Government Amending Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Good for Retailers Says Associations

Date:

Share post:

The Government of Canada is making significant changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program to broaden its reach and provide better targeted support so that more workers can return to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts.

“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,” said Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance.

CEWS CHANGES ARE DESIGNED TO GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK

The government changes will:

  • Allow the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (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 percent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30 percent 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 percent revenue decline threshold;

  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 percent 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; and

  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

The government said that since its launch about 3 million Canadian employees have had their jobs supported through CEWS.

CEWS was put in place for an initial 12-week period from March 15 to June 6, providing a 75 percent wage subsidy to eligible employers. On May 15, Morneau announced that the government would extend CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29.

Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada, said the organization welcomes the government’s new initiative and RCC has been working diligently over the past several weeks to identify potential improvements to the CEWS program based on the realities faced by its retailers.

“The main issue RCC identified was that the program be reoriented to support businesses during their recovery period. We are pleased that the government responded to our concerns by transforming the program to allow for proportional support, rather than a single threshold that either triggered or denied the full benefit,” said Brisebois, adding that the announcement provides a ramp on the CEWS program that will help retailers continue to receive a portion of the 75 percent wage support even as its retailers start to see a gradual return to normal revenues, but where revenues remain lower than they would have been historically.

“RCC and its retail members are also pleased to see that businesses who have had any reduction in revenue will now receive a subsidy proportional to their revenue loss. RCC advocated strongly for this straight-line approach and we are pleased to see it included in (the) announcement.

These are two critical wins for retailers for whom the wage subsidy is the make-or-break tool to retain and hire back more than a million employees across Canada.”

CEWS REFORM WAS URGENTLY NEEDED IN THE RESTAURANT SECTOR

David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Federal and Quebec, said the organization is satisfied with the improvement presented to the CEWS federal program.

“We now ask Parliament to adopt all core changes as quickly as possible,” he said.

In a release on July 10, Restaurants Canada said that at least 400,000 people previously employed in the Canadian foodservice sector were still out of work which was still half of the jobs that the sector lost since the start of the pandemic and a third of the foodservice industry’s workforce still not recovered.

“Reforms to the federal wage subsidy are urgently needed to help foodservice businesses bring more Canadians back to work amid ongoing restrictions,” said Lefebvre in early July. “44 percent of restaurant operators who responded to our latest survey said they did not apply for the subsidy for at least one of their establishments because it would not meet the requirements.”

SMALL BUSINESSES WILL NEED HELP UNDERSTANDING COMPLICATED CEWS RULES

Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said small businesses will be able to make their staffing plans for the rest of the year with a better understanding of how much government support will be there depending on their sales. Extending the subsidy and providing firm details are critical parts of getting Canadians back to work.

“CFIB welcomes the change that will extend eligibility for the wage subsidy to all businesses with any level of revenue loss over the months ahead. The all or nothing approach cut out many firms that were not able to predict their sales levels or had revenue losses under the 30 percent threshold. Many more small firms will now be eligible for a smaller subsidy which will allow them to be more confident in making hiring decisions while their revenues remain uncertain,” he said.

“But the new rules are incredibly complicated and small business owners will need significant help in understanding whether they will qualify and how much support they may receive. There are top-ups for those with revenue losses greater than 50 percent and safe harbour rules for those who would otherwise get a smaller subsidy in July and August. Over one third of CFIB members report their sales are less than half of normal levels. Many of these decisions make good sense, but a detailed analysis is required to fully understand all of the implications. CFIB is committed to working with the federal government to help communicate the new rules to small business owners and provide advice on any necessary changes.”

Kelly said the CFIB urges the federal government to make quick progress to reform other key business support programs, including proceeding with promised changes to eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account, and expanding the size of the loans and the percentage forgiven upon repayment. It is also critical that immediate changes be made to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program as it is just not working for most small business owners.

“Getting support directly to tenants and rethinking the 70 per cent revenue drop test are top priorities for small business,” said Kelly.

“Small firms look forward to the day that subsidies can be replaced by sales. But over half of small firms report it will take them six months or more to return to normal revenue levels. While (the) announcement will help smooth this transition for many, quick action on retooling all programs to aid during the recovery is urgently needed.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

Loblaw Announces $2 Billion Investment in Canada for 2024 with Dozens of New Stores and 7,500 New Jobs [Expert Comment]

The retail behemoth will be growing substantially this year, following backlash over profits as inflation continues to impact Canadians.

Dubai-Based Asian Street Food Concept ‘Wok Boyz’ Expands into Canada with Plans for Multiple Locations [Interview]

The company's founder says the popular concept, with personalized meals, has an opportunity to grow substantially with its high-quality ingredients and theatrical flare, complete with fiery customer-facing woks.

Calgary Surge Basketball Team Launches Innovative Pop-Up at CF Chinook Centre to Boost Community Engagement [Interview]

The retail activation, which opened this month, is resulting in heavier foot traffic in a quieter part of the mall.

Upscale Pusateri’s Fine Foods to Close Yorkville Grocery Store in Toronto After 20 Years

The 5,500 square foot store opened to much fanfare in 2003, with valet parking, private chefs and pricey goods. 

Loblaw and Walmart Could be Forced to Adhere to Grocery Code of Conduct with Legislation [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that it's rare for all of Canada's political parties to agree, signalling a shift that could force grocers to comply amid record inflation.

Factory Direct to Shut All 14 Stores Amid Bankruptcy, Liquidation to Begin Saturday

The company, founded in 1995, is one of Canada’s largest privately owned discount retailers which struggled with declining sales and increasing costs following the pandemic.

