Trudeau announces more aid for business, prepares to host call with premiers on wage boost, reopening economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced more measures to help Canadian businesses get through the COVID-19 crisis, including expanded loan eligibility and assistance with commercial rent.

Trudeau announced the measures at his daily briefing at 11:15 a.m. ET. Watch it live on

The previously announced loan program, which offers businesses up to $40,000 in a government-backed loan, will now be available to businesses with payrolls worth between $20,000 and $1.5 million. Previously, the interest-free loan was for those with payrolls worth between $50,000 and one million.

Up to $10,000 of the loan is non-repayable.

Trudeau also announced a plan to help small businesses pay commercial rents for April, May and June. He said that plan will be worked out with the premiers, as rent issues fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Trudeau will hold a call with the premiers later today. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office says reopening the economy will be a topic of the discussion, which is set to get underway at 6 p.m. ET.

“The premier is interested in hearing what other provinces and the federal government are looking to do in terms of first steps, as well as ensuring support for the most heavily impacted sectors in Ontario,” said Ford’s spokesperson in an email.

Ford also will be seeking clarity on the proposed wage top-up for essential workers. The measure, which Trudeau announced yesterday, aims to boost the pay for people who make less than $2,500 a month working essential jobs, such as caring for elderly or vulnerable people.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said yesterday the details of the shared federal-provincial program would be worked out in collaboration with the premiers.

The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and procurement of other vital supplies will also be discussed during today’s call.

Trudeau also spoke G7 leaders today about global efforts to combat COVID-19.


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