Justin Trudeau says companies can get wage subsidies by documenting 15 percent decline in revenues in March

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      In his morning COVID-19 briefing to journalists, Canada's prime minister revealed that the government has refined the qualifications for organizations seeking wage subsidies.

      Justin Trudeau acknowledged that a previous directive—requiring a 30 percent monthly decline in revenue on a year-to-year basis—was not flexible enough for startups, nonprofits, and new businesses.

      So today, he said that companies can qualify if their revenues fell 15 percent in March. 

      They have an option to compare March revenue figures with those in January and February rather than having to contrast this with March 2019 revenues.

      In addition, Trudeau said that nonprofit organizations and registered charities have the option of including or excluding government revenues in their revenue comparisons.

      The wage subsidy will deliver up to $847 per week per employee, retroactive to March 15.

      Trudeau declared that he hopes organizations that obtain these public subsidies rehire laid-off workers.

      Tomorrow (April 9), Statistics Canada is expected to release the country's employment numbers for the first time since the pandemic was declared.

      "We're facing a unique challenge," Trudeau said.

      On April 7, Alberta premier Jason Kenney said that the unemployment rate in his province could reach 25 percent—a number not seen in Canada since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

      In the meantime, Trudeau also pledged that the government would provide subsidies of up to 100 percent for employers who hire students as part of the Canada Summer Jobs program.

      The prime minister said job placements under this program would be extended until winter and that businesses could hire students on a part-time basis.

      He noted that it's difficult for people of all ages to find work, but it's particularly hard for young people, who need work experience as well as income to cover living and educational costs.

      "I want to be clear: we will be doing more," Trudeau promised.

      He also took a couple of minutes to extend best wishes to the Jewish community on the first day of Passover. It's an eight-day festival commemorating the liberation of Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

      U.S.-made 95 masks shipped north

      Near the end of his session with reporters, Trudeau revealed that a half-million N95 masks arrived in Canada overnight from Minnesota-based 3M.

      "They will be distributed across the country where they're needed," the prime minister said.

      The shipment of masks came after the federal government persuaded the Trump administration to back away from a declaration that no N95 masks would be exported from the United States.

      When Trump initially made the statement, one of his Canadian allies, Ontario premier Doug Ford, declared that the decision was "unacceptable".

      Later today, there will be a federal cabinet meeting, which many ministers will attend by phone.

      Trudeau, however, will be attending in-person.

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