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In light of one of the more threatening and deadly pandemics of all time, the Canadian government launched the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan on March 18th, 2020.

As non-essential services were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, many businesses temporarily, or permanently shut their doors and let their employees go.

Since Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, new programs have been accessed by Canadians struggling with illness, job loss, loss of revenue/business and more.

Here are some of those programs and updates on the results of these programs (as of May 2020):

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
    • CERB was launched to assist Canadians are out of work due to issues from the COVID-19 outbreak by providing financial assistance of $2,000 payments per month
    • Since its launch April 6th, 2020 – CERB has provided support to 7.7 million Canadians
  • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
    • CEBA was created to assist qualifying businesses with their immediate cash flow and payroll needs due to lack of revenue from COVID-19 by providing $40,000 loans that are interest-free for the first year, and $10,000 can be forgivable
    • Since its launch March 27th, 2020 – CEBA has allowed half a million businesses access to these loans
  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
    • CEWS was implemented to assist qualifying businesses keep their employees on the payroll, by covering 75% of an employee’s wages and extending a 100% refund on certain employer contributions
    • Since its launch April 27th, 2020 – CEWS has helped more than 2 million workers, 97,000 applications have been approved for businesses thus far and payments expected to be seen by businesses this week

Regardless of this assistance, Statistics Canada recorded an 13.0% unemployment rate in Canada for April 2020. This is almost double the 7.8% unemployment rate recorded for March 2020. This equates to almost 2 million Canadians who have lost their jobs, and millions more experiencing decreased hours/income.

Although these numbers are bleak, many provinces have begun to gradually lift restrictions and allow for some non-essential businesses to reopen and bring more employees back on the payroll. With these changes and more Canadians hopefully seeking out employment, the CEWS will be extended into the summer, the new deadline has yet to be finalized.

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