On April 6, 2020, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity announced the creation of The Concerted Action Program for Maintaining Employment (officially the Programme d'actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi or "PACME"), in collaboration with the Commission of Labour Market Partners.
PACME, a $100 million program, offers direct financial support to help businesses promote training and the implementation of good human resources management practices to optimize their operations and reduce the impact that the economic downturn could have on businesses. The program allows businesses to receive subsidies to cover the costs associated with training their employees and thus facilitate job retention. To be eligible for the assistance offered by the PACME, the enterprise's usual activities must have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through a suspension, decrease, increase or diversification of activity.
At a press conference, the Minister of Labour specified that eligible training could include digital skills related to telework, good practices related to health issues, organizational communication and improving expertise. The complete list of eligible training is available at the following address (only available in French for now).
Under PACME, the following expenses are eligible for reimbursement:
- The wages of workers in training – capped at $25 per hour (excluding payroll taxes)
- Professional fees for consultants or trainers (maximum of $150 per hour)
- Indirect costs for trainers (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.)*
- Indirect costs for workers in training (travel, meals, accommodation, etc.)*
- Development, adaptation and purchase of teaching and learning materials*
- Equipment and supplies needed to carry out activities*
- Development and adaptation of training content*
- The transition from face-to-face training to online training*
- Registration fees or other costs related to the use of a platform*
- If applicable, costs related to management and administrative activities (bank charges, equipment, supplies needed to carry out the activities, etc.) engaged by the delegated organization, up to 10% of eligible costs.
*At actual cost
In order to avoid double compensation, the reimbursement of salaries will be reduced in line with the wage subsidies paid by the federal government. For example, the PACME will provide a 25% wage subsidy for employees in training if the company receives the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which provides eligible employers with a wage subsidy of 75% of wages. Similarly, the PACME subsidy will cover 90% of wages if the company receives the temporary wage subsidy of 10%.
According to the information available, reimbursement for business training projects will be limited to 100% of expenses of $100,000 or less and 50% for expenses between $100,000 and $500,000.
The eligible period for the PACME will be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and will remain in effect until September 30, 2020 (or until the program envelope is exhausted).