cerb canada

Businesses in Canada say staff are refusing to return to work because of CERB

Canadian employers are facing a significant challenge rehiring or finding the workers they need to safely reopen their businesses, according to the results of a new survey. 

In a study conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), more than one-quarter of small firms reported staff members refusing to return to work, with preference for CERB being the top reason given.

Of those who refused to return, 62 per cent said they would prefer to stay on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. 

Other reasons cited were concern over their own physical health or that of their family (47 per cent), concern about childcare obligations  (27 per cent) and concern about taking public transport (seven per cent).

Some workers said they felt there were not enough hours or work available (16 per cent), while 11 per cent preferred to stay on the Canada Emergency Student Benefit

"It is clear that CERB has created a disincentive to return to work for some staff, especially in industries like hospitality and personal services," said CFIB president Dan Kelly. 

"CERB was created as emergency support for workers who had lost their job due to the pandemic, not to fund a summer break. This is why it is critical that all parties support the government's proposed change to end CERB benefits when an employer asks a worker to return to work."

CFIB is now urging the government to make changes to the federal aid programs, which would ensure that Canadians can safely transition from CERB to work using the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). 

Kelly added: "Many workers can't go back to work yet for valid reasons, but changes are needed to key support programs to help employers reopen and rehire their teams. There is no recovery without getting Canadians back to work."

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