Updates on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Andrea Risk
Posted April 1, 2020 Category: Businesses


While further clarity will undoubtedly be forthcoming, this is what we know so far about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy:

  • available for three months: March, April and May
  • maximum subsidy of $847 per week per employee
  • eligible employers include large and small organizations, whether they be individuals, partnerships, corporations, non-profits, and charitable organizations
  • the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy cannot be applied for employees in receipt of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • publicly-funded entities not eligible
  • employer must have suffered at least a 30% reduction in gross revenue in March, April and May 2020 compared to the same months in 2019
  • employers are expected to do everything possible to pay the remaining 25% of wages, and employers must “attest” to that (presumably as part of the application process)
  • application will be made through an online portal at CRA that is anticipated to be launched “soon” (estimated to be within 3-6 weeks), and applications must be made monthly for each of the three months
  • funds are expected to be available in about six weeks’ time
  • any fraudulent or other inappropriate abuse of the program will result in severe consequences for the employer
  • other programs to assist businesses were also mentioned, and we are repeating this as a reminder to you all, including the Canada Emergency Business Account, the deferral of taxes (GST, HST, customs and excise) for three months, and the deferral of the tax filing deadline


The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be extended to employees who have not applied for EI benefits or who do not qualify for EI benefits.  The application portal has been created but will not be active until April 6.  You can find it here: Canada/gc.ca/coronavirus-CERB.

Interestingly, when you type that into your browser you are automatically redirected to a page within the EI platform here.

Employees in receipt of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit must confirm month by month that they are unemployed.

On a completely unrelated note, we thought we’d pass along some good news.  One of our clients applied for a SUB plan on Friday March 27 and received approval the following Monday (March 30).  For those of you thinking it’s too late, it may not be.  

We will continue to keep you posted. The Prime Minster indicated today that he will be recalling Parliament in order to pass additional relief legislation, so new things will be coming.

Keep safe.

The Labour & Employment Team at Cunningham Swan

Andrea Risk
Posted April 1, 2020 Category: Businesses

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