canada cerb

Employers complain they can't hire people in Canada because of CERB

Businesses are slowly opening back up across the country and trying to recoup from months of devastating financial losses while also navigating completely new operating procedures in a world of social distancing. And some now claim they're facing an additional hurdle: trying to get their staff to come back to work.

While there are residents who fear that returning to the workplace may pose a risk to their health and safety as the threat of the pandemic looms, it also seems that some are not exactly eager to get back to business because they are potentially making just as much or more through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) than they would make by actually working.

Business owners are among those up in arms about the issue — but, others are pointing out that if the (taxed) $2,000 a month from CERB is more attractive than returning to work after weeks of isolation, perhaps some companies need to re-evaluate their pay scales.

Fraud has been a concern during the rollout of the billions in financial aid the federal government has been providing citizens, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated on numerous occasions that his priority was to first and foremost get money into the hands of Canadians who were out of work and struggling due to the health crisis.

Trudeau said last month that the Canada Revenue Agency will be retroactively vetting CERB applications to make sure those who received the benefit actually needed it, and that those who got it unfairly will have to pay it back.

The PM also continues to encourage businesses take advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program to be able to afford to rehire workers, offer them decent wages, and hopefully help people transition from CERB back to work.

Still, even with the help of the CEWS to pay their workers, employers across the country have said they've had trouble hiring new staff and are having to "beg" workers to return.

And on the flip side, there are those citizens whose workplaces haven't opened up yet, those who have children at home while schools and daycares remain closed, and those who are facing other issues that are preventing them from going off of CERB despite sincerely wanting to.

Both employers and employees are also in unprecedented waters right now: financial experts have pointed out that any employee who refuses to return to work is rendering themselves ineligible for CERB, as this can be considered quitting, and benefits are only available to those who lost their job as a result of the pandemic through no fault of their own.

There is also the fact that employers who laid off or reduced employee hours because of COVID-19 technically breached contract — but, if the breach of contract was accepted by the worker, "that change becomes a new term of their employment."

And then there are the seasonal workers, part-time workers, gig and self-employed workers that have added layers of complexity thrown into their current situations.

As we all try to return to a new form of normal, tensions are certainly high and things are already proving to be more than little rocky — as they have been this whole year thus far.

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