The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through a rural lens, March 15 to October 24, 2020
View the most recent version.
Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.
According to a new study, nearly one in six employees in rural businesses had their wages supplemented by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) from March 15 to October 24, 2020. This accounted for one-tenth, or $5.6 billion, of the money dispersed by the program.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring led to the temporary closure of non-essential businesses across Canada, as well as to reduced opening hours and strict physical distancing measures for essential businesses that remained opened. In the months that followed, such measures continued to be taken in varying degrees across many parts of the country, according to the regional ebb and flow of the pandemic. To help businesses get through this unprecedented economic shock and to keep more Canadians in the labour force, the CEWS program was established to provide wage subsidies to eligible employers.
A new paper, "A closer look at the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: A rural lens," which is part of the StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada series, looks at which rural businesses received this subsidy for the time from March 15 to October 24, 2020.
One-tenth of the money dispersed by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program supports rural businesses
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provided $5.6 billion to rural businesses for the period from March 15 to October 24, 2020, accounting for 10.1% of the total emergency wage subsidies provided over this timeframe. These CEWS payments supported approximately 388,000 employees in rural businesses on average. By way of comparison, urban businesses received $50.0 billion and the program subsidized the wages of 3.4 million employees on average.
The manufacturing industry accounts for nearly one-quarter of all emergency wage subsidies in rural areas
The manufacturing sector (23.7%) received the largest share of CEWS payments among rural areas, followed by the construction (13.6%) and accommodation and food services (10.0%) sectors. The transportation and warehousing, retail trade, and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sectors received about 7% each.
Nearly one in six employees in rural businesses is supported by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
On average, CEWS subsidies supported nearly one in six (15.8%) rural employees and one in five (20.1%) urban employees from March 15 to October 24, 2020. The program benefitted a larger share of employees in urban businesses than in rural businesses over this time.
The average shares of employees supported within a province or territory varied by region. Among rural businesses, Prince Edward Island (22.3%), Quebec (19.2%) and Alberta (18.5%) had the highest percentages of employees supported by the emergency wage subsidy, while Alberta (23.5%), Quebec (21.0%) and Ontario (20.2%) had the largest proportions of employees supported in urban areas.
In rural areas, manufacturing and accommodation and food services have the largest shares of employees supported within an industry
The manufacturing (29.9%), accommodation and food services (29.8%) and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (24.5%) sectors had the highest average shares of employees supported by CEWS within an industry from March 15 to October 24, 2020.
The average share of employees supported by CEWS was higher in urban areas for every sector except management of companies and enterprises, where it was higher in rural areas. This aligns with results from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, which found that urban businesses (57.4%) were more likely than rural businesses (45.8%) to experience revenue declines of 10% or more across most sectors.
Note to readers
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Regional and Community-level Database is a custom dataset constructed with Canada Revenue Agency Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) microdata and other administrative data sources available within Statistics Canada. The database contains variables on the amount of approved CEWS claims and number of CEWS-supported employees, among other variables of interest. Data are available at sub-provincial levels of geography, notably rural and urban breakdowns, and by industry sectors and subsectors.
This release of the database includes eight four-week claim periods, beginning March 15, 2020, and ending October 24, 2020. These eight periods are identified with a separate variable within the database. A CEWS claim period is the four-week period for which an eligible employer can claim the wage subsidy for remuneration paid to eligible employees.
For more information, see Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Regional and Community-level Database and CEWS frequently asked questions.
A new paper, "A closer look at the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: A rural lens," which is part of the StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada series, is available.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).