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Government’s wage subsidy to bring relief to Canada’s mining companies

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World Coal,

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has recently announced that the government will be extending the wage subsidy to include businesses of all sizes. This is a critical component of a package of reforms designed to help businesses keep workers employed as the economy transitions through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the employer of 626 000 individuals across Canada, the newly announced wage subsidy will play a significant role in providing support to Canada’s mining industry.

“As is the case with many sectors, mining has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, with multiple companies reducing or suspending operations at mines, smelters and refineries across Canada, resulting in tens of thousands of lay-offs of direct and indirect employees,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC).

“The wage subsidy will help prevent further lay-offs, thus minimising both the scale and extent of disruption to both businesses, employees and contractors, and better position the mining sector to resume operations and support the many thousands of individuals who depend on it for employment.”

The recent announcement will see 75% of an employee’s salary up to CAN$58 700 temporarily subsidised by the government in an effort to prevent lay-offs, and the disruption to both businesses and employees associated with such actions. MAC has engaged and looks forward to further specifics of the programme, but welcomes the government’s recognition that there is a benefit to minimising the extent of business and worker disruption in a period of amplified uncertainty.

“MAC’s members have issued statements and updates on a near-constant basis focused on company-specific responses to COVID-19. Many have reduced their workforces and put, often voluntarily, mines on care and maintenance, a process that ensures sites are being managed effectively and are in safe and stable condition when production has ceased,” said Gratton. “The support being offered through this new programme will enable mining companies to retain their workforces in the face of significant economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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