Feds to give $1.5 billion to help Canadians in hard-hit sectors train for new jobs

justin trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will inject $1.5 billion in job-training support to the provinces and territories to help Canadians in hard-hit industries.

Trudeau says the funding will help laid-off workers in sectors like construction, transportation and hospitality re-enter the workforce by bolstering access to skills training and employment services.

The money comes at a critical time, with a new survey from Statistics Canada finding nearly one-third of businesses do not know how long they can keep going under existing conditions brought by the second wave of COVID-19.

Nearly 40 per cent of businesses have laid off staff since March, and nearly one in five report they will be compelled to take drastic action in less than six months if cash flow does not improve.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce chief economist Trevin Stratton says the outlook for business owners is grim, and is calling for sector-specific support to help the hospitality and arts and entertainment industries.

A revamped COVID-19 aid package now before the Senate would extend a federal wage subsidy until next summer, expand a popular business loan program and redo a plan for commercial rent relief.