Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program

Updated April 9th, 2020

The Government of Canada has announced details for the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program offering a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The subsidy would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
  • Eligible employers that suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
  • Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities. (Editorial note:  These seem to include municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals.)  Charities and not for profits are eligible if they can demonstrate the required drop in revenue.
  • For non-profit organizations and registered charities not as deeply affected, the government will continue to consult with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
  • An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
  • The program should be launched in the next 3-6 weeks, depending on parliamentary approval and the pace at which the on-line application process can be developed, fine-tuned and launch.
  • President of the Treasury Board Jean-Yves Duclos noted for the “cultural sector” that all businesses receiving public funds are eligible for the subsidy – this seems to imply those that receive government grants, rather than public bodies like universities, colleges, schools and hospitals which were identified as being exempt by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
  • No cap on how much an employer can receive.
  • Applies to active employees and well as those who have been furloughed because of a lack of work.
  • Charities and non-profit organizations can choose to either include or exclude revenue from government when calculating their revenues.
  • Organizations can calculate their revenues using either accrual or cash accounting.
  • Adjustments will be made if the employer/employee is participating in other COVID-19 emergency response programs.
  • Applications will be through a web portal accessible through organizations’ CRA MyBusiness accounts.

Editorial note: If your organization cannot demonstrate a 30% revenue drop, you may not qualify for the 75% wage subsidy; however, your organization may qualify for a program announced earlier that provides a 10% contribution to wages, through the monthly remittances to the Receiver General.  Organizations cannot access both programs.

Government provides further flexibility for employers to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (press release, April 8th)

The media release from the April 1st announcement is here.