Parliament Meets to Pass Emergency Wage Subsidy Bill
Today, the House of Commons and Senate met for only the second Easter weekend sitting in Canadian history to pass Bill C-14, legislation to implement the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
Prime Minister Trudeau called the program the largest economic support benefit since World War II.
All party leaders used the historic sitting as an opportunity to address Canadians on the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government now estimates the wage subsidy will be available in two to five weeks rather than the previously estimated three to six weeks.
Emergency Wage Subsidy