NDP applies for Trudeau government's federal wage subsidy as donations drop-off

The New Democratic Party is now one of the organizations looking for a federal wage subsidy amid the pandemic.
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

The New Democratic Party is now one of the organizations looking for a federal wage subsidy amid the pandemic.

An application is being submitted by the party on Friday to the Canada emergency wage subsidy program as it looks for support to cover salaries while donations begin to wither, according to CBC News.

There are 17 full-time staff employed with the NDP along with 15 to 20 part-time workers who take care of fundraising, administrative functions, bookkeeping and running digital platforms for the party.

"We think it's really important to stay active and functioning. To do that includes paying the bills and paying our workers," said Anne McGrath, the NDP national director.

The party is trying not to furlough employees which will add more stress to the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) and is instead looking for the wage subsidy in order to allow experienced employees to remain on the payroll.

The wage support program was made to allow non-profit organizations and companies to refrain from laying off workers in the current economic situation.

A 75 percent wage subsidy will be offered by the federal government to entities that have seen considerable revenue losses due to the pandemic.

"That's what the program is there for. It's there for organizations who have staff and it's to prevent layoffs and that's what we're doing. I think it's the responsible thing to do and I want to protect the jobs," noted McGrath.

Around $2.5 million in benefits and salaries was booked by the NDP in 2018—the year with the most up to date data available.

In recent years, the NDP has had difficulty raising funds.

McGrath said that after a short period of increased donations following the last election the party saw a considerable drop-off around the time Canadians began feeling economic difficulties linked to the pandemic.

McGrath also said that funds for March and April are below what they were during the same time period last year.

About $400,000 was raised by the party in May 2019 and it is estimating that the party will see approximately $280,000 this year.

"The good news is that the monthly donors have stayed strong and those few who have had to cancel their monthly donation for financial reasons have pledged to come back when things change," she said.

There has been no recent in person fundraising by the party due to physical distancing measures.

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