CFIB statement on the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Support (CEWS) program

Toronto, May 8, 2020 – CFIB applauds today’s announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the federal government will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program which is set to expire on June 6. This was one of the top recommendations CFIB shared with all MPs in correspondence earlier this week. I give credit to the government for listening carefully to the concerns of small businesses who were worried that this needed support would run out before many are even able to reopen their doors.

With the shut-down now approaching the start of a third month, it is important to remember that only 20 per cent of Canada’s small businesses are fully open. Most businesses that were forced to lay off staff at the beginning of the crisis will not be in a position to rehire and use the program until they are able to resume operations. As provinces are just now beginning to allow some businesses to carefully reopen, the CEWS program will become an important part of a recovery plan. Extending the program beyond June 6 will allow more firms to rehire staff as they re-open but face very thin revenues in early months.

Earlier this week, CFIB shared recommendations on other important fixes to all the major support programs, including the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) Program. These included the immediate need to expand CEBA to very small firms that pay dividends or contract wages, and the need to ensure there is a direct route to help tenants pay rent if their landlords choose not to participate in CECRA. 

CFIB looks forward to working with government on a longer term plan to phase out these support programs as small businesses embark on the slow return to normal operations.

- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

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About 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