Canada's NDP


March 27th, 2020

Joint Letter with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Increasing Wage Subsidy

Dear Prime Minister,

As you well know, Canadian businesses are suffering, they are struggling to survive. Therefore,many workers are suffering too – hundreds of thousands of them are already laid-off and many more are worried about losing their jobs. In the coming weeks, millions of Canadians may be without work and countless businesses may close their doors across the country due to the public health measures intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Our skilled workforce is one of Canada’s proudest assets. Maintaining our workforce is critical o maintaining demand in our economy and supporting our communities.

Your current proposal to cover 10% of salaries and wages paid to workers up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer could be strengthened significantly to protect jobs without the delay of creating a new program for people who cannot wait. We need to increase that wage subsidy to least 75%.

By raising this subsidy, there is greater incentive to keep worker on payrolls to avoid layoff. As more workers remain actively employed, the transition back to normal as social distancing ends will be easier, will keep more employees on a regular pay cycle and ease the burden on the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit program. Further, this will allow more employees to keep their benefits, and will protect jobs.

What Canadian workers need is a firing freeze and it needs to happen right away, not after most employers have decided to lay off their staff. The government should encourage saving jobs, not layoffs. If we do nothing, more layoffs will come.

Denmark, the United Kingdom, France and many other countries have decided to encourage employment, alongside other supports for the unemployment. These nations took concrete steps to protect workers and to make their transition to post-crisis recovery smoother.

Business and union leaders have been clear; a 10% wage subsidy and the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit will not be enough to prevent layoffs. You can count on NDP collaboration to implement a wage subsidy of above 75%.

Workers need this measure to protect their jobs and employers need this measure to protect their businesses.

We look forward to hearing back from you on this matter.


Jagmeet Singh, MP

Burnaby South

Leader, Canada’s New Democrats

Gord Johns, MP


Dan Kelly

President, CEO and Chair

Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Ken Neumann

National Director for Canada

United Steelworkers

Jerry Dias

National President


Paul Meinema

National Director

UFCW Canada