Fewer trucking, warehousing employers apply for CEWS

TORONTO, Ont. – A shrinking number of transportation and warehousing employers have seen applications approved for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – federal wage support which, until recently, was limited to businesses that lost more than 30% of their revenue due to Covid-19.

While 59,280 of the sector’s employees were supported by the program from June 7 to July 4, that’s down dramatically from the 135,470 supported from May 10 to June 6, and 169,860 from April 12 to May 9.

(Photo: iStock)

CEWS subsidizes 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, to help employers re-hire workers laid off because of Covid-19, prevent further job losses, and better position businesses to resume normal operations as the economy recovers.

Jonathan Blackham, director – policy and public affairs at the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), cautions that such support continues to be needed.

“I don’t think our sector’s out of the storm yet, and I don’t think the economy is out of the storm yet,” he told Today’s Trucking.

The CTA had been among voices calling on the federal government to support businesses that may have fallen just short of the 30% in revenue losses. Changes to the program announced on July 17 included a sliding scale that delivers financial relief to businesses under that benchmark.

“The big sticking point for us was to move away from that 30% cutoff line, where it was all or nothing,” Blackham says. A trucking industry survey conducted in the early weeks of Covid-19, for example, reported an average revenue drop of 27%. While that’s an average, it demonstrates that some trucking businesses would have fallen just short of the threshold, Blackham says.

Trucking HR Canada recently reported that more than ¾ of trucking companies have laid off employees since the pandemic began, and truck drivers accounted for more than 70% of the losses.

About 3 million Canadian employees have been supported by CEWS since it was introduced. The program has also been extended to run until Dec. 19.

CEWS has paid out $23.91 billion since being unveiled.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.


  • There is a reason do to the trucking industry is fueled buy o/o and drivers the drivers that wish to stay home and not go out during covid 19 got cerb. The rest took the $40 stimulis package. As the two countries are open to cross for goods people are not buying, yet keeping their needs to a limit just to make a borderline payroll work, one week to much for help next not enough but not low enough to need help. The government and the people should be happy this isn’t needed. But I have noticed two months ago the truckers were heroes today they are second class citizens. When you figure that out may you could write a story.

  • It is not a good use of taxpayers money. Help to Trucking companies should be limited to help with insurance and plate costs maybe some help in property taxes or a portion of the rent. A much better idea is to make sure the truck drivers get assistance with up to 50 dollars cd per night or. 75 percent of the room cost which ever is less. The wage subsidy is causing lower freight rates and pushed out a number of owners ops already and some farms who truck on the side. We need to fix the insurance companies leaving truck drivers in a bad spot. A better use of this money would set up a alternative insurance market and cover the costs for smaller bus and wheelchair taxi owners for this year and any smaller trucking companies that agree to take a limited number of people as many bus have shut down and the safety of a full airplane of people is in question.

  • I know my former trucking and ware house company i worked for take advantage of it and we never slowed down or laid off anybody. The owner was safe at his cottage while making his employees use a discussing hand scanning device to punch in and out.