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.
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.
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