Monday, July 27, 2020

Government of Canada announces Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR)

The Government of Canada announced on July 21st the establishment of an Essential Services Contingency Reserve for all critical infrastructure sectors, including the food sector. Beginning August 3rd, the ESCR will be accepting applications and will assist essential services providers outside the health sector that urgently require personal protective equipment (PPE) to obtain supplies and continue operations. Industry associations are encouraged to apply on behalf of their respective sectors. The PPE will be made available to successful applicants on a cost recovery basis; a wide range of PPE including N95 and KN95 respirators, surgical masks, and gloves will be available.

Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

On Friday, July 17, Finance Minister Morneau announced proposed changes to the CEWS that would broaden the reach of the program and provide better targeted support so that more workers can return to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts.

The proposed changes included in the Government’s draft legislative proposals would:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 per cent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.