On March 3, 2021, the government announced that the CERS and CEWS would be extended to June 5, 2021. They said both programs will be maintained at current levels. This is good news for businesses who are still struggling. Here’s what that means below.
CERS and CEWS Extended June 2021 Details
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will be extended to June 5, 2021. It will still cover up to 65% of eligible employers’ rent. Also, the additional 25% lockdown subsidy top-up for hard hit businesses restricted by more severe public health guidelines will be extended to June 5, 2021.
The government also announced an extension for Furloughed workers to June 5, 2021. Here’s a quote from the government’s website regarding this:
“the government intends to continue to align the wage subsidy rate structure with the benefits provided through the Employment Insurance program from March 14 to June 5, 2021. This means employers who qualify for the wage subsidy would be able to continue to claim up to a maximum benefit of $595 per week per employee to support remuneration of their furloughed workers.”
The Prime Minister said, “This isn’t the time to pull back on support for workers or business owners, it’s the time to see people through what is hopefully the final stretch of this crisis and it’s time to get the whole economy ready to come roaring back,”
Hopefully he is correct and we are in the final stretch of this pandemic. But as already seen so far, the coronavirus is unpredictable and highly resilient. So only time will tell if we are nearing the finish line. Until then, please stay safe.
On Monday November 30, 2020, I got up and watched the Government of Canada’s fall economic statement. I wanted to see what further relief plans they had for Canadians who are struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The finance minister, Chyrstia Freeland, mentioned a myriad of things they were planning to do with some ideas being more concrete than others. Here are some of the highlights below.
Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement- Increasing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Rate
To continue to help businesses, the government is increasing the maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021. This means the government will cover up to 75% of employees’ wages during this time period. Originally, this had decreased, but this amount has now been restored to cover up to 75% of wages again.
Extension of The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) Rate and Lockdown Support
The current maximum rate of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy is 65 percent and businesses severely affected by a lockdown good get could get up to additional 25 percent of eligible expenses. This rate was to last until December 19, 2020 but now has been extended until March 13, 2021.
Potential Support for Airlines, Tourism, Hotels, Arts – Highly Affected Sectors Credit
The Finance Minister also mentioned setting up low interest loans in these industries of up to a million dollars. Those industries, as noted in the heading, are airlines, tourism, hotels and the arts. The terms of these loans would be extended over a period of up to 10 years. This will be called the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program.
Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement – More Support for Families
To help families with young children through the pandemic, the government will provide temporary support of up to $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of six for families entitled to the Canada Child Benefit.
The Government of Canada’s Fall Economic statement contained a lot of details on programs and ideas to help Canadians navigate through this pandemic and beyond. The above were just some of the main highlights gleaned from it. If you want a more detailed listing, please visit the government’s website. The cost of these programs will be enormous but the government feels it is necessary for the situation we are in. Will it help? Only time will tell but for many who are suffering due to covid-19, any help at all is good help. Stay safe.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extension was passed through Bill C-20 this week. Along with the extension, there are significant changes to the program. I will try to break down these changes as clearly as possible.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended until December 19, 2020. Here’s a quote from an article from CPA Canada below:
allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020
What does this mean? It means that the program is extended until December 19, 2020 but the details of the program only go to November 21, 2020. There are no details yet on how the last four weeks of the program will be administered at this time. So what are the newest changes?
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension Changes, Elimination of 30% Revenue Test
As of July 5, 2020, applicants for the subsidy will no longer have to have at least a 30% revenue drop to apply for the Canada Wage Subsidy. If you have any kind of revenue drop, you can apply. Many felt that the 30% drop requirement was too strict and due to that, many businesses could not apply. The hope now is that more businesses can apply for the subsidy. However, the subsidy has now changed, with the program now having two components, the base subsidy and the top up.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension Changes, Base Subsidy
As of July 5, 2020 , there will be a base wage subsidy for employers to claim for wages. For example, if your revenue drop was 50% or more then you will have a base subsidy of 60% of employees’ wage. If your revenue drop was 49% or less, then your base wage subsidy will be your percentage drop x 1.2 x employee’s wage.
However, this rate is only good for the first two 4 week periods as the rates drop off afterwards. For example, if your revenue drop was greater than 50%, your base subsidy rate in the 3rd 4 week period would drop to 50%, the next 4 week period to 40% and the next one to 20%. The same is true if your revenue extension was 49% or less. In the 3rd 4 week period, your base wage subsidy would be your percentage drop x 1.0 x employee’s wage. In the fourth period you have your percentage drop x 0.8 x employee’s wage. The 5th period you would have your percentage drop x 0.4 x employee’s wage.
