Many of you have called asking for information about the federal government support programs. There is more clarity on the Quebec programs as to process and application because most of the details, documents and websites are up and running. Prime Minister Trudeau has been cautioning all week, as he rolled out Ottawa’s proposals, that “details were still being finalized” and noted that most websites would be up and running by April 6th. Stress rose on Friday as Service Canada workers walked out of EI offices and new applicants — now totalling well over 1 million — were forced to go online and the site soon became overloaded. Only some one-third of EI claims have been processed as of last Friday.
Ottawa has two main web portals www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html and
Quebec’s is www.quebec.ca/coronavirus
Aside from Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement last Tuesday of the unprecedented $82 billion support package that included temporary wage subsidies of up to 10% for small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits, the big news came Friday. The 10% figure faced criticism that it was too small and that we should follow the examples of western European countries and even the U.S. and raise it.
On Friday the Prime Minister did just that and announced that the government was raising the temporary wage subsidy to 75% to the western European level. The subsidy will be retroactive to March 15.Full details are to be made available this coming Tuesday.
On Friday, Mr. Trudeau also announced the launch of the Canada Emergency Business Account. With this new measure, banks will soon offer $40,000 loans, which will be fully guaranteed by the government, to qualifying businesses. The loan will be interest free for the first year, and under certain conditions, $10,000 will be forgivable.
Ottawa will also provide an additional $12.5 billion through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank to help small and medium-sized businesses with their operational cash flow requirements. This means that businesses will be able to apply for a guaranteed loan when they go to their financial institutions to get help as they weather the impacts of COVID-19.