CFL teams stop covering 25 percent CEWS shortfall for players who switched franchises: union

The Canadian Football League isn’t willing to help a select group of players continue through the COVID-19 crisis.

The CFL Players’ Association sent a memo to its membership:

Many of you have been informed by your clubs that your CEWS payments have ended. In your situation, as a player who changed employers (teams) in the past year, the government will only cover 75% of the CEWS payment and in order for you to qualify for this money, the club would have to be willing to make up the 25% shortfall. Regrettably the Clubs are not going to make up this shortfall.

Your Players Association had a revenue sharing agreement from the Grey Cup Fan Base and had decided to use that revenue to make up the 25% shortfall so you could receive CEWS payments to date (Jul/Aug/Sept). Unfortunately, those funds are now exhausted and the Clubs are still not willing to make up the 25% required for you to qualify for the government’s CEWS payments. We will continue to press the CFL and the Clubs to make up the difference and when we have more information, we will update you immediately.

After the league’s board of governors voted to cancel the 2020 season, the CFLPA qualified a large group of athletes — 441 — for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program. Players who received signing bonuses or off-season money from their new teams remain eligible for the government funds.

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 in one of the financial aid programs the federal government pointed out to the league.

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 the summer through June 2021.