Businesses can begin applying for emergency COVID-19 wage subsidy program today

Some key developments are coming this week in the country’s relentless struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

They begin today with businesses being allowed to apply for the federal government’s $73 billion wage subsidy program.

Companies that qualify will get a subsidy worth 75 per cent of each employee’s wages, up to $847 per week, retroactive from March 15 to June 6. And for those organizations that can, the government is asking employers to fill in the remaining quarter.

READ MORE: Live updates: Coronavirus in Canada

First payments are expected to arrive by the end of next week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be talking about that, as well as some other coming initiatives, today at his daily coronavirus briefing.

Later this week, Quebec and Ontario, which account for the vast majority of Canada’s COVID-19 cases, are expected to unveil frameworks for reopening their locked down economies.

Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have already announced tentative timelines for a return to some semblance of normality.

Despite evidence of some flattening COVID-19 curves, both politicians and public health officials are stressing the need for a cautious, go slow approach to guard against a surge of second wave infections.

2:34Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says no plans to reopen ‘hinge’ on people being immune to COVID-19

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says no plans to reopen ‘hinge’ on people being immune to COVID-19

Trudeau has also said that none of the recovery plans hinge on people being immune to catching COVID-19 twice.

Yesterday the country reported more than 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 and at least 95 additional deaths.

The national toll to date stands at 46,895 confirmed cases, including 2,560 deaths and 17,334 cases resolved.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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