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Province paying for call centre to notify businesses about federal subsidy and support programs

The Manitoba government has awarded a contract to provide businesses with information about federal support programs to Winnipeg-based call centre 24-7 Intouch, Premier Brian Pallister said at an April 13 news conference.
brian pallister file shot 2019
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

The Manitoba government has awarded a contract to provide businesses with information about federal support programs to Winnipeg-based call centre 24-7 Intouch, Premier Brian Pallister said at an April 13 news conference.

The company will help provide information about the federal government’s Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canadian Emergency Businesses Account programs to owners of small businesses, which number more than 60,000 in Manitoba.

The wage subsidy provides up to 75 per cent of employees’ wages to businesses, non-profits and charities that have lost more than 30 per cent of their revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the business account offers interest-free loans fo up to $40,000.

Pallister said last month’s job losses of 23,000 in Manitoba, 95 per cent of them in the private sector, were the worst in modern history. As bad as that was, the premier said, it was the least significant job loss in Canada, but that may just be because Manitoba is earlier in its pandemic than some other provinces. 

“There are thousands of these entities that need to be notified and assisted whenever possible,” said the premier, who expect that the economic picture will not immediately improve. “The labour numbers will get worse in the coming month, not better. These programs will be a significant part of how we get ready to rebound [economically.]”