NOKTogether | Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy April 13

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a 75% wage subsidy for eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. 

Eligible Employers:

  • Individuals
  • Taxable corporations
  • Non-profit organizations and charities
  • Partnerships consisting of eligible employers
  • Those that see a 15% drop in revenue in March and 30% for April and May

Calculating Revenues

  • Calculated using the employer’s normal accounting method
  • Excludes revenue from extraordinary items and amounts on account of capital
  • Option to calculate under the accrual method or cash method, not a combination of both
  • Once selected employers must continue to use this calculation method
  • Affiliated groups are able to compute revenue on a consolidated basis
  • Revenue in Canada earned from arms-length sources

Amount of Wage Subsidy

  • The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid for the period between March 15 and June 6, 2020 is the greater of:
  • 75% of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week; and
  • the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75% of the employee’s pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less.
  • Employers are expected, where possible to maintain existing employees’ pre-crisis employment earnings.

Pre-Crisis Remuneration

  • Based on the average weekly remuneration paid between January 1 and March 15 inclusively, excluding any seven-day periods in respect of which the employee did not receive remuneration.

Eligible Remuneration

  • May include salary, wages, and other remuneration like taxable benefits.
  • These are amounts for which employers are generally required to withhold or deduct amounts to remit to the Receiver General.
  • Does not include severance pay, or items such as stock option benefits or the personal use of a corporate vehicle.
  • No overall limit on subsidy

Refund for Certain Payroll Contributions

  • 100% refund for employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan
  • Refund covers eligible employees for each week throughout which those employees are on leave with pay and for which the employer is eligible to claim for the CEWS for those employees. 
  • The refund is not available for eligible employees that are on leave with pay for only a portion of a week.
  • Employers are required to continue to collect and remit employer and employee contributions to each program as usual.
  • Eligible employers apply for a refund at the same time that they apply for the CEWS.

Eligible Periods

  • Eligibility is determined by the change in an eligible employer’s monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began.
  • All employers are allowed to calculate their change in revenue using an alternative benchmark to determine their eligibility.
  • This provides flexibility to employers including high-growth firms, sectors that faced difficulties in 2019, non-profits and charities, and employers established after February 2019.
  • Employers are allowed to compare their revenue using an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020 or general year-over-year approach.
  • You must use the same approach for the duration of the program.
  • Once an employer is found eligible for a specific period, the employer automatically qualifies for the next period.
  • The amount of wage subsidy received by the employer in a given month is ignored for the purpose of measuring year-over-year changes in monthly revenues.

Eligible Employees

  • Employed in Canada.
  • Eligibility for the CEWS of an employee’s remuneration is available to employees
  • Employees who have been without remuneration for 14 or more consecutive days are not eligible
  • This rule replaces the previously announced restriction that an employer would not be eligible to claim the CEWS for remuneration paid to an employee in a week that falls within a 4-week period for which the employee is eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.


  • Eligible employers will be able to apply through CRA My Business Account or through a web-based application shortly.
  • Employers will need to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees.
  • More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

Interaction with 10% Wage Subsidy

  • For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10% wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10% wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period generally reduces the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

Learn more about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

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