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Wage subsidy increase “a lifeline” for small business owners

The small business wage subsidy for COVID-19 impacts will increase to 75 per cent
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On Friday the Trudeau government announced that the small business wage subsidy, previously set at 10 per cent, would increase to 75 per cent.

The Prime Minister said it would be retroactive to March 15. Across the country, business owners rejoiced.

“On Friday I spoke to dozens of business owners who said, they were set to go ahead with their layoffs and they had put the brakes on them pending this announcement, so that is good news,” says  Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Kelly tells NEWS 95.7’s The Todd Veinotte Show that he hopes the details of the announcement come out soon.

“We don’t have any details so we don’t know how far this goes, but on the surface it looks really good,” he says.

For small businesses, Kelly says their number one expense is wages. He hopes because the funding is retroactive, it will convince some business owners to hire back staff they already laid off.

“More and more businesses have had to shut their doors 100 per cent. So they have no income yet all of the bills,” Kelly says.

Kelly also says the $40,000 loan amount announced for small businesses will also help those that have retained employees during shut-down.

“There are tens of thousands of businesses that have hung on to people, paid workers even though they have no business income,” he explains. “They’re taking out loans to do it, they’re paying out of the business owners pocket or whatever money the company might have in reserves.”

The government has yet to release many details, and Kelly says that the future specifics of the funding could change things.

“We have to be careful about how this is going to be executed, but the principle sounds good,” he says.

But for now, Kelly says the announcement is a positive for both small businesses and their employees.

“This will be a lifeline to them to say ‘Okay, I can hang on to my employees for another week and give them the confidence that they’ll have a job to come back to,’” says Kelly.

Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

Victoria is's weekend editor and a Halifax-based freelancer. She is originally from Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
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