COVID-19: Canadian federal economic support for businesses


The CEWS will provide eligible employers with a 75% wage subsidy up to $58,700 per employee ($847 per week).

The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid between March 15 and June 6 will be the greater of:

  • 75% of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847/week
  • the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75 per cent of the employee’s pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less

This program will be applied retroactively as of March 15, 2020. The program will be in place for a 12- week period, from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020. On May 15, 2020 the Government of Canada announced that it will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020.

Amounts received by employees through EI pursuant to a Work Sharing Program and amounts received by employers pursuant to the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (see next row) will reduce CEWS amounts.

Additionally, the government has proposed to expand the CEWS by providing a 100% refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. The refund will fully cover these contributions for 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. This refund would not be subject to the weekly maximum benefit per employee of $847 that an eligible employer may claim in respect of the CEWS, and there would be no overall limit on the refund amount that an eligible employer may claim.

The subsidy is extended until next summer.

As of October 8, 2020, an additional $6 billion was added to the CEWS program expenditure because the maximum base subsidy rate remains at 65% rather than gradually declining to 20% in period 9, which ends on December 19, 2020.

As of October 23, 2020, the airline industry received over $1 billion under CEWS. Discussions of a bailout are still in the works.

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