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Liberals revamp rent relief for businesses hit by COVID-19, expand loan program

Last Updated Oct 9, 2020 at 3:54 pm MDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will provide direct help to businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to help them offset the cost of rent.

He said a revamped commercial rent-relief program will cover up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses for companies.

Trudeau added it will also cover up to 90 per cent for those subject to localized lockdowns.

The government also said that it will cover up to 65 per cent of eligible wages through its subsidy program, but only until the end of December.

It will expand a well-used loan program by providing an added $10,000 that could be forgivable.

Trudeau said even though many businesses have reopened, a number of them are not at full capacity while others are worried about surviving a second wave.

He said the government wants to help those companies hang on, and keep their workers employed.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the country added 378,000 jobs in September, bringing overall employment to within 720,000 of pre-pandemic levels.

The unemployment rate in Wood Buffalo is 11.4 per cent for September 2020, up from 6.2 in September 2019.

Wood Buffalo’s participation rate, which covers Canadians of working age actively looking for work, is 76.7 per cent.

Alberta’s average rate of unemployment is 12.3 per cent, and the participation rate is 69.7 per cent.

COVID-19 response

The province reported five new cases and four recovered cases of COVID-19 in Wood Buffalo in the last 24 hours.

All are inside the urban service area, which has 29 active cases, one death, and 264 recoveries of the illness.

There are three active cases and 64 resolved cases of COVID-19 outside the urban service area.

Across Alberta, there are 277 new cases in the last 24 hours, including 157 in the Edmonton Zone.

The positivity rate is 1.1 per cent after the province conducted 25,282 tests.

Health officials reduced the death toll by one fatality to 282.

Alberta has 2225 active cases, 282 deaths, and 17,488 recoveries of COVID-19.

86 Albertans are in hospital with 11 in intensive care.

This article includes excerpts from The Canadian Press.