Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today the emergency wage subsidy (CEWS) program is being extended past June to “help kickstart our economic reopening and boost jobs.” Additional details are expected next week.
This is the first federal aid program rolled out amid the COVID-19 pandemic to receive an extension and comes in light of record-high job losses, as reported by CTA earlier today.
The CEWS is aimed at incentivizing employers to keep staff on the payroll.
“Extending the CEWS will undoubtably help many carriers who are looking for ways to keep the doors open and wheels rolling,” said CTA’s Jonathon Blackham. “For many carriers this is an important program and we are eagerly awaiting additional details.”
However, the CEWS extension does not have the same impact for everyone, especially in trucking, which has very specific operating conditions. As CTA’s latest Business Conditions Survey shows, half of carriers do not believe they qualify for the subsidy. Meanwhile, carriers on average are reporting revenue decreases of 33 percent.
CTA has been working with other organizations in looking at potentially making the subsidy scalable for those that fall just below the cut off, added Blackham. “The concept of scalability is something CTA is very interested in and will be raising with the federal government.”
Meanwhile CTA continues to urge assistance from Ottawa above and beyond what the CEWS provides due to the nature of the sector and the critical need maintain a level of stability to the Canadian supply chain.
Specifically, CTA is asking the Government of Canada to introduce a Payroll Tax Deferral Program, which would provide fleets the needed cash flow to help maintain operations. Additionally, CTA wants an increase in the meal allowance for all truck drivers facing rising costs associated with operating during COVID-19.
CTA will report additional details on the CEWS extension as they become available.