The province is partnering with Manitoba-based 24-7 Intouch to help local businesses and non-profits connect with federal government programs, including the 75 per cent wage subsidy program and the Canada Emergency Business Account Program, which offers interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses.
A call centre will be run by 24-7 Intouch to help guide businesses through finding where they need to go for help. Strict privacy protocols will be in place, and there will be bilingual services.
“[Small and medium-sized businesses] are the backbone of our economy, and this government is thinking of them every day,” said Pallister at a Monday news conference.
“It is crucial that we help our small business community, our non-profits, our charitable organizations to get the government supports and the resources that they need to weather this storm as soon as possible.”
Although all businesses are taking a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have to meet a certain minimum in order to be eligible for federal supports.
To receive the wage subsidy, for example, a privately-owned business or non-profit had to have seen a drop in revenue of at least 15 per cent in March 2020, then a drop of 30 per cent in April and May.
That subsidy is available to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks in order to avoid layoffs, or to re-hire workers who have been laid off, according to the federal government.
No new cases of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 were identified in Manitoba on Sunday, but the province considers one of its probable cases to be a false positive.
That brings Manitoba’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 242.
The number of active cases is 142: eight people are in hospital — including four in critical care —and four people have died, but 96 have recovered.
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