On Friday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed Canadians at Rideau Cottage and announced that the wage subsidy for employers to keep workers on the payroll will be increased.
The wage subsidy is now being increased from the previous 10% to 75% in the hopes that small and medium-sized businesses would be able to keep employees on the payroll.
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The subsidy will be retroactive to Sunday, March 15 and is part of a suite of small business measures being rolled out today.
Trudeau also announced the federal government is launching a special account for small businesses, offering interest-free loans and billions more in assistance on cash-flow, and Canadians will soon be able to deferral HST and GST payments until June.
As part of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, the government will provide loans of up to $40,000 to small and medium-sized businesses, which will be interest-free for one year.
Mayor John Tory thanked Trudeau for listening to the concerns of employers and to help make it possible for more Canadians to keep their jobs.
Thank you to Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau and the Government of Canada for listening to concerns of employers and helping to make it possible for more people to keep their jobs and keep paycheques. This will be a huge help to many in getting through this.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) March 27, 2020
This news comes on the same day the Bank of Canada announced it has slashed its key interest rates by half a percentage point in response to the outbreak.
Not only does this mark the third time the Bank has cut interest rates since the outbreak first began, but the cut brings the overnight target rate to its effective lower bound.
As of Friday morning, there are 4,043 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 39 people have died. Globally, there are nearly 550,000 confirmed cases, and nearly 25,000 people have died.