CFL Players’ Association secures CEWS package, opt out provision for players seeking NFL deals

The CFL Players’ Association has recorded a key win for its union membership.

After the league’s board of governors voted to cancel the 2020 season, the CFLPA has qualified a large group of athletes for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program.

We have a tentative package that shows 441 veteran players under contract will receive CEWS from July-Dec 2020 and beyond if the program is extended. They will also have their medical coverage extended until 2021 training camp.

The CEWS program is currently supporting nearly two million workers across the country covering 75 percent of wages for employees in hard-hit businesses. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended the wage subsidy until December.

Employers themselves can apply for CEWS through the Canadian Revenue Agency. It is expected employers will cover the remaining 25 percent of the employees’ wages. It’s one of the financial aid programs the federal government pointed out to the league.

At the same time, executive director Brian Ramsay stated the players who want to explore employment in the NFL can do so.

Players in the last year of their contract will immediately be able to be released if they so choose, however they will not be entitled to the ongoing medical coverage and we are still negotiating the CEWS payments for those players.

We are also in the process of negotiating for players with multiple year contracts and opt out provisions for those instances.

Ramsay expects to finalize the added clause within the next 24 to 36 hours. Linebacker Nate Holley has already exercised his option to explore NFL interest as Calgary released the 2019 Most Outstanding Rookie.

The players are moving quickly to take care of their own amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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