Last fall, the Couillard government revised Emploi-Quebec’s rules for wage subsidies. Social economy enterprises were most affected, losing some of their rights in the process. Where do they stand now that a new budget is being released? An update on Quebec programs in terms of wage subsidies.
No new cuts
Walking through the new Leitão 2015-2016 budget, it is evident that there are no new cuts being announced in aid programs for work integration. Some projects are even being subsidized, including the one for people "most removed from the labour market" and the one relating to immigrants.
Normally, most wage subsidies offered by the government cover 50% of a new employee’s salary for up to 30 weeks of work.
In the current budget, the government wants to give more targeted support to “welfare recipients” and those who are “without professional qualification.”
These people will now see their entitlement to wage subsidies extended from 30 to 52 weeks. As for the percentage of the wage being covered, that will depend on the employee’s autonomy within his or her functions.
Companies wishing to take advantage of wage subsidies should do so as part of the Workplace Apprenticeship Program, an initiative that will receive $3 million in funds over three years.
PRIIME for immigrants
Another subject of particular interest is the integration of immigrant people into the workplace. With investments of $4.5 million over the next three years, the Employment Integration Program for Immigrants and Visible Minorities (PRIIME) continues to thrive. This program is open to all immigrants who have been living in the country for less than 5 years. The grant is allocated for 30 weeks and can cover up to 50% of the employee’s salary.
Companies can also receive a grant of up to 100% in support of the trainer's salary, for a maximum of $1,500.
It is important to note that these foreseen subsidies for the 2015-2016 budget have yet to be confirmed by a vote of credits at the National Assembly.
An affected community
David McKeown, spokesperson for the Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity, confirms that wage subsidy cuts for social economy enterprises are still in force. “In fact, they have applied since July 2014,” he said.
Previously, social economy businesses benefited from wage subsidies for up to 52 weeks, and these were renewable the second year. These grants are now limited to 30 weeks, as is the case for companies without special status. However, as McKeown states, social economy enterprises continue to get 100% coverage for employee's salary, while regular companies receive only 50% of worker’s salaries.