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Big Changes to Wage Subsidy Program to Significantly Help Tech Sector

Big Changes to Wage Subsidy Program to Significantly Help Tech Sector

VICTORIA, BC (April 8, 2020) This morning Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced additional new measures to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. These changes are significant for the tech community, which includes Canada’s most promising and fastest growing companies. VIATEC was among the advocates supporting this initiative, knowing that without these changes, such companies would have been at a serious disadvantage and unable to maintain operations. 

The initial structure of the wage subsidy program was well meaning but required companies to demonstrate a 30% reduction in revenue for the same month last year. This excluded Canada’s fastest growing companies that had increased revenue and staff size significantly in the last 12 months. 

It’s not unusual to see young companies grow 100% year over year but the initial requirements of the wage subsidy program meant that those companies that were rapidly expanding before the COVID 19 Crisis would not qualify. Without changes, some of Canada’s fastest growing companies would find themselves left without the support available to other businesses, which would have been catastrophic to Canada’s innovation sector.


What it means for businesses:

1. Calculations now allow companies to show the required 30% reduction in revenue by comparing the months of January and February of this year, rather than last year at the same time.

This is especially helpful for growing companies like startups that are already much bigger than 12 months ago, but have suffered a big dip in revenue just recently. 

2. Companies only need to show a 15% reduction in March, as the crisis had not fully taken hold until mid-month. 

This was the biggest ongoing concern among startup and tech advocates like us, so we are very pleased with this revised eligibility.


These measures are more in alignment with the unique financial dynamics of businesses within our tech sector and we sincerely hope they help protect jobs and allow tech leaders to pay their workers and bills during these difficult times. VIATEC is encouraged by the responsiveness of the government and would like to thank those within our tech community who came forward to inform our advocacy by filling out our survey, emailing us, or contacting the government directly. 

Visit for more information on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or our COVID-19 Resources page for a complete list of programs. 


Paula Parker
Community Manager
Cell: 604-440-2686


VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council), started in 1989. VIATEC's mission is to cultivate the most cohesive tech community in the world by providing resources to tackle shared opportunities and challenges while boosting a sense of belonging and shaping our region. (Victoria's biggest industry is tech!).

We work closely with our members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, we acquired our own building (Fort Tectoria) where we offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs.


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