COVID-19 Update – Proposed Changes to Extend and Expand the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

July 17, 2020

On Friday, July 17, 2020, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced proposed changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”) including extending the program to December 19, 2020, and expanding eligibility to employers impacted by COVID-19 who may not have previously qualified for the subsidy.

The CEWS was first introduced in March offering a 75% wage subsidy to employers who demonstrated a 30% decrease in revenue and was originally set to run from March 15-June 6, 2020. On May 15, 2020, the CEWS program was extended for an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. Today’s announcement by the Federal Government proposes extending the program to December 19, 2020.

The proposed changes announced today include:

  • Extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020
  • Expanding the eligibility for the CEWS to employers who have experienced less than a 30% decline in revenues and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers
  • Introduction of a “top-up” subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers who are experiencing the most severe decline in revenue (greater than 50%) due to COVID-19

The government has shared draft legislative proposals of the changes to the CEWS and it is expected that it will be debated within the House of Commons next week.

Further details on the changes can be found in this Department of Finance Canada Backgrounder.

Also announced today, the BC Ministry of Labour has provided information on variances to temporary layoff periods, committing to a short turnaround time for applications made by August 25, 2020. As mentioned in our June 29, 2020 bulletin, the maximum length of a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 was extended to 24 weeks, ending on or before August 30, 2020.

The update on the Ministry’s site states:

Employers and employees can submit a joint application to extend a temporary layoff through the Employment Standards Branch (ESB) by August 25, 2020 to receive a decision by August 30, 2020. This is done through a variance to the Employment Standards Act.

For more information see:

All our previous COVID-19 information bulletins can be found on Roper Greyell’s COVID-19 resource page.