Ottawa boosts CEWS rate

Employers can now access wage subsidy rate based on 1 month’s revenue decline, not 3

Ottawa boosts CEWS rate
The CEWS rate for furloughed workers will go up to $595 for the announced periods.

The federal government has concluded the necessary regulatory changes to raise the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the Dec. 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021 period of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program.

In addition, employers can now access the maximum subsidy rate based on a single month’s revenue decline instead of having to demonstrate three months’ decline, according to the government.

The rate for furloughed workers will also go up to $595 for the announced periods.

“We are raising the wage subsidy back to a maximum of 75 per cent, recognizing the early months of the year are the toughest for many businesses, now more than ever,” says Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister and minister of finance.

“Businesses and workers can continue to rely on strong government support, giving workers assurances about where their next paycheque is coming from and giving businesses certainty that they can pay the workers that make their businesses a success.”

In November, the government gave Bill C-9 royal assent, ensuring that the CEWS will continue until June 2021, with rates of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until Dec. 19, 2020. The government first introduced the legislation earlier that month.

The CEWS aims to protect jobs, encourage employers to quickly rehire workers, who were previously laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic and help the Canadian economy recovers from this crisis. Since its implementation in March 2020, it has helped more than 3.7 million of Canadians.

Canadian HR Reporter spoke with Sheryne Mecklai of accounting firm Manning Elliott in Vancouver about how employers can prepare for a CEWS audit.

Since its launch, more than four million Canadian employees have had their jobs supported through the CEWS with more than $54 billion paid out in wage subsidies as of Dec. 13, 2020, according to the government.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians should not be worried about repayments of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) repayments over Christmas.

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