Canadian Forestry

The Finance Minister Has Published a List of Proposed Changes to the CEWS Program

The Finance Minister Has Published a List of Proposed Changes to the CEWS Program

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) protects jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off. Since its launch, about 3 million Canadian employees have had their jobs supported through the CEWS, and that number continues to grow.

On July 17th, 2020, the Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, announced proposed changes to the CEWS that would broaden the reach of the program and provide better targeted support so that more workers can return to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts. This support would continue to protect jobs and help Canadian businesses that are the most impacted.

The CEWS was put in place for an initial 12-week period from March 15 to June 6, 2020, providing a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers. On May 15, Minister Morneau announced that the Government of Canada would extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. The recently proposed changes would further extend the program until November 21, 2020, with the intent to provide further support until December 19, 2020.

Here is what you need to know about the proposed changes. They would:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30% revenue loss get support to keep, and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders

Minister Morneau Says:

“We are ensuring that Canadians are able to get back to work as quickly as possible. The adjustments we are proposing would ensure that the CEWS continues to address Canadians’ needs while also positioning them for growth as economies continue to gradually and safely reopen.”

– Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

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