Canadian parliament has passed a massive COVID-19 relief bill, deemed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the country’s most significant economic program since the World War II.
On Saturday, members of both the House of Commons and Senate, from all political parties, agreed to support the government’s $52 billion wage-subsidy program that will cover 75 per cent of earnings up to about $42,000, retroactive to March 15 and up to June 6, according to the media report.
To qualify, employers will have to demonstrate that they expect at least a 15 per cent revenue drop in their revenue from March, or a 30 per cent decrease in April and May compared to the same period last year.
The relief package is intended to encourage businesses not to lay off their employees.
On Wednesday, Trudeau announced updates to his previously released programs to help the country’s businesses and young people deal with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Since mid-March, more than 4 million Canadians have applied for financial assistance, but there were still many who have trouble making ends meet and did not qualify for the benefit programs created so far.
“The front line is everywhere,” Trudeau said, referring to the country’s battle against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic when attending the session.
Last week, Trudeau has recalled Parliament for an expanded emergency aid as the country was facing the greatest economic and health challenge since the Second World War due to the deadly virus.
The benefit will provide C$2,000 ($1,417) a month for four months for those eligible.
Trudeau called the aid package of C$107 billion ($75 billion) to help the unemployed, protect jobs of workers in shuttered businesses and loans and liquidity measures for business as the “biggest economic measures in our lifetime to defeat a threat to our health”.
The country has reported 23,318 COVID-19 cases, of which Out of them, 12,292 were in the French-speaking province of Quebec.
A total of 653 deaths have been reported in Canada so far.