Canada’s unions welcome quick passage of wage subsidy bill

April 11, 2020

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions welcome today’s quick passage of the federal government’s bill to legislate wage subsidies.

With unanimous consent of all parties, Bill C-14: A second Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 passed during a special sitting at the House of Commons. The bill will now pass the Senate and receive Royal Assent by the end of the day.

The wage subsidy aims to make it easier for employers to retain staff during the COVID-19 crisis. Not only will it ease the financial strain on employers, it aims to help expedite the eventual economic recovery.

“Parliamentarians are clearly sensing the need to act decisively to protect jobs and to help keep Canadian households afloat,” said Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Hassan Yussuff. “This bill ensures that workers will continue to receive wages and also have access to workplace benefits in the short term.”

This subsidy will be made available to eligible companies, non-profits and charities, providing a benefit of up to $847 per week or 75 per cent of the employee’s prior weekly paycheque, whichever is less. The CLC is urging the government to enforce the expectation that employers make every effort to top up wages so that workers receive 100% of their pre-crisis pay.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will also provide employers with a refund for certain contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

The CLC has been urging employers who have laid off workers to quickly reinstate them using this subsidy. Air Canada, for instance, is already working to rehire 16,500 employees.

“The next step is stronger support for essential workers, part-time employees and gig workers, so no one falls through the cracks,” said Yussuff.

For more information:
CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426

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