The employment insurance section of the Government of Canada website is shown on a laptop in Toronto on April 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jesse Johnston
TORONTO — We need you to go back to work……if you can.
It is happening albeit slower then we would have liked but provinces across the country are gradually getting the green light to return to work.
However for some small business owners it isn’t as easy as putting the sign in the window, "open for business." According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) more than a quarter are reporting some of the laid-off workers have refused to come back to work, and many say the reason is that workers prefer to stay on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
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Staffing is a challenge. Some of the findings from the recent survey found 62% would prefer to stay on the CERB then work. While 47% still remain concerned about their health and what is a problem for many – child-care obligations are creating a barrier for 27% who might otherwise be back in the office, according to the results. The survey was opened on July 3 and the results were pulled on July 6 with 3,816 people taking the survey in that time period.
The CERB was an emergency relief benefit for workers who lost their job due to the pandemic and never intended to be a cash windfall for a summer season. The CERB may well come to an end this fall with the hope we shift Canadians safely from the CERB to employers who embrace the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to eventually unsubsidized employment. We aren’t there yet but in order for Canada to get back to any sense of normal we need Canadians to go back to work.
There will be no recovery if Canadians aren’t working.
It is one thing to simply want to collect a benefit it is another thing for those wanting to return yet who are unable to due to lack of childcare.
As the government looks to ways to support Canadians, child-care requirements and school reopenings need, in my opinion, to move closer to the top of the agenda. Children, caregivers and teachers need to be safe while getting back a sense of structure, socialization and orientation to their day. Only then are parents going to feel comfortable returning to work. We need those parents back in the workforce and those I spoken to have been torn between conflicting demands of home schooling and care and workplace challenges.
For those who have valid reasons for not returning to work, changes to the current programs will be necessary as the economy reopens. For those without valid reasons. it is time to come back to work.
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