Support for businesses and students affected by COVID-19
Happy International Day of Pink!
Today, we wear pink to stand up to bullying and support those facing discrimination.
If you feel alone, if you’re anxious or scared, know that we’re here with you today and every day.
Now, I want to begin this morning by addressing Canada’s Jewish community.
Tonight, at sundown, marks the beginning of Passover.
Usually, this is a time for family and friends to gather around the Seder table, but tonight will truly not be like all other nights.
I know staying in tonight and not gathering extended family will be hard, but it’s the best way to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.
I hope you still find a way to connect with family and friends, whether it be on the phone or through video chat.
To all those celebrating Passover – Chag Pesach Sameach.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve all had to make changes because of this pandemic.
Staying indoors as much as possible and not seeing friends and family is a big adjustment for everyone, but it’s especially hard for some people.
If you’ve lost your job, if you work in an industry that’s been hit hard by this virus – you’re worried about your family and your future.
What makes this situation so difficult is how quickly it all happened.
Through no fault of your own, your whole world has been turned upside down in a matter of weeks and that can create even more uncertainty and even more anxiety.
So, we’ve brought in a whole range of new measures to help families and workers, seniors and business owners get through this.
We’ve put in place a three-point economic plan. It supports business owners, including through new loans, while helping those who no longer have a paycheque through the CERB and protecting jobs with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
I know many of you are anxious to see this subsidy delivered. We’re calling on the opposition to join us in bringing the House back to pass legislation so you can get the support you need as soon as possible.
Cabinet will be meeting this afternoon.
As usual, most Cabinet members will be on the phone and I will be attending this one in person to discuss next steps.
Since announcing the wage subsidy, we’ve held a lot of conversations with businesspeople, unions, and workers.
I want to thank all of them for sharing their advice and points of view.
These conversations have helped us to adapt what we announced so we can include more businesses and help more people.
And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
We had said that businesses had to demonstrate that their revenue had dropped by 30% this month compared with last year in order to receive the subsidy.
We realized that this could be a problem for non-profit organizations, fast-growing companies like start‑ups, and new businesses, so we are going to relax these conditions.
First, businesses will have to show a 15% drop in revenue for the month of March, rather than 30%, to account for the fact that, in general, the pandemic started affecting them in mid-March.
If they so choose, businesses will also be able to use January and February as their reference points to demonstrate their lost revenue.
As for non-profit organizations and charities, we understand that you face different realities in terms of funding.
That is why you will be able to choose whether to include or exclude government funding in your lost revenue calculations.
If your business has been affected by COVID-19, the government will give you up to $847 a week per employee.
And, as we announced, this subsidy will be retroactive to March 15.
Since we announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, we’ve had a number of conversations with stakeholders and workers, who’ve provided us with valuable feedback and helped us refine what we’d put forward.
I want to thank them for their input.
We want to make these emergency measures as effective and inclusive as we can, so we’re listening and making adjustments along the way.
We previously announced that, to qualify for the subsidy, businesses would have to show a 30% drop in revenues when comparing the month this year to the month the previous year.
We recognize that this could be an issue for non-profits, fast-growing companies like start-ups, and new businesses, so we’re going to put in place more flexible rules.
Companies will now have the option of using January and February of this year as reference points to show a 30% loss.
And businesses will only need to show a 15% decline in revenue for March instead of 30% because most of us only felt the impact of COVID-19 about halfway through the month.
We understand that charities and non-profits are experiencing different types of pressures when it comes to funding.
For this reason, they will have the choice to include or exclude government funding when calculating loss in revenue.
If your company or organization has been impacted by COVID-19, the government will give you up to $847 a week per employee.
And as we’ve said before, this subsidy will be retroactive to March 15.
Our government understands that not all businesses operate the same way and that’s why we’re making changes to include as many of you as possible.
We will keep listening, but we really hope you will use this help from your country and from your fellow citizens to rehire and pay your workers.
If our economy is to get through this, we need businesses to survive and workers to get paid.
Job numbers for March will be out tomorrow and it’s going to be a hard day for the country.
We’re facing a unique challenge, but I know that if we pull together, our economy will come roaring back after this crisis.
Over the past few weeks, we have put unprecedented measures in place, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, to help workers, families, and businesses.
That said, some people are not eligible for the subsidies we are putting in place.
Others need more support.
I am thinking, for example, of freelancers, of home-care professionals, and of those who have been cut down to 10 hours of work a week or less.
We are working to find solutions and we will help you.
Our seniors are also having a difficult time these days because they are especially vulnerable to COVID‑19.
At the same time, they are worried about how the economic downturn will affect their savings and about additional expenses because of this crisis.
We will therefore have additional measures soon to help our most vulnerable seniors.
As for students and young people who are about to enter the labour market, we will have several measures to help you, but this morning, we are starting with a first step.
To help young people and small businesses affected by COVID-19, we’re making changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program this year.
We will now give CSJ employers a subsidy of up to 100% to cover the costs of hiring students.
We will also extend the timeframe for job placement until the winter because we know that some jobs will start later than usual.
And because many businesses have had to scale back their operations, they will be able to hire students part-time.
Our government is also encouraging all employers who have been impacted by COVID-19 to make adjustments so work can continue.
For example, if you run a local food bank, you may be doing deliveries instead of serving people on-site, so you could hire students to help you.
We will also be asking MPs across the country to reach out to businesses and organizations providing critical services in their communities to look at how students can help during this critical time.
In this economic climate, it’s hard for people of all ages to find work, but young people are especially vulnerable.
They’re new to the workforce, so they don’t have a lot of money set aside for this kind of situation.
At the same time, they need work experience to secure their next job and money to cover their living expenses and help with tuition for the rest of year.
Today, we’re taking a step in the right direction to help young people find work during this difficult time, but I want to be clear we will be doing more. Just like we will do more for those who need help but are not eligible to receive the benefits we’ve announced so far.
We’re also working around the clock to ensure that our frontline workers have everything they need to save lives and stay safe.
Overnight, we received a half a million N95 masks from 3M and they’ll be distributed across the country where they are most needed.
I know the past weeks haven’t been easy, but we’re going to get through this together, if everyone keeps following the instructions from public health experts.
So please, stay home as much as possible.
Only go out for essential things like groceries and medications and try to make that trip once a week or less.
And when you do, remember to keep 2 metres from those around you.
That’s the best way to stay healthy and protect our frontline workers who are doing so much to help all of us.
Once again, thank you for joining us this morning.