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May 11, 2020 – Better utilization of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will help support businesses and individuals during the gradual re-opening of the economy and maintain employer-employee relationships, says the C.D. Howe Institute’s Crisis Working Group on Household Income and Credit Support.

At their recent meeting, working group members identified factors contributing to the large utilization gap between the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and CEWS, highlighted the importance of timely and reliable data, and considered the financial needs of Canadians who will not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) after exhausting CERB.   

The group supports the federal government’s decision to extend the CEWS beyond June 6, and recommends the government also:

  • Identifies and addresses technical issues that may impede CEWS utilization, and the process of transitioning employees from CERB to CEWS;
  • Makes CERB data available by province, gender and age to allow for provincial-level decision-making on the pace and timing of re-opening, and provide insight on the pandemic’s impact on certain demographics; and
  • Explores ways to address the financial needs of Canadians who remain unemployed due to the pandemic, but do not qualify for EI after exhausting the CERB.

The group of economists and business leaders is co-chaired by Michael Horgan, Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of Canada; and Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board at Royal Bank of Canada.

For more information, please contact: Parisa Mahboubi, Senior Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute; or Nancy Schlömer, Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, phone 416-865-1904 ext. 0247, email: nschlomer@cdhowe.org

Full Communiqué: CWG_2020_0511.pdf