The Government of Canada issued important updates to its highly-popular Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program Friday, notably extending the program from June 6 to August 29.
CEWS helps Canadian private-sector employers keep staff on payroll or rehire laid-off workers by providing them with a 75% wage subsidy if they meet certain eligibility criteria. Originally, employers could access this support for up to 12 weeks, from March 15 to June 6. However, the program will now run for a total of 24 weeks.
In order to qualify for funding, employers must have experienced a 15% reduction in revenues in March (compared to the same month last year or to average revenues in January and February 2020), or 30% in April and May. The Government has now announced that it will consult with industry leaders over the next month to determine whether the revenue decline threshold should be adjusted in order to maximize employment outcomes.
Wages covered are capped at $847 per week per employee, but there is no limit on the number of employees for which an employer can apply.
In addition to the above changes, the Government also made regulatory changes to the program to enable more partnerships, Indigenous government-owned businesses, Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations (RCAAAs), registered journalism organizations, and non-public educational and training institutions to apply.
Finally, several legislative changes were proposed to the program, which would come into effect once enacted. These changes involve supporting seasonal employees and employees returning from extended leave, and clarifications on rules for amalgamations and tax-exempt trusts.
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