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Canada launches Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canadian government has opened applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), designed to help employers keep workers on board – including those in the on-trade – during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Canada has opened applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy initiative

The initiative will see the Canadian government pay 75% of eligible employees’ weekly wages up to CA$847 (US$602) per week, for up to 12 weeks. The scheme will be backdated to 15 March 2020.

It is hoped CEWS will prevent further job losses in Canada and encourage employers to rehire workers who were made redundant due to the pandemic.

CEWS will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on behalf of the government.

Diane Lebouthillier, minister of national revenue, said: “We are living in unprecedented times and CRA public servants have shown incredible dedication in delivering our government’s economic measures to see us through this crisis.

“We successfully delivered the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and are well-equipped to continue this important work for Canadian businesses.

“This CA$73 billion [US$51.9bn] benefit will put Canadians back on the payroll and help our economy stabilise as we continue our fight against Covid-19 and look forward to our economic recovery from the crisis.”

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau addressed the nation publicly after the application process went live.

Trudeau said: “We all know a local salon or a gym that’s had to close, a neighbourhood restaurant or shop that’s really struggling. And more importantly, we all know people who work there.

“They deserve a hand to get through this. And that’s what the wage subsidy is for.”

Bartenders across Canada have been struggling due to a nationwide lockdown.

The Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (CPBA) has launched a fundraising campaign to offer support to those in the trade who have found themselves in financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign, called Canada’s Biggest Tip Jar, was kicked off by Fireball Whisky, which pledged CA$45,000 [US$32,000] to the cause. The brand will match each donation made up to CA$75,000 [US$53,325].

To support the cause, visit

The UK government has also implemented a similar scheme in the face of the pandemic, called the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). It sees the government pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 (US$2,900) a month.

Earlier this month, the scheme was extended from three months to four with the inclusion of June. Applications opened last week.

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