'If they get the eligibility rules right, this will allow small firms to hire back their staff'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government will be extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program until December.
The extension will “give greater certainty and support to businesses as we restart the economy,” says Trudeau, adding details will follow later this week.
The Canadian Federation Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes the decision, tweeted president Dan Kelly.
“If they get the eligibility rules right, this will allow small firms time to hire back their staff (typically the largest expense) while their revenues slowly return to normal.”
But for this to work, employers need to know what the program rules will look like for the duration of the extension, says Kelly.
“The extension for June, July and August was announced in mid-May, and employers still have no idea whether they qualify for the current subsidy period,” he tweeted.
“The announcements often sound a lot better than the on-the-ground reality for many small firms once the rules trickle out. And even learning what the rules are has been a major struggle during the pandemic.”
Bruce Takefman, president of Research Consultants International FDI, says in a tweet that employers can use the CEWS to help improve employment numbers.
“Let’s hope employers take advantage of CEWS to add talent to their workforce to help get these numbers down. This will be pivotal in winding down CERB [Canada Emergency Relief Benefit].”
The CEWS provides a subsidy of 75 per cent of an eligible employee's weekly earnings to a maximum of $847 per employee per week. The program was originally set to expire on June 6 and then was extended to Aug. 29
In May, the federal government extended the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to Aug. 29, 2020. Applications for claim period of June 7 to July 4 are open as of July 8, 2020.