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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Trudeau announces support for charities, non-profits; launch of wage subsidy calculator

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 @ 3:13 PM | By Ian Burns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the federal government is investing $350 million in a fund to help charities and non-profit organizations navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau, who revealed the initiative at his April 21 press briefing, said charities and non-profits do crucial work to help Canadian communities, but the pandemic has put tremendous pressure on them as they face the twin challenges of an increase in people needing assistance and a decrease in resources.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Today’s announcement will further help our most vulnerable Canadians and ensure organizations have what they need to help,” he said. “Canadians need to look out for one another in these difficult times. We will get through this together.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund will provide funding to national intermediaries with networks across the country, including United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Community Foundations of Canada. These partners will disburse funds to local community-based organizations working with vulnerable populations, including seniors, persons with disabilities, members of LGBTQ2 communities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth and members of Indigenous and racialized communities, such as Black Canadians.

The fund will support a variety of activities, such as increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications, providing transportation services like accompanying seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments and helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits. Charities and non-profit organizations are also able to apply for the 75 per cent wage subsidy the government announced March 27.

Families, Children and Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said, at the time when numerous Canadians are relying on charities and non-profits, they are facing challenges due to staffing shortages and a drop in donations, which has a direct effect on vulnerable people such as seniors, people with disabilities and racialized Canadians.

“Our message to Canada’s community organizations and charities is we will support you at a time when more and more Canadians are calling on you to provide more services for them, we will support you so that you can meet that request,” he said.

In response to a question on the mass shooting in Nova Scotia which has left at least 19 people dead, Trudeau said Ottawa has made strong commitments to move forward with gun control rapidly and noted the government was on the verge of introducing measures to restrict assault-style weapons before Parliament was suspended due to COVID-19.

“The tragedy in Nova Scotia simply reinforces and underlines how important it is for us to continue to move forward on strengthening gun control in this country and we will do that at the appropriate time, and take the time to make sure it is done the right way,” he said.

The government has also launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) calculator to help employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS, which will provide a 75 per cent wage subsidy of up to $847 per employee per week to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks. The calculator, which can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy webpage, includes detailed information and instructions about who can apply for the subsidy, how eligibility is assessed and how the subsidy is calculated.

“The health and wellness of Canadians is also that much better when people have the ability to pay their bills, pay rent and buy food for their families,” said Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos. “It is the government’s intention to keep as many Canadians working as possible, and the implementation of the wage subsidy is one of the measures in place to support this goal.”

Duclos said businesses will be able to apply for the CEWS on April 27, and it is expected 90 per cent of the applications will be processed by May 5, with direct deposits and cheques sent out soon after.

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