Retail Council of Canada (RCC) welcomes today’s clarity provided by Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, on the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program until December.
RCC has been working diligently over the past several weeks to identify potential improvements to the CEWS program based on the realities faced by our 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. Today’s announcement provides a ramp on the CEWS program that will help retailers continue to receive a portion of the 75% wage support even as our 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 today’s 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.
Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada
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About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.1 million Canadians working in our industry. The sector annually generates over $76 billion in wages and employee benefits. Core retail sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline) were $377 billion in 2018. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org