OTTAWA — The Federal government announced Wednesday that it’s extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) into next summer to help businesses and employees who continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Speech from the Throne, the extension of the CEWS was framed as a means of creating one million jobs and returning employment to pre-pandemic levels.

“The CEWS helped people keep their jobs or be re-hired if they had been laid off,” said Governor General Julie Payette, who read the speech on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “But there is still more to be done. Unemployment is in the double digits, and under-employment is high. One way the government will create these jobs is by extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy right through to next summer.”

There was no mention of whether the program’s rules would change, but Payette said the government will work with businesses and labour to ensure the program “meets the needs of the health and economic situation as it evolves.”

The CEWS was supposed to wind down gradually in late fall, even though many business and industry associations have been urging the government to extend the support, particularly for businesses at greatest risk of closing permanently.

Restaurants Canada released a statement following the announcement, commending the federal government for “making supporting people and businesses as long as the pandemic lasts one of its four priorities for the upcoming parliamentary session. We applaud the government for committing to act on our recommendation to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which will ensure hardworking restaurant owners will be able to keep their operations going, employing as many Canadians as possible. We also welcome commitments to extend and build on other measures to support businesses struggling to survive under ongoing restrictions.”


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