What to Expect for the Canadian Retail and Hospitality Sectors in 2024 [Video Interview]

Michael Kehoe provides an expansive overview of what's expected for Canada's retail industry in 2024, and how the commercial real estate industry is becoming more dynamic than ever.

Anatomy of a Leader: David Lui, CEO of Kit and Ace and Co-Founder of Unity Brands

Lui has an extensive background in retail with over 30 years of experience and is known for his award-winning brand transformations, e-commerce and digital knowledge along with his passion for scaling businesses.

Robotic Retail Gaining Traction in Canada, But Some Consumers are Being Left Behind [Op-Ed]

Automated retailers without in-store staff are opening across Canada, such as Aisle 24, RC Coffee and PizzaForno -- but consumers without smart phones, credit cards, or with vision issues may not be able to access these retailers says a researcher.

Oakridge Park Announces 1st Luxury Retailers, Attracting Top Brands to Vancouver [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the latest Oakridge Park announcement, highlighting the addition of luxury and upper contemporary brands to Vancouver's retail landscape and how it will impact downtown.

Interview on What it Takes: Lee Valley Tools Named Top Retailer in Ontario for Customer Service

The company's COO Jason Tasse discusses the retailer's secret sauce for having an engaged workforce, while also discussing plans to expand with more stores and retail concepts.

Survey Data Shows Canadians will Prioritize Romance Over Budget Cuts This Valentine’s Day [Interviews]

David Litwin of Moneris notes that Valentine's is an interesting bellwether for what businesses might expect from consumers for the rest of the year.

Anine Bing to Open 2nd Canadian Storefront at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto 

The US-based women’s fashion brand recently opened its first Canadian store at Yorkdale, and will open its second location in a downtown luxury hotel. 

Retail Burnout Crisis in Canada: The Call for Empathetic Leadership and Proactive Solutions Amid Operational Strains [Feature]

It's never been more difficult to work in retail, with store managers burning out amid lower staffing numbers, increased task and store robberies. Two industry experts discuss the situation.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

Loblaw Announces $2 Billion Investment in Canada for 2024 with Dozens of New Stores and 7,500 New Jobs [Expert Comment]

The retail behemoth will be growing substantially this year, following backlash over profits as inflation continues to impact Canadians.

Dubai-Based Asian Street Food Concept ‘Wok Boyz’ Expands into Canada with Plans for Multiple Locations [Interview]

The company's founder says the popular concept, with personalized meals, has an opportunity to grow substantially with its high-quality ingredients and theatrical flare, complete with fiery customer-facing woks.

Calgary Surge Basketball Team Launches Innovative Pop-Up at CF Chinook Centre to Boost Community Engagement [Interview]

The retail activation, which opened this month, is resulting in heavier foot traffic in a quieter part of the mall.

Upscale Pusateri’s Fine Foods to Close Yorkville Grocery Store in Toronto After 20 Years

The 5,500 square foot store opened to much fanfare in 2003, with valet parking, private chefs and pricey goods. 

Loblaw and Walmart Could be Forced to Adhere to Grocery Code of Conduct with Legislation [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that it's rare for all of Canada's political parties to agree, signalling a shift that could force grocers to comply amid record inflation.

Factory Direct to Shut All 14 Stores Amid Bankruptcy, Liquidation to Begin Saturday

The company, founded in 1995, is one of Canada’s largest privately owned discount retailers which struggled with declining sales and increasing costs following the pandemic.

What to Expect for the Canadian Retail and Hospitality Sectors in 2024 [Video Interview]

Michael Kehoe provides an expansive overview of what's expected for Canada's retail industry in 2024, and how the commercial real estate industry is becoming more dynamic than ever.

Anatomy of a Leader: David Lui, CEO of Kit and Ace and Co-Founder of Unity Brands

Lui has an extensive background in retail with over 30 years of experience and is known for his award-winning brand transformations, e-commerce and digital knowledge along with his passion for scaling businesses.

Robotic Retail Gaining Traction in Canada, But Some Consumers are Being Left Behind [Op-Ed]

Automated retailers without in-store staff are opening across Canada, such as Aisle 24, RC Coffee and PizzaForno -- but consumers without smart phones, credit cards, or with vision issues may not be able to access these retailers says a researcher.

Oakridge Park Announces 1st Luxury Retailers, Attracting Top Brands to Vancouver [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the latest Oakridge Park announcement, highlighting the addition of luxury and upper contemporary brands to Vancouver's retail landscape and how it will impact downtown.

Interview on What it Takes: Lee Valley Tools Named Top Retailer in Ontario for Customer Service

The company's COO Jason Tasse discusses the retailer's secret sauce for having an engaged workforce, while also discussing plans to expand with more stores and retail concepts.

Survey Data Shows Canadians will Prioritize Romance Over Budget Cuts This Valentine’s Day [Interviews]

David Litwin of Moneris notes that Valentine's is an interesting bellwether for what businesses might expect from consumers for the rest of the year.

Anine Bing to Open 2nd Canadian Storefront at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto 

The US-based women’s fashion brand recently opened its first Canadian store at Yorkdale, and will open its second location in a downtown luxury hotel. 

Retail Burnout Crisis in Canada: The Call for Empathetic Leadership and Proactive Solutions Amid Operational Strains [Feature]

It's never been more difficult to work in retail, with store managers burning out amid lower staffing numbers, increased task and store robberies. Two industry experts discuss the situation.