Circus News

Could Ex-Cirque Employees Be Deprived of Financial Assistance?

The ownership transfer of Cirque du Soleil could prevent 1,500 of its Canadian employees, who lost their livelihoods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from being entitled to the sums of a fund set up to help them, Radio Canada reports.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) mixed the cards on Tuesday in the Superior Court of Quebec, where the entertainment company got the green light to finalize the arrangement – except for one detail – to allow a group of creditors to take control.

“The discord centers around the US $ 15 million envelope promised by creditors to former employees, which is to be added to the US $ 5 million fund for contract workers – a rather rare move in a process unfolding in under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA),” according to Radio Canada.

According to the CRA, the US $ 3,000 offered to ex-workers constitutes income and not a donation, which will influence the benefits to which they will be entitled under the Wage Earner Protection Program. Rather, creditors believe that this is a gesture of good faith and that they could reverse their decision rather than paying amounts that will end up directly in the pockets of the federal government. In the event of this outcome, only former employees of the circus in the United States would be entitled to the assistance fund, Radio Canada reports.

At the request of Judge Gouin, the lawyers for the parties involved agreed to try to find common ground, without however guaranteeing that an agreement will be reached. A hearing is scheduled for Friday afternoon on this aspect.

Radio Canada reports that Cirque spokesperson Caroline Couillard said it would be a shame if former Canadian workers were not able to access the aid fund, stating “There is no one who was obligated to pay those sums for our laid-off employees, she said. It is a gesture of generosity. The ball is in the government’s court,”…

Read the Full Article in French at Radio Canada

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