Three-quarters (76 per cent) of Canadian business leaders say the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is a good investment to help the economy rebound and get Canadians back to work, according to a new survey by KPMG in Canada.
The same amount said they’ve relied on funds from the wage subsidy to keep employees on payroll and more than half (53 per cent) said the resulting reduction in costs has helped them deal with other coronavirus-related expenses. A quarter (23 per cent) said the CEWS has helped them hire back previously laid-off employees.
The survey, conducted last month, received nearly 300 responses from senior leaders in a broad range of industries and sectors, including energy, manufacturing, automotive, mining, construction and real estate, travel and tourism, professional services, telecommunications and media, retail, agri-food and not-for-profit organizations.
“Our clients have told us that the federal wage subsidy program is helping them not only to retain their employees, but also to cope with pandemic-related costs and rehire workers who have been laid off,” said Lucy Iacovelli, Canadian managing partner of KPMG’s national tax practice, in a press release. “While there has been an upturn in the economy, many Canadian business leaders are still uncertain about what the coming months will bring and welcome continuing support during this fragile recovery period.”
The federal government broadened access to the wage subsidy in July, making the amount variable based on a company’s revenue decline, with the maximum combined subsidy of up to 85 per cent for eligible employers. It’s currently extended until Dec. 19, 2020.
Survey respondents were split on which companies should receive CEWS support. Half (50 per cent) said offering two different subsidy levels of a base and a top-up amount is the right approach, while 48 per cent said the subsidy should only be available to businesses or sectors hit significantly by the downturn.
Some 44 per cent of respondents gave the program’s redesign a positive rating, while 24 per cent called it average and 17 per cent said the changes were negative.