Earlier this week, the names of organizations that applied for and received the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) were made available to the public by the Canadian Revenue Agency. One can search the names of businesses and other entities by querying the database, or by checking the full list of recipients here. The only firms that were not made publicly available for privacy purposes were sole proprietorships.
Dependent on the degree of revenue loss, the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy covers up to 75% of payroll costs for a business, non-profit, or charity. According to a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office released on December 16th, it is estimated that the cost of CEWS for 2020 is approximately $85.5 billion, with an additional $13.9 billion price tag for 2021. A portion of this money will be recouped through taxes, bringing the current estimated cost for the program to come out to a total of $86 billion.
In Canada, the wage subsidy goes to the institution, not the worker. Over 365,000 organizations have taken advantage of this program so far. Ineligible groups may have to repay the subsidy plus a penalty, with the possibility of imprisonment for those found defrauding the system. Of all COVID-19 support programs rolled about by the government, CEWS has been the most costly.
Since the database was made public, it has been found that CEWS-recipients include political parties, controversial non-profits and charities, foreign state-owned enterprises, and profitable dividend-paying corporations. AMI-owned Postmedia, the recently-purchased Torstar Group, and New Tang Dynasty’s The Epoch Times were all given financial assistance from the government as well.
The federal Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat, and Green parties took in a minimum of $2.9 million from CEWS, according to iPolitics. Four provincial parties also collected funds from this program. This includes the United Conservative Party in Alberta, the Alberta Liberal Party, the Prince Edward Island Liberal Party, and the British Columbia Green Party. Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Erin O’Toole, promised that the party would pay back the money they took. iPolitics reports that, as of November, only the Green Party and NDP were still receiving the wage subsidy.
Controversial groups, such as those advocating against abortion using graphic materials, also obtained the CEWS. This includes the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform and the Campaign Life Coalition. The Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform has a display called the Genocide Awareness Project, comparing abortions to the Holocaust, that is shown at universities. The Campaign Life Coalition is known for its outspoken opposition to the Conversion Therapy Ban and abortion.
State-owned companies and organizations linked to entities such as the Chinese Communist Party also had their employees’ wages subsidized. Entities named include the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Mobile, and the Canada China Business Council. Since this information became public, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government will be reviewing the program criteria. No details have been provided on whether or not the government will be asking for restitution. On a related note, many Canadians have recently come by letters from the CRA asking for repayment of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. While it was admitted that the CRA miscommunicated eligibility criteria during the program’s roll-out, it has been made clear that many affected Canadians will be expected to return these funds.
Corporations that secured the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy faced no restrictions on executive compensation or returning profits to shareholders. As a result, some have distributed dividends and performed share buy-backs as a way to direct earnings to their shareholders. Corus Entertainment, BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises), and Rogers Communications were among those that did this while collecting CEWS. According to an analysis performed by CBC News, 213 corporations trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange indicated that they took part in the wage subsidy program. 53 of these public companies disclosed receiving more than $10 million, and 30 of them collectively gave out nearly $2 billion in total to shareholders. This does not include share buy-backs. CBC News also found that thirteen firms had a higher net income this year than they did in 2019. Data published by the Canadian Government showed that 35% of wage-subsidy payouts went to organizations with more than 250 employees. The data shows that, for many months, the average amount these larger corporations accepted from the tax-payer funded program was over $2200 per employee.
Questions have been raised about the efficacy of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program, particularly the number of jobs it may actually be saving. Economists and accounting experts that CBC spoke to were not able to draw definitive conclusions. That being said, with the wage subsidy being applied to all workers in an affected business and not just those at risk of being laid off, there are indications that the program isn’t helping the employees who need it most. Michael Smart, economist at the University of Toronto, told CBC News that he estimates that this inefficiency is costing the government $14,500 per month for every job saved.
This money goes towards the business’s profits, not the employee.
“The danger with this program is that we’re spending a lot to save a relatively small number of jobs,” Smart said to CBC News.
References – Rogers, Bank of China, Anti-Abortion Groups Take CEWS
- CEWS Registry
- CEWS Registry Results – All Recipients (excluding sole proprietorships)
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – March 2020 to June 2021 – Office of the Parliamentary Budget
- Consequences of fraudulent Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Applications – Kornfeld LLP
- Federal wage subsidy has cost taxpayers nearly $100 billion, says budget watchdog – iPolitics
- Eight political parties in Canada have received the wage subsidy – iPolitics
- U Of A Anti-Abortion Group Following Policy: President – Huffington Post
- STOP THE BAN RALLY REPORT – Campaign Life Coalition
- Officials mum on how much Bank of China, anti-abortion groups got in wage subsidy – Global News
- CRA sent 441,000 ‘education letters’ to Canadians who may have to repay CERB benefits – CBC News
- CRA admits ‘unclear’ CERB communications led to mistaken applications – CTV News
- CEOs raked in hefty dividends as their companies accepted CEWS, Financial Post analysis finds – Financial Post
- Why millions of dollars in pandemic aid is going to corporations making healthy profits – CBC News
- CEWS claims – detailed data – Government of Canada
- Shelburne’s Deck The Door Contest 2020 has a Victor!
