OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took his morning press conference on the road Friday, travelling from Ontario to a cafe in Chelsea, Que., where he once again touted the wage subsidy program and announced that, as part of April’s $9 billion aid package for students, 500 “green jobs” are being made available. 

“An important part of this plan was to create jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand,” Trudeau said. Among the sectors that will have jobs and training opportunities available will be the clean technology and natural resource sectors.

The prime minister also continued his campaign for businesses to sign on for the wage subsidy program, which sees the federal government cover 75 per cent of employees’ wages — continues, in an attempt to see more unemployed Canadians back on the job soon.

Since it launched, the federal government has paid out $13.28 billion to employers through the wage subsidy, which is still far below what was initially budgeted for.

Trudeau spoke about how the Chelsea café, Biscotti & Cie, has used the subsidy to bring back staff and noted that now, with more restrictions being loosened and patio service possible, more are set to be rehired.

Reopening is also forcing a lot of businesses to have to put in place new measures, however, from protective shields to enhanced cleaning supplies and a promised expansion of another COVID-19 aid program aimed at offering up small businesses has been delayed, something Trudeau made no mention of during his remarks.

He did make mention of the $14 billion the federal government is offering the provinces and territories to help fund efforts to test, trace, and keep people safe while at work.

“We want to work with the provinces and territories to implement these measures as soon as possible, and make sure we don’t lose the progress we’ve made,” Trudeau said.  

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Thursday that the expected broadening of eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account — which offers government-backed loans of up to $40,000 — wouldn’t be launching on schedule.

First announced weeks ago, the government plans to allow more companies with smaller or larger total payrolls to access the funding. Initially, these loans were available to businesses with payrolls between $50,000 and $1 million in 2019. Now, companies who paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible.

“Work continues around the clock to ensure the program can securely launch across over 230 financial institutions. We know how important the program is to small businesses and want to launch as quickly as possible,” Morneau tweeted.