• Alex Powell

Feds to provide details on wage subsidy program

STAFF & WIRES

The Globe and Mail

PUBLISHED APRIL 21, 2020 UPDATED 33 MINUTES AGO


4:03 A.M. ET

FEDS TO ANNOUNCE MORE SUPPORT TO HELP VULNERABLE WEATHER COVID-19 PANDEMIC



The federal government is expected to unveil today more financial support for vulnerable Canadians struggling to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.


Poor, disabled, homeless and elderly people are among those who’ve been particularly hard hit by the health, social and economic ravages of the deadly virus as Canadians abide by orders to keep physical distance from one another and all but essential businesses are shut down.


Today’s measures are on top of previously announced moves to provide financial support to the homeless, women’s shelters, children’s counselling and local organizations that provide practical support to seniors, such as delivering groceries or medication.


The government is also expected to provide more details today about the timing and roll-out of the massive $73-billion wage subsidy program.


Among other things, the government is expected to provide details to businesses on how to apply for the subsidy.


Officials told the Commons finance committee last week that online applications are to open April 27 and they expect to have processed 90 per cent of claims by May 4, with payments starting to roll out later that week.


The subsidy is retroactive to March 15 and available to companies that lost 15 per cent of their revenue in March or 30 per cent in April or May. The federal government will pay eligible companies 75 per cent of the first $58,700 earned by each employee, up to $847 per week for up to 12 weeks.


The government is hoping the wage subsidy will prompt companies to rehire vast swaths of the millions of Canadian workers who have asked for emergency federal aid since the pandemic brought the global economy to a virtual standstill. -Canadian Press



12:07 A.M. ET
HOSPITALS JOIN FUNDRAISING EFFORTS TO CLOSE COVID-19 ‘GAPS’

Hospitals facing urgent COVID-19 needs are banding together to close funding “gaps” for their institutions and embattled health-care workers.


Dubbed “The Frontline Fund,” the national campaign seeks donations on behalf of more than 100 institutions across the country for supplies, staff support and research.

Organizers say the money would help hospitals source personal protective equipment and ventilators, fund drug trials and vaccine research, and provide mental-health support to exhausted staff. Ten per cent of funds will also go towards the northern territories and Indigenous health.


Steering committee member Caroline Riseboro, also CEO of Trillium Health Partners Foundation, says COVID-19 has raised unique needs that “wouldn’t necessarily be addressed through government funding.”


Examples of how the money could be spent include extra scrubs so caregivers can change their clothes before going home, or hotel rooms for frontline staff with immune-compromised relatives so they don’t have to fear bringing the virus home with them.

Organizers say $8.5 million has already been promised by lead corporate partners. That includes $5 million from the Canadian Medical Association Foundation, $2.5 million from Maple Leaf Foods and $1 million from TD Bank Group.


Riseboro says the goal is to raise $50 million. Canadians can donate at www.frontlinefund.ca.


“All of our hospitals in Canada are just facing an unprecedented crisis here,” says Riseboro.


“We know that there’s the desire out there by Canadians to help, but Canadians are unsure of who to support so we created this national initiative. It is historic in nature. Never have all of these hospitals across the country come together to fundraise in concert for what is probably one of the most significant health crises facing us in a generation.”


Money will stay within the province in which they’re donated and be allocated according to the number of beds at each institution. Each hospital foundation will decide how to spend the funds on their unique needs, says Riseboro.


“This initiative is really meant to close some gaps on the response to COVID, particularly when it comes to our frontline health-care workers,” Riseboro says.


The CMA Foundation says its $5-million contribution to the Frontline Fund is part of a broader $20-million commitment to the medical system.


It’s also setting up a $5-million fund to benefit community hospitals and giving another $5 million to a COVID-19 grant program by the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine.


Another $5 million will help medical students and residents with financial hardships, and $250,000 will go to Doctors without Borders’ COVID-19 crisis fund. -Canadian Press

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