Toronto, March 25, 2020 – CFIB welcomes the federal government’s announcement of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which will provide $2,000 per month to workers who have lost their job, including the self-employed. This is a significant step forward in addressing the growing economic emergency that accompanies the nation’s efforts to avoid the COVID-19 health crisis.
We are particularly pleased that the federal government has indicated an employer will not have to lay off a worker to allow them to qualify for the benefit. How this will operate in practice remains a question employers will need quickly resolved. CFIB also calls on provincial governments to amend labour legislation to ensure an employer can move an employee to be paid by the CERB or temporarily lay them off to collect Employment Insurance without triggering normal termination pay requirements.
CFIB believes that this new program does not replace the need to increase the 10 per cent wage subsidy to 75 per cent of wages for all employers, up to a cap of $5,000 per worker per month. A direct wage subsidy to employers will be a far faster way to ensure workers are paid than the CERB, particularly as the new program will not begin until early April and will pay workers only once per month. A wage subsidy will also help employers who can keep their employees working from home but have no or limited business income with which to pay them.
CFIB is focused on measures that will keep the connections between workers and employers and not require layoffs. This is imperative to ensure employees can go back to work the day after the emergency ends, allowing Canada’s economy to return to normal as quickly as possible.
- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
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Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.