Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the government will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program until December of 2020.
The CEWS program was established to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll and to encourage employers affected by the economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 to rehire laid-off workers. The program covers Seventy-five (75) per cent of wages, to a maximum of $847 per week, for those workers at eligible businesses and non-profit organizations.
Canada hopes that this program will give workers the certainty that they will get the support they needed during this time of crisis and that it will also contribute to cutting down the rate of unemployment in the country.
In the words of the prime minister “this should provide ‘greater certainty and support’ to businesses as Canada plans to reopen its economy”.
In addition, there have been ongoing discussions with the provinces and territories on the “safe restart program”.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was launched in March to help ease expected financial burdens on businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The business community, while welcoming the extension of the CEWS program, are still sceptical of the eligibility requirements, and hope that even more businesses that enrol will be able to access it.
Consequently, the federal government has said that eligibility requirements may be adjusted this week.
This is the second time the CEWS is extended after twelve (12) weeks were added to the program on May 15.
Up until July 6, Canada had paid more than $18 billion to employers through the federal wage subsidy. A total of 581,800 out of 587,060 (or 99.1%) applications has been approved.
Last week, the government increased the CEWS budget to CAD 82.3 billion, considerably bigger than the original budget of just CAD 45 billion.
As the economy begins to reopen, many people who had been receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) are now choosing to get back to work.
Furthermore, many people are more optimistic about the potential of finding a job.
In fact, the months of May and June experienced a rise of 1.24 million jobs as unemployment rates across the country decreased substantially.
These statistics along with the extension of the wage subsidy is a welcome delight to hopeful immigrants as they would expect a viable job market once they become Canadian permanent residents.
Canada’s latest Express Entry draws spells more good news, as it was the first all-program draw since the beginning of the COVID-19. This means that candidates who applied for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) were also considered.