Canada will provide an additional $68.2 billion in economic support through loans and tax deferrals to struggling Canadian businesses amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters on Friday
TORONTO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 28th March, 2020) Canada will provide an additional $68.2 billion in economic support through loans and tax deferrals to struggling Canadian businesses amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a number of measures to keep small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) afloat during the coronavirus-induced economic downturn, during his daily press briefing.
"Combined these announcements represent C$65 billion dollars [US$46.6 billion] in direct support and an additional C$30 billion dollars [US$21.5 billion]of deferred taxes, for a total of C$95 billion dollars [US68.2 billion] in additional support for the Canadian economy," Morneau said.
The Ministry of Finance confirmed the measures announced on Friday will complement the emergency stimulus legislation approved earlier this week.
Under the new provisions, qualifying businesses can apply to receive 75 percent wage subsidies - up from the originally announced 10 percent - for three months to keep employees on payroll while much of the economy is shut down.
In addition, under the newly announced Canada Emergency Business Account, SMEs will be able to take out interest-free loans that, if repaid by the end of 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of up 25 percent.
The Finance Minister also mentioned that the government is working on a government-backed credit program for SMEs in Canada's embattled energy sector that is now facing new pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on Friday, The Bank of Canada cut the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.25 percent in an effort to maintain liquidity level as individual and business entities cash out amid the economic turbulence. The Bank also announced that it will be buying back Canadian government bonds as an additional liquidity measure.
Nearly a million Canadians have applied for employment insurance in the past week as thousands of jobs continue to be slashed in the wake of the pandemic, according to media reports.