Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced updates to the current 75% wage subsidy program for businesses, including lower eligibility requirements for companies affected by COVID-19.

The federal government previously said that businesses would have to show a 30% drop in revenue – compared to this time last year – which may have proved difficult for some start-ups and new businesses.

Businesses will now only need to show a 15% decline for the month of March, and companies can now compare their lost revenue to what they made in January and February of 2020, as opposed to last year’s numbers.

Last month, Trudeau outlined the details of what this could look like for employees, and said specifically that the government will offer up to 75% of salaries on the first $58,700 – this will break down to $847 per week.

The government has also said there will be temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program. Employers who hire summer students can now apply for a subsidy of up to 100% to cover the cost of wages.

The program helps create up to 70,000 jobs for Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30.

The Prime Minister has also said that he will be attending this afternoon’s cabinet meeting in person, after spending the majority of the last month in self-isolation.

Since mid-March, more than four million Canadians have applied for financial assistance, and Trudeau has stated that the federal government will soon introduce new measures to make the benefits accessible for even more people, such as contract workers and students.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 1,467,224.

Over 85,000 people have died from the illness and 316,233 have made a full recovery.



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