June 27th, 2020
Letter to Ministers Ng and Morneau: Extend and Scale the Wage Subsidy
We write to you today to ask that you extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program past August 29 as quickly as possible and that you consider adopting more flexible criteria to qualify so that more businesses can get the help they desperately need.
Businesses need help now and they need to know what support they can expect in order to plan appropriately for the Summer. Tourism businesses are understandably extremely hesitant to hire seasonal workers, not knowing if their revenue will allow them to pay their staff. Even as travel restrictions are lifted and businesses are opening again, there is little confidence that business will return to previous levels.
Allowing for greater flexibility in CEWS would allow businesses to bring staff back to work and prepare for their busiest season of the year. Currently, the existing criteria for CEWS is too restrictive and relies on revenue loss for the early months of 2020, which excludes those businesses that are anticipating costly losses this summer. To address this, we propose a sliding-scale for the wage subsidy to help more businesses over the summer. Under this approach, businesses with a 5 per cent drop in revenue could receive a partial 10 per cent wage subsidy, while businesses with a 30 per cent drop in revenue could qualify for the full 75 per cent wage subsidy.
We also call on you to remove the requirement for businesses to have had their own 15-digit CRA business number as of March 15, 2020 to qualify for CEWS. That requirement disqualifies the large portion of small business owners who partner with an industry payroll service provider from the subsidy.
Please consider these recommendations and other recommendations from small business leaders across the country. These businesses are crucial to local economies and will play a huge role in getting people back to work.
Gord Johns Member of Parliament for Courtenay-Alberni
Peter Julian Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Burnaby