Media Releases May 15, 2020

Canadian Chamber welcomes wage subsidy program extension, but seeks improvements to ensure more businesses qualify

(OTTAWA) – May 15, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today issued the following statement regarding the federal government’s extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):

“We appreciate that the federal government is working very hard to develop and deliver financial measures to help businesses and Canadians weather COVID-19.

Canadian businesses have undertaken many efforts to support their employees through the crisis and keep them connected to the labour force.  When businesses have been forced to lay off workers, they have been determined to get as many employees back to work as quickly, safely and smoothly as possible.

As reopening and recovery occurs at different times and stages across the country, the CEWS in an important tool to help in the process of resuming and stepping up operations.

Unfortunately, uptake for the CEWS is far below original expectations. Many businesses have closed or are not operating at full capacity, which limits the number of applications. Additionally, many more do not qualify for reasons that include an inability to meet the current revenue loss thresholds, or that they use non-T4 employees or engage third-party payroll providers. The Canadian Chamber calls for a broadening of the eligibility criteria to ensure more businesses can qualify.

We welcome the federal government’s recognition of differing business structures, including partnerships with non-eligible entities and those that have recently amalgamated, for CEWS eligibility.  We are also pleased by its commitment to consult with business and labour stakeholders over the next month to address the remaining barriers for many businesses.

Although we are still in crisis mode across most of the country, as we move to reopening and recovery we will have to move our attention away from short-term emergency programs to policies that stimulate growth. We look forward to continuing to work with the government on behalf of Canada’s businesses to ensure the help they receive is sufficient to get them through – and beyond – this crisis in the best shape possible.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

For more information, please contact:
Phil Taylor