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Ottawa announces new measures for students and businesses affected by the coronavirus

REUTERS/Blair Gable

The federal government announced new measures to help students make money this summer during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as relaxed eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

“To help young people and small businesses affected by COVID-19, we’re making changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program for this year. We will now give CSJ employers a subsidy of up to 100% to cover the cost of hiring students,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference.

“We will also extend the timeframe for a 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 a student part time.”

The wage subsidy maxes out at the provincial or territorial minimum wage.

The federal government says employers can shift jobs to support essential services. Students can apply for work here. The program runs from May 11, 2020, and up to February 28, 2021.

Ottawa is earmarking $263 million in funding for the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2020. It’s expected to create 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years old.

To qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage subsidy when it was first announced, businesses had to show a revenue decline of 30 per cent in March compared to last year. Business groups criticized the requirements for being too strict. Today, that threshold has been lowered to 15 per cent and businesses can use January and February benchmarks to qualify.

“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,” said the Prime Minister.

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.”

The Prime Minister says Ottawa is working on measures to include Canadians who don’t qualify for the measures announced so far.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said small businesses can start applying for previously announced loans up to $40,000 tomorrow. Businesses can apply through banks and credit unions.

Morneau also says the federal government is also proposing a 100 per cent reimbursement of CPP, QPP, and EI as part of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which he says will now cost $73 billion instead of $71 billion.

He reminded businesses not take undo advantage of the subsidy and says violators could be fined 225 per cent of the money they receive and face up to 5 years in jail.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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