Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued a call to the Opposition to efficiently pass the emergency wage subsidy to get money flowing to businesses as soon as possible.
During his daily national address outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, the Prime Minister said that this isn’t the time to drag heels and action needs to be taken quickly in regards to passing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy bill.
There have been ongoing discussions about how the House of Commons can find virtual ways of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Trudeau pleaded for those discussions to take a backseat until the wage subsidy has been passed.
“It’s really important that Parliamentarians get together to make sure the work of getting the help to Canadians happens and happens quickly” said Trudeau during the press conference. “It’s not the time to further delay getting help to Canadians.”
Trudeau did acknowledge that it is important to uphold Canada’s democratic institutions and he said he is in support of finding effective methods for Parliament to operate during this pandemic, but feels the wage subsidy should be the immediate priority.
“Of course we want to continue to seek ways to work together and ensure that we can keep our strong democracy and our strong institutions working, we are very open to that,” said Trudeau. “But I think we’re in a time now where we should not be preventing the passage of important legislation just because you want to keep talking.”
The emergency subsidy will provide Canadian businesses with financial support by covering up to 75 percent of employee salaries during the COVID-19 crisis. Once passed, it will allow employers to keep workers on the payroll, offering them $847 per week.
Trudeau has recalled Parliament in an effort to get the bill passed swiftly, similar to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit passed last week, however, the Prime Minister feels that the Opposition is taking their time.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, on the other hand, said Thursday morning that his party isn’t deliberately holding up the new financial aid package, but said that constructive conversations are ongoing between the two sides in order to make amendments.
Scheer added that he felt there is still time for the bill to be improved as the Liberals work on the back-end details.
As for Trudeau, during his press conference he stressed that as much as family time would be nice over the long weekend, the wage subsidy is priority number one.
“We need to move forward on getting this legislation moving through the House so we can get the help out to Canadians and that is my focus this weekend,” said Trudeau.
Canadian businesses are eagerly awaiting the approval of the government as thousands of employers are depending on the financial aid to keep or rehire staff. WestJet announced late Wednesday that it was planning on rehiring nearly 6,400 employees once the legislation is approved.
Citizens of Canada will also be anticipating the wage subsidy as new data from Statistics Canada showed over one million people lost their jobs in the month of March.