Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) FAQ

The Government of Canada recently passed legislation that provides access to emergency measures for Canadian businesses to help manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is intended to:

  • Prevent further job loss
  • Encourage businesses to re-hire workers they have laid off as a result of COVID-19
  • Help businesses get ready to return to normal operations

What is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy?
An emergency measure to provide eligible Canadian businesses with the funds to pay up to 75% of current and new workers’ wages for up to 12 weeks retroactive to March 15, 2020.

How much is the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy?
The CEWS amount that an eligible employer may claim for its eligible employees for each qualifying period (being Mar. 15 – Apr. 11, 2020; Apr. 12 -May 9, 2020; May 10 -Jun. 6, 2020) is based on:

  • the greater of the total amount for all eligible employees for each week in a qualifying period from:
    • the lesser of:
      • 75% of the employee’s eligible remuneration for that week,
      • $847, and
      • if the eligible employee is non-arm’s length, $0; and
    • the lesser of:
      • 100% of the employee’s eligible remuneration
      • 75% of the employee's baseline remuneration, and
      • $847.
  • Minus, the amount the eligible employer was eligible to claim under the TWSE subsidy for the qualifying period;
  • Minus, the total amounts received by eligible employees during the qualifying period as a work-sharing benefit program;
  • Plus, for eligible employers paying employees on leave, they can also claim a 100% refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

Who is eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy?
Eligible employers include all non-publicly funded businesses (individuals, taxable corporations, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non profit organizations, registered charities, and any prescribed organizations who have:

(a) experienced a decline in of at least 15% of their revenue in March 2020 and 30% in April or May 2020, as compared to either:

  • The same month in 2019; or
  • For businesses where the year-over-year compare is not possible (such as for a start-up), an average of their monthly revenues earned in January and February 2020 against those earned in March 2020;

(b) a business number and related payroll account with the CRA on March 15, 2020;

(c) paid salary, wages, or other remuneration to an eligible employee between March 15, 2020 and June 6, 2020; and

(d) applied for the CEWS before October 1, 2020.

Where can I find more information?

Canadian Payroll Association

Government of Canada

Updated: April 28, 2020

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