COVID-19: Canadian federal economic support for businesses

  • June 7 – July 4 2020 (30% required reduction in revenue)

Bill C-20 introduced the following key changes to the program to ensure a safe restart to the economy.

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including the addition of qualifying periods and redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Eliminate the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold to promote economic growth and hire back of employees.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic.
  • CEWS Eligibility criteria expanded
    • Sliding revenue/support options: support for businesses who list 50%+ in revenue to 30% and under, on a sliding scale based on need.
  • Gradual decrease in support from CEWS
    • To prevent businesses from falling off an eligibility cliff and to acknowledge that businesses need planning security and this program has become an important tool for employee retention.

The reference period for eligibility is the same month of the prior year, or an average of revenues for the two months preceding the period in the previous year (for example, the reference time for period one eligibility is March 2019 or an average of January and February 2019). Once a metric is chosen, it must be used consistently.

Eligible employees must be:

  • Working in Canada;
  • Not receiving CERB for the period claimed by the employer;
  • On payroll, but can either be working or laid off.

Non arm’s-length employees (e.g. owners/ shareholders) will be eligible if they were previously on payroll.

As of April 27, 2020, eligible employers can apply for the CEWS through the CRA’s My Business Account portal. See the CEWS How to Apply page here.[1][2]

Beginning April 27, 2020, certain financial institutions will offer CRA direct deposit online enrolment for business payroll accounts through their websites, helping businesses get their payments quickly and securely. Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS. Employers are directed to visit the Canada Direct Deposit[3] website or their financial institutions directly for more information.

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