April 22, 2020

In our last article, we provided an update on the federal government support programs for employers and employees. Here are the latest updates, current as of April 22, 2020:

1. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”)

  • The CEWS provides eligible employers with a 75% wage subsidy on eligible employee wages between March 15, 2020 and June 6, 2020, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week.
  • Applications for the CEWS will be open on April 27, 2020. The application details can be found here.
  • Calculate your subsidy amount to expedite the application process.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will be processing applications received from April 27, 2020 to May 3, 2020 on May 4, 2020. No need to rush to apply when the application window opens as applications will not be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Employers whose applications are approved through the automatic audit process can expect payments to be received within several days.
  • Some applications may be flagged for a manual audit which would extend the processing time – for example, those for high dollar values or where discrepancies are identified.
  • Please note that employees who have received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and who are hired back using the CEWS, will be asked to re-pay any CERB benefits received if they overlap the CEWS payment period.

More information on the CEWS can be found here.

2. Employment Insurance (EI) Work-Sharing

  • The EI Work-Sharing program allows employers to temporarily reduce employee hours and wages by between 10% – 60%, with EI Work-Sharing benefits providing income support during the period of reduction.
  • Numerous temporary amendments have been made to the Work-Sharing program to support workers and employers affected by COVID-19, including:
    • Extending the Work-Sharing duration to up to 76 weeks.
    • Extending eligibility in the program to employees considered essential to the recovery and viability of the business. These employees were previously exempt.
    • Reducing the previous requirements for a recovery plan.
    • Expanding eligibility of non-profit organization employers.
    • Expanding eligibility to employers who have in business for only 1 year rather than 2.

More information on the EI Work-Sharing program can be found here.

3. Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”)

  • The CEBA provides small businesses with an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 to help cover their operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).
  • Eligible businesses must have total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year between CDN $20,000 and CDN $1,500,000.
  • Business owners can apply for the CEBA through their bank or credit union. Contact your financial institution for more information.

Our previous articles on the coronavirus and the workplace can be found here. As always, please feel free to contact us if you need any HR help during these uncertain times.