Week in Review: July 13 - 17, 2020

Monday July 13

Across the country, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is helping Canadians keep their businesses open and their teams together. The Prime Minister announced the extension of the Wage Subsidy through December 2020.

Minister Ng, on behalf of Minister McKenna announced an investment of $16 million to improve the public transit system in Barrie, Ontario – helping Canadians get to work quickly, run errands more easily, and access the essential services they need. This investment is part of the Investing In Canada Plan, Canada’s Long-Term Infrastructure project focused on building the cities of the 21st century. 

Wednesday July 15

Minister Ng joined Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify, for a virtual panel discussion at Canada’s largest start-up event – Startupfest.

During this event, Shopify announced the launch of their Go Digital Canada hub for businesses. In partnership with our government and businesses across the country, this central resource hub will give entrepreneurs across the country the tools and resources they need to digitize their businesses, at no cost – including live webinars, 24/7 support, online payment capacity, and access to the Shopify platform. This program will help small businesses adapt to a more digital economy and respect physical distancing guidelines.

Thursday July 16

The government announced the Safe Restart Agreement with the provinces and territories, that will invest over $19 billion to protect the health of Canadians, get people back to work safely, and prepare for a potential second wave.

This Safe Restart Agreement for the next six months includes investments in priority areas, including: 

    • Helping municipalities deliver key services;
    • Increasing testing and contract tracing;
    • Additional support for provincial and territorial healthcare systems, including challenges related to mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness;
    • Securing personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers and businesses;
    • Supporting the most vulnerable, including seniors in long-term care facilities and nursing homes;
    • Ensuring safe child care is available so parents can return to work;
    • Supporting people who do not have paid sick leave;

The Prime Minister also announced the extension of Canada-US border restrictions until August 21st.

Minister Ng toured Markham-based PCL Graphics, a business stepped up to fight COVID-19 by retooling to create supply face shields, barriers and floor signs. 

Friday July 17

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, announced proposed changes to the CEWS that would broaden the reach of the program, providing better-targeted support and enabling more workers to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts. With these changes, the CEWS would continue to protect jobs and help Canadian businesses that have been hardest-hit by COVID-19.

The proposal would:

  • Extend the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 percent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with revenue losses below 30 percent get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 percent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 percent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

These proposed changes follow consultations with business and labour representatives on potential adjustments to the CEWS program aimed at ensuring that it continues to protect jobs and promote growth.

By helping workers transition back to their jobs and supporting businesses as their revenues increase, these changes would ensure that employers have the certainty they need to hire back quickly as the economy improves – positioning them and their employees to succeed into the future.