1.2 x revenue drop (e.g., 1.2 x 20% revenue drop = 24% base CEWS rate)
1.2 x revenue drop (e.g., 1.2 x 20% revenue drop = 24% base CEWS rate)
1.0 x revenue drop (e.g., 1.0 x 20% revenue drop = 20% base CEWS rate)
0.8 x revenue drop (e.g., 0.8 x 20% revenue drop = 16% base CEWS rate)
0.4 x revenue drop (e.g., 0.4 x 20% revenue drop = 8% base CEWS rate)
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension Changes, Top Up
A second part of the program is a top up available for businesses that have lost 50% or more in revenue. The top-up increases depending upon the revenue to a maximum of an additional 25% subsidy which would be added to the amount of your base subsidy. Here’s another chart from the government of Canada’s website that highlights this below:
3-month average revenue drop
Top-up CEWS rate
Top-up calculation = 1.25 x (3 month revenue drop – 50%)
What is the safe harbour rule? It is when an employer who was on the program prior to July 5, 2020 and was receiving wage subsidy for their employee(s) of 75%. For the next two periods ending August 29, 2020, they will either receive 75% of employee(s) wages or the next base rate plus top up, whichever is greater. However, after August 29th, they would be subject to the new changes fully.
The government’s changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy does have the potential to help more Canadian businesses. However, it is a short term solution as the program has a “weaning off process” as it pays less and less over time. So there is definitely incentive for businesses to get up and going quickly.
However, there are unknowns based on how quickly certain areas of the economy can recover from the pandemic and if there is another wave or surge. At that point all bets are off and was probably why the government did not provide details for last period going into December. As that is the great unknown. The changes are a bit complicated and will take some time to understand and hopefully more details will be provided in the days ahead.
You might be wondering what is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program (CEWS) all about? It is an important question because many business owners are suffering right now due to COVID-19. They want to remain open and keep their staff employed, but many do not understand the specifics of this program that is supposed to help them. Let’s provide some clarity to this program.
What is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program (CEWS)?
It is a wage subsidy program for businesses whose revenues have been negatively affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The amount of the wage subsidy is 75% of employees wages for a 12 week period from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020. The purpose of the subsidy is to rehire previously laid off workers as a result of Covid-19 to prevent further job losses and put businesses in a better position to recover after the crisis passes. For more information, go to the Government of Canada’s website.
Canada Wage Emergency Subsidy Program (CEWS): Who is Eligible?
In a nutshell you eligible for this Government of Canada program if you are an employer who has experienced a reduction in revenue and had a CRA payroll account on March 15, 2020. The Government of Canada’s website has a list of eligible employers but the only ineligible employers appear to be public institutions such as municipalities and local governments, Crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools and hospitals.
You Must Also Have an Eligible Reduction
Besides being an eligible employer, you must also have an eligible wage reduction. What is that? You are basically comparing your normal monthly revenue with the the 3 months affected by Covid-19 (March 2020, April 2020, May 2020). However, there are 2 choices to choose from to use as your normal monthly revenue. (This refers to pre-coronavirus revenue.)
Option 1 is to use your revenue from the corresponding month of the previous year. This means you would use March 2019 as your normal revenue period and compare it with March 2020 and there should be a revenue drop of at least 15% to be eligible for that period. You would then use April 2019 and compare with April 2020 and there should be a revenue drop of 30% to be eligible for that period. Finally, you would use May 2019 and compare with May 2020 and there should be a revenue drop of 30% to be eligible for that period.
Option 2 is that you take the average monthly revenue for January and February 2020 and compare this with March 2020, April 2020, and May 2020. You would be eligible for subsidy for a particular month if there is a reduction in revenue of at least 15% in March, 30% in April, and 30% in May.
Here’s is a warning, however. Whatever option of comparing revenue you choose, you have to stick to using that option when calculating the revenue reduction of each month. You cannot switch between options.
Who are Eligible Employees for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program ?
They are employees hired by you and who have not been paid by you for less than 14 consecutive days. Employees whom you have laid off can become eligible if you rehire and retroactively pay them. You must do this before you can include them in your calculation of the wage subsidy.
How to Calculate the Wage Subsidy?
At the Government of Canada’s website, there is an Excel spreadsheet and a calculator to help you calculate this amount. It is based on the following information below:
If neither are an option for you, use the Web Forms application with your web access code. If you do not have a web access code, you will need to provide the date of registration or the total income tax reported in box 22 of the most recent original 2018 tax year submitted T4 summary.
The government’s website says that you can get paid within 10 days of applying if you have direct deposit. If you are getting paid by cheque, this will take a bit longer.
Also of note, the Canada Wage Subsidy is taxable and therefore you will have include it on your tax return as taxable income.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program may appear to be a complicated and detailed program to apply for. However, it could be very beneficial as it helps you cover most of your employees’ wages for a 3 month period. One benefit is that you can get money fairly quickly once you apply. It is something that businesses in Canada should seriously look into. Because it could make the difference between staying open and closing for good.