Understanding the revisions and updates to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
ON JULY 21, the House of Commons passed Bill C-20, which extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program (CEWS), a key measure in Canada’s Covid-19 response plan.
The objective of the CEWS is to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers who have been laid off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and make it easier for Canadian employers to resume normal operations when the pandemic ends.
Bill C-20, initially released on July 17, substantially changes how the program operates and the amount of support that employers will be entitled to receive effective beginning July 5. The changes include:
- Extending CEWS from August 29, 2020 until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
- Broadening access to CEWS to employers with a revenue decline of less than 30%.
- Providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to employers that previously qualified for CEWS but no longer meet the 30% revenue decline threshold.
- Introducing a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers most adversely affected by the pandemic, e.g., in more slowly recovering industries.
- Ensuring that employers that have already made business decisions for July and August would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
- Addressing certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.
The redesigned CEWS for the extended claim periods has added some complexity in order to be more flexible and accessible to all eligible employers for their eligible employees. Accounting firm Baker Tilly Canada has compiled a detailed explanation and guide to the expanded subsidy, which can be accessed here.