This morning, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program by three months to the end of August, 2020. The announcement was light on details but a commitment was made to work with businesses on making adjustments to the program.
The Government is looking to design a ramped version of CEWS, such that coming back up above 70% of prior revenues will not kick employers off the program. It was less clear as to how or at what level employers who have previously been ineligible would become eligible under new program criteria but there was some indication that it will be expanded.
Retail Council of Canada can envisage – and has explicitly asked for – a program that recognizes that revenues will recover only gradually and that the program needs to be set up in such a way that it does not deny support to those who have made only a partial recovery of their former revenue levels.
The PM’s statement explicitly recognized this principle and vowed to ensure that the CEWS program parameters are “not a barrier to growth” and that it will revise the 30% revenue-loss threshold. It was not clear from today’s statement as to the particular month in which these new elements would kick-in. The PM indicated that Minister Morneau will follow up over the next few days with more details.