Manitoba

Manitoba extends deadline for back-to-work wage subsidy to Dec. 31

The Manitoba government is extending the deadline of its back-to-work wage subsidy program to Dec. 31.

Summer students can also be rehired through the program, province says

"Manitobans like to work, they like to earn their way," Premier Brian Pallister says. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

The Manitoba government is extending the deadline of its back-to-work wage subsidy program to Dec. 31, 2020, Premier Brian Pallister announced Monday morning.

The program helps private businesses and non-profit organizations in Manitoba rehire employees who were laid off earlier in the pandemic.

Companies that qualify for the wage subsidy can receive up to $100,000 for 20 employees — up to $5,000 per employee — hired since July 16.

"With our back-to-work programs, many businesses … have been able to hire people back and get them back working, and that's great because Manitobans like to work, they like to earn their way," Pallister said at a news conference.

"[The deadline extension] is going to support seasonal businesses that like to add people around the Christmas shopping time. It's going to help businesses staff up for that holiday season in retail," he said, adding that start-ups can now also apply for the benefit.

Businesses can also rehire students who were hired through Manitoba's summer student recovery jobs program, the Canada Summer Jobs program or the Green Team program, which give municipal governments and non-profit organizations grants to hire people age 15 to 29 to work on community projects in the summer.

The Manitoba government expects an increase in applications for its back-to-work wage subsidy program after Monday's announcement, Pallister said. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

More than 800 employers have applied for the program since it was launched, the province said in a news release. Pallister expects more applications after Monday's announcement, he told reporters.

Pallister has said multiple times the back-to-work wage subsidy is meant to help businesses get their workers off of the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) program, which pays $2,000 for a four-week period to workers who were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We know that the best social program isn't a social program — it's a job," he said Monday.

In response to Monday's announcement, Official Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said more needs to be done for small businesses.

"The premier is continuing to tinker with a program that fails to help businesses with some of their greatest costs, like rent," Kinew said in a statement.

"We know why the Pallister Conservatives continue to market this program despite cries from small businesses to help with commercial rent — because it means they don't actually have to spend much money."

Applications for the back-to-work wage subsidy are now due on Dec. 1. Employers need to provide proof of payment of wages by Feb. 1, 2021, the province said.

About the Author

Nicholas Frew is an online reporter based in Winnipeg. Hailing from Newfoundland, Frew moved to Halifax to attend journalism school before moving to Winnipeg. Prior to joining CBC Manitoba, Frew interned at the Winnipeg Free Press. Story idea? Email at nick.frew@cbc.ca

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