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Caroline Wawzonek sm

Northwest Territories extends wage top-up program to Oct. 1

Friday, July 31, 2020 @ 9:32 AM | By John Schofield

The Northwest Territories is extending its wage top-up program for an additional eight weeks to match the federal government’s extension of the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) to Oct. 3, 2020.

Launched in May, the program requires businesses to apply for temporary funding to increase the wages of employees aged 15 and over to $18 per hour, retroactive to April 1, 2020, according to a July 28 government news release.

“I am pleased with the uptake for this program, but would like to see even more NWT employers apply to take advantage of this program,” Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek said in the release. “This extended program is intended to reduce the financial stress of employees who have continued to work since the pandemic began.”

N.W.T. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek

Under the program, businesses will receive $50 per employee from the government of the Northwest Territories to cover the administrative costs of adjusting their employees’ wages for the taxable top-up.

Businesses are asked to send eligible employee hours and wages in a spreadsheet to the e-mail address

As of July 21, 2020, the release notes, 50 businesses are participating and 933 workers have received wage top-ups averaging $237 per month. The total program cost to date is $422,245, consisting of employee wage top-ups, reimbursements for business expenses of employer EI and CPP portions relating to the top-up, and the one-time $50 per employee compensation amount.

Employees who work for businesses that do not apply for the program will be provided the wage top up when they submit their pay stubs at the end of the program.

The program was made possible through a federal government contribution of $4.74 million.

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