- A Taste of Jamaica in Shelburne with Smokey Island Grille
- More on ‘Workplace Isolating’ in East Garafraxa Township
- East Garafraxa Public Works Staff ‘Workplace Isolating’
- Councillor for Township of Melancthon Asked to Resign
- Melancthon Councilmembers Asked to Rethink Pay Raise
- Melancthon Council gives itself a pay raise in 2021
- Melancthon Councillor Resigns after ‘defamatory assaults’
- Amaranth Councilmembers Move Towards Filling Vacancy
- Mayor Currie Questions Integrity Commissioner’s Value – Audio Clip
- Mayor of Amaranth responds to investigation report
- Amaranth Mayor Currie Speaks to Workplace Harrassment Report – Audio Clip
- Update on vacant council seat in Amaranth Township
- IS AMARANTH’S MAYOR CURRIE RESIGNING?
- AMARANTH MAYOR CURRIE UNLEASHES HIS FURY
- Amaranth Residents Call Out Mayor Currie’s Empty Threat
- Mayor Bob Currie Protests Donation to Food Banks
- IS AMARANTH’S MAYOR CURRIE RESIGNING?
- AMARANTH MAYOR DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO RAISE PRIDE FLAG FOR 2021
- AMARANTH’S DEPUTY MAYOR CALLS OUT MAYOR’S PRIDE INTOLERANCE
- AMARANTH MAYOR: WHY CAN’T WE USE THE RIVER TO FIGHT FIRES?!
- AMARANTH’S DEPUTY MAYOR FIGHTS FOR DIVERSITY COMMITTEE
- Amaranth Council Meeting Cancelled – Amaranth Pride Flag Recap
- Amaranth Mayor’s Pride Comments & Council’s Reaction
- ‘Trojan Horse’ Proposed at Fung Loy Kok in Mono
- Dufferin County Councillor Brings Religion Into Politics
- A Seasonal Holiday Market: Places to Spot and Shop
- Passionate Outpourings, A Life of Much Artistic Verve & Vitality!
- Dufferin Organizations Can Get Help Succeeding Online
- Shelburne Street Names Will Honour Black & Indigenous Past
- Robert Allen: A Man For All Seasons
- Orangeville Transit Hub Downtown Location Gets Nixed
- Orangeville Council Wants Access to Drive Tests Limited
- NEW DETAILS ON WE CHARITY ‘EXONERATION’
- MP Kyle Seeback Asks For Local Business Nominations!
- ORANGEVILLE USED IN MARKETING CROWD CONTROL TECHNOLOGY
- Stolen pair of shoes leads to over 1000 Shoes for Shelburne
- There is assistance for homeless men in Dufferin County!
- Dufferin News Contributor Gets 3rd at McMichael Art Show
- Santa Claus will be coming to Orangeville… on a firetruck!
- My Crafty Neighbour has a space with limitless opportunity!
- Town of Orangeville launches COVID-19 Community Recognition Awards
- New Grand Valley Pizza Place Opens Tonight!
- “Please…symptoms can widely range…don’t assume it’s just a cold!”
- Town of Orangeville Staff tests positive for COVID-19
- Epidemiologist Calls Out Upper Grand DSB
- Ontario teachers, exposed to COVID, may still go to class
- UGDSB Trustee Raises BIG CONCERNS Over School Lunchtime
- School Buses May Pose BIGGEST RISK to UGDSB Return To School
- UGDSB TRUSTEE CALLS BUSES “ROLLING INCUBATORS”
- IS ENOUGH BEING DONE TO KEEP LUNCHES SAFE IN THE UGDSB?
- VENTILATION AND HVAC IN UGDSB SCHOOLS
- WILL REMOTE LEARNING CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF BUSES IN UGDSB?
- UGDSB PROVIDES DETAILS ON PROTOCOL IF COVID HITS SCHOOLS
- ‘Glimmer of hope’ as Dufferin business community nears second wave
- Through the eyes of a Canadian female collective
- Robert Allen: A Man For All Seasons
- Marnie Cooke: “How do you turn off your ears?”
- The Artful Revival Festival – Social Distancing Applies!
- Streams Community Hub: A New Age For The Dufferin Arts
- Tony Rose Pool Closure May Decimate Orangeville Otters!
- Need Help! Orangeville Food Bank + Orangeville Legion
- IRIS R&D Group Responds: We Don’t Own FaceMatch
- Orangeville Under Surveillance?! What is IRIS R&D?
- COVID-19 Surcharge in Ontario?! Who Would Do This?!
- Orangeville Library Consolidation: Who Gets Hurt?
- Orangeville Food Bank Has Officially Moved!
- Is The Orangeville Banner Endangering Public Health?!
- Face Coverings Will Be Required If Entering Dufferin Businesses
- WDGPH Updates Order on Face Coverings
- Essential Worker? What’s it actually mean?
- Discussion on Development – Orangeville Councillor Todd Taylor
- The Dufferin Job Search Just Got Easier!
- Dufferin Speaks – Hansen Development: Discussion with Darrin Davidson
- Dufferin News – Videojournalism For Our Community
- Press Release: Dufferin’s Spotlight Production launches Online Community News Program
- Interested in Being A Contributor? Apply Here!
- Have a Tip for a News Story? Let us know!
- When You Advertise Locally, You Should Advertise With Those Who Are Local. Us.