The federal government's Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was introduced to support employers and employees that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, the program was extended to August 29, 2020. For those who meet eligibility requirements, the subsidy covers 75% of employee wages (up to $847 per week per employee).
The Department of Finance has launched a public consultation to seek feedback regarding potential changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, including an adjustment to the 30-percent revenue reduction threshold.
Businesses of all sizes, labour representatives, not-for-profits and charities are encouraged to participate. The consultation is seeking input on the following 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?