Trudeau announces agreements to boost wages for essential workers

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday announced that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers.

The federal government will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.

These measures are part of the government’s comprehensive economic plan to help Canadians and businesses through this period of uncertainty. The government will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely, and take additional actions as needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians and stabilize the economy.

Trudeau said: “Workers are risking their health to provide us with essential care and services, and we need to make sure that they are paid properly for the work they do every day. We’re stepping up, and working with the provinces and territories, to give a much-needed wage boost to Canadians who are helping keep our country and economy strong during this difficult time.”

Finance Minister Bill Morneau added: “Canada’s front line workers are dealing directly with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by taking care of Canadians in our hospitals and nursing homes. They deserve our support. This measure will help workers critical to the current COVID-19 response get the compensation they need.”

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has announced targeted new initiatives to support Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:
    • Introducing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. The government also extended the eligibility of this benefit to individuals who earn up to $1,000 per month, as well as workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
    • Providing families who receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) an extra $300 per child for the month of May.
    • Providing a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families. The average additional benefit is close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples.
    • Providing approximately $9 billion towards various measures, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, to support post-secondary students and recent graduates who are unable to secure employment in order to help them overcome the challenges brought on by the pandemic.
    • Extending the maximum duration of the Work-Sharing program, from 38 weeks to 76 weeks, for workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers.
    • Allowing all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, and before September 2020.