How can we fix the CEWS?

Feds seek feedback on program from employers, stakeholders

How can we fix the CEWS?
The Department of Finance Canada offices in Ottawa.

The federal government is seeking feedback for potential changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, including potential adjustments to the 30-per-cent revenue reduction threshold and extension to the program.

Through the consultation, the Department of Finance Canada says it will be looking to maximize employment in Canada and encourage growth. The consultation seeks input on the eight questions:

  • Are there specific challenges associated with the CEWS program? For example, are there challenges with respect to its accessibility, incentive impacts, or any other aspect?
  • What adjustments to the CEWS would you propose to provide the right level of support to those most affected by the pandemic while supporting the economic recovery?
  • Would adding complexity to the CEWS program be acceptable in order to expand access to this support, or better target support to those who need it?
  • To what extent are employers using the CEWS to provide support to furloughed employees as compared to using it as a means to pay active employees? Do employers value maintaining ties with furloughed employees by keeping them on the payroll? Should the level of support for furloughed employees be the same as for active employees?
  • What are the key barriers to rehiring workers recently laid off due to the pandemic? 
  • Are there specific factors that are preventing or discouraging employers from applying for the CEWS?
  • If you are a seasonal business are there any unique challenges you are facing in relation to the CEWS?  
  • How do you foresee the CEWS interacting with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) over this extended period? Do you have any additional comments about the CERB? 

The consultation will close to input on June 5, 2020. To participate, businesses of all sizes, labour representatives, not-for-profits and charities can answer the survey here.

The CEWS program runs retroactively from March 15. Employers must have lost between 15 and 30 per cent of revenues in order to qualify. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the federal government has extended the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020.

Thanks to the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), food service and facilities management company Sodexo is bringing back 1,500 furloughed workers.

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