Trudeau says nearly 10k businesses have applied for wage subsidy, reopening economy will be ‘scientific’ approach

Trudeau says nearly 10k businesses have applied for wage subsidy, reopening economy will be 'scientific' approach
Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press
Justin Trudeau has announced that nearly 10k businesses across Canada have already applied for the emergency wage subsidy on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that nearly 10,000 businesses across Canada have applied for the emergency wage subsidy within hours of the online portal opening Monday morning.

During his daily scheduled press conference, the prime minister said that businesses were able to start filing claims for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) at 3 am PT on April 27.

The wage subsidy is available to all businesses in Canada, no matter the size, who have experienced a 15 percent revenue decrease in the month of March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government will cover up to 75 percent of employee salaries on the first $58,700, which works out to $847 per employee per week. The payments will be for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.

Trudeau says the number of applications underscores the scope of the challenge companies are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, he also said it points to how many Canadians will be able to benefit from the program as well.

“Right across the country, it’s going to keep businesses and workers connected,” said Trudeau of the CEWS program. “That gives people certainty that they will have a job now, and in the months to come, to support themselves and their family and it means employers will not just have the help to stay afloat through the tough time, but they’ll be ready to gear back up when things get better.”

He also added that the first payments should start arriving by direct deposit on May 7.

In order to apply, businesses are directed to a portal on For those who want help calculating how much financial aid they are entitled to from the government, an online CEWS calculator was launched last week. Trudeau said during his press conference there had been over 300,000 views of the calculator resource tool.

Trudeau reminded Canadians during his address that you are not able to receive both the CEWS and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Anyone who may be already receiving the CERB and will now be getting a wage subsidy from their employer, they are being asked to not renew their response benefit moving forward.

In addition to an update on the wage subsidy program, Trudeau said that the federal government was working with the provinces and territories to start gradually reopening the economy.

“Different provinces and territories will be able to move at a different pace, but we need clear, coordinated efforts from coast to coast to coast and no matter where you live, you need to continue following the recommendations from public health officials that will keep everyone safe,” said Trudeau.

According to the prime minister, the federal government will be developing essential guidelines and principles with the provinces towards reopening efforts, however, it will remain the authority of each province to determine when it’s in their best interest to reopen.

Trudeau said these essential principles are things like having enough medical capacity to handle a potential surge or ensuring widespread and adequate testing is available.

Although the idea of reopening the economy will excite many Canadians, Trudeau emphasized it will be a slow, calculated process.

“If we get this wrong, everything we have done, everything we have sacrificed over the past many weeks could have been in vain,” said Trudeau.

“We need to make sure we do this very carefully based on absolutely the best scientific advice.”

Provincial economies started to shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of March.

More to come.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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