Some CFL teams withholding CEWS payments from players: CFLPA memo

Photo edit: 3DownNation

The CFL and the CFL Players’ Association are at odds over Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy payments.

The CFLPA issued the following memo to his union membership detailing the situation. It was obtained on Sunday evening by 3DownNation.

Paragraph 16 of the Memorandum of Agreement we signed with the league reads:

“CEWS – All members who are eligible will receive the wage subsidy retroactive to May 16th 2021. This to be paid no later than July 10th 2021.”

These payments are due today and we are hearing from reps that the teams are saying they are not respecting the Memorandum of Agreement and paying players their entitlement because your Players Association is taking the position that all players are entitled including rookies.

We have received an opinion from CRA, and our legal counsel, that indeed rookies are entitled. The League disagrees and we are actively in discussions with them and the CRA to resolve this issue, however our disagreement does not give them the right to withhold payments to the rest of the players.

There is no reason the teams can’t pay veteran players and continue to seek clarity the issue of rookies. In fact, we are being told that some teams have already made this payment.

We have made ourselves available to meet with them today and will immediately file a grievance on this flagrant violation.

Please share this information with your teammates immediately as an update to the situation. We will continue to share information as it becomes available. 

The CEWS program has supported millions of workers across the country covering 75 percent of wages for employees in hard-hit businesses. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continually extended the program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 in 2020.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.