Federal NDP unveils election-style promises to support small businesses in pandemic

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OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh is promising that a federal NDP government would provide more support for small businesses struggling during the pandemic, including paying a bonus to companies that hire new employees or bring back those who have been laid off.

The promises come during a campaign-style event today, less than a week after Singh said his party would not provoke an election as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

The NDP leader says the hiring bonus would involve covering the portion of employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan contributions normally paid by employers.

Singh is also pledging to extend the federal government’s existing wage subsidy, rent assistance and business loan programs until the end of the pandemic.

The NDP leader is also highlighting his earlier promise to impose what he describes as an “excess profit tax” on companies that have benefited during the pandemic, though the NDP has not shared details on how that would work.

Singh said last week the NDP would support the minority Liberal government on confidence votes in the House of Commons, but federal political parties are still readying for an election that could come at any time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press