companies will only need to show a 15% decline in March due to the impact taking effect at about the mid-month point.

The government’s wage subsidy would cover 75% of salaries up to $847 per employee per week for businesses whose revenue has dropped 30% or more.

Conservative Shadow Minister for Small Business and Export Promotion James Cumming and Conservative Shadow Minister for Finance Pierre Poilievre sent a release to media Wednesday morning proposing more.

The two Conservative MPs are concerned that employers will need to wait as long as six weeks to even apply for the wage subsidy and then will face a further delay before they get the cash.

“Without an immediate life raft, thousands of small businesses employing millions of workers will drown,” said Shadow Minister for Finance Pierre Poilievre. “The millions of jobless people will fall deep into poverty, and it may be years for the jobs to return. Time is running out. Waiting months more for solutions is not an option. The government must deliver to these businesses now,”

Conservatives are calling on the government to give small businesses back the GST they remitted to the government in the last year so that they have the cash to pay their employees until the wage subsidy arrives.

They are also calling on the government to set up the Canada Emergency Business Accounts immediately so that small businesses have access to up to $40,000 in interest-free loans.

Despite Trudeau adding January and February revenues to the 30% test, the Conservatives want the government to allow businesses to demonstrate their 30% revenue loss using other metrics such as loss of earnings, subscriptions, and orders.

They are also asking the federal government to temporarily allow owner-operators to become wage-earning employees instead of dividend recipients so that they qualify for the wage subsidy.

Shadow Minister for Small Business and Export Promotion James Cumming said in the past few weeks, he has heard from many small business owners scared and anxious about their livelihoods.

“The announcements made by the federal government come a little too late, without details, and then promised help is weeks away,” Cumming said. “Entrepreneurs do not have that kind of time. The solutions we are proposing are immediate, necessary, and will save many businesses from closing their doors forever.”

More information on the Wage Subsidy Program can be found at

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