Increased Federal Wage Subsidy Must Help All Workers: Steelworkers

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The federal governments announcement of an increase to employee wage subsidies to 75% must be broadly available to all employers to keep workers on payrolls and avoid massive layoffs, the United Steelworkers (USW) union says.

We appreciate that the government has heeded our unions pleas and those of businesses across the country to increase the federal employee wage subsidy to a meaningful level, said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

The governments initial plan for a 10% wage subsidy was grossly inadequate and would not have helped most workers or kept businesses afloat, Neumann said.

While we welcome the governments announcement that the wage subsidy will be increased to 75%, there are pressing concerns that must be addressed immediately, particularly who will be eligible for the subsidy, he added.

In making the announcement this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not provide details regarding which qualifying businesses will be eligible to receive the wage subsidy.

This subsidy must be available to all employers and workers who need it. Restricting the subsidy will result in massive job losses across the country and will exacerbate this crisis, Neumann said.

The subsidy must be broadly applied in order to provide desperately needed support to hundreds of thousands of companies and help protect the jobs of millions of Canadians, he added.

Canada must follow the lead of European countries that are making wage subsidies as high as 80% and 90% available to as many companies as need the help, Neumann said.

Keeping workers employed and supporting those who are laid off or unable to work because they are sick or caretaking is the key to averting a total collapse of our economy. We will continue to urge the government to take all possible measures to directly help Canadian workers and families during this crisis.

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951

Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 415-434-2221, [email protected]