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O’Toole and Trudeau both promise hiring incentives to get people back to work

Conservatives vow up to six months’ wage subsidy, tax breaks, better business loans. The Liberals would extend emergency hiring support, wage and rent subsidies

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Employers would get more help to rehire under either a Conservative or Liberal government, as both parties pledge new or extended hiring support if they are elected.

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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole released his party’s entire platform on Monday, giving a full picture of what the Tories would do in power. He is pledging a month-long GST holiday to help spur spending and grow the economy.

“Canada’s recovery plan will get Canada surging in the right direction. Canada’s recovery plan will ensure no Canadian is left behind,” he said. “We want to help Canadians. We want to help get all people back to work, in all sectors, in all regions.”

O’Toole is also promising a hiring incentive for employers, giving them at least 25 per cent and as much as 50 per cent of wages for six months, beginning in October when the current wage subsidy program ends.

“Our plan will secure those jobs, help them thrive, and that will help us get a growing economy,” he said.

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  1. From left to right: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference at Rideau Hall on Aug. 15, 2021 in Ottawa; NDP leader Jagmeet Singh delivering his concession speech at the NDP Election Night Party in Burnaby, B.C., on Oct. 21, 2019; and Conservative Leader Erin OToole delivering his winning speech following the Conservative party of Canada 2020 Leadership Election in Ottawa on Aug. 24, 2020.

    First full day of election campaigning kicks off with announcements from three party leaders

  2. Erin O'Toole and his Conservative party are vowing to upgrade Canada's innovation policies.

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The Conservative leader is also pledging a 15 per cent tax credit for travel within Canada next year and offering a boost to the government’s current business loan program. It is currently capped at $60,000, but O’Toole’s plan would see businesses able to borrow up to $200,000 interest-free.

Canada lost more than a million jobs over the course of the pandemic and the unemployment rate surged to over 13 per cent, but it has gradually shrunk. In July, the country added 94,000 new jobs, but there are still roughly 250,000 jobs that were lost in the pandemic that have not returned.

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Many small businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, have complained that the government’s Canada Recovery Benefit program is making it difficult to hire. People on the CRB program can currently get $600 every two weeks, down from $1,000 earlier in the program.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau pledged if re-elected he would extend his government’s Canada Recovery Hiring Program into next year to give employers more time to rehire.

The current program applies to employers who bring on new employees and currently covers 50 per cent of their wages, but it is set be gradually reduced to just 20 per cent of new employee wages in November, before being phased out.

Trudeau said Monday his party would extend the program until next March, keeping it at that 20 per cent subsidy rate.

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“A re-elected Liberal government will extend and introduce new emergency supports for businesses and workers to make sure we build back better for everyone. And that starts with good middle-class jobs,” he said.

Trudeau said he would give tourism businesses wage and rent subsidies of up to 75 per cent until next spring

Trudeau also pledged specific help for the tourism industry, giving businesses in that sector wage and rent subsidies of up to 75 per cent until next spring and a program that would compensate live arts venues for reduced capacity due to COVID.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also weighed in on wage supports, promising to seek to reclaim wage subsidies that went to companies who paid out stock dividends or increased executive compensation during the pandemic.

According to publicly available financial reports, many companies that received the wage subsidy to cover their employee costs also found money to issue dividends to investors and pay out lavish executive compensation.

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“We’re gonna make sure they reimburse that and reinvest into people.”

NDP MP Peter Julian didn’t have details, but said an NDP government would also want to introduce a program to help people get back to work.

“We have said that we want to put in place supports that create new positions, maintain existing positions, but ensure that there are no abuses with those programs,” he said.

Julian said the party would have more to say later in the campaign.

“This is day two, and there’ll be more information forthcoming over the course of the coming weeks,” he said.

He said Conservative and Liberal programs too often lead to supports that only benefit big corporations.

“I don’t think Canadians can trust either Conservatives or Liberals to do the right thing. Their history over the last couple of decades has been big business handouts,” he said.

Email: rtumilty@postmedia.com |Twitter:

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