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Social Justice and Community Engagement


Corporate welfare has covertly thrived throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing society’s elite with “financial relief” in the form of government subsidies. This method of financial relief is known as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and continues to be used as a method in which corporate welfare transpires. CEWS, a publicly funded benefit initially implemented with the intention to ease businesses back into normal operations, promote their lifespans, prevent additional job losses and re-hire workers, has additionally been used as a means for large, highly solvent corporations to dispense dividends to shareholders and executives amid the economically challenging pandemic of COVID-19. Considering COVID-19 amplified economic insecurity to exceptional levels, questioning and scrutinizing the allocation of tax dollars has been an especially intensified public practice warranting additional research.

According to the Government of Canada, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit has totalled $74.08 billion in CERB payments alone, while the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy totalled $94.43 billion in approved subsides as of October 3rd, 2021 (Canada Revenue Agency, 2021). Despite the $20.35 billion-dollar difference, the research on Canada’s attitudes towards CERB has far out-paced that on CEWS. To help correct this, this research will seek to reveal how Canadians perceive CEWS and its distribution to large corporations in order to bridge the existing gap between government funded support programs and individual perceptions, as well as contribute to the vast and emerging literature surrounding COVID-19. As such, this research not only intends to uncover and showcase Canadian perceptions towards CEWS and corporate welfare, but to also facilitate discussion regarding the study’s findings while recommending social justice based solutions that stem from the research discoveries.


Supervisor: Robert Kristofferson

Second Reader: Kenneth Werbin