Ottawa’s wage subsidy revisions are 'designed to get people back to work': Goldy Hyder
OTTAWA - Canada's official fiscal watchdog says the federal wage subsidy program might cost $14 billion less than the government predicted.
A new report today by Parliamentary Budget Office analyst Ben Segel-Brown estimates subsidizing wages for companies during the COVID-19 pandemic will cost $67.9 billion through the end of December.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau estimated in his July fiscal report it would cost $82.3 billion.
Segel-Brown says that figure was prudent at the time because of economic uncertainty and ongoing work to update the program's rules.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy encourages employers to keep their workers on the payroll even as work slows because of the pandemic by offering to cover as much as 75 per cent of wages.
The program was initially just for three months but it has since been extended and the amount of the subsidy now ranges from 10 per cent to 75 per cent depending on how much a company's revenues have dropped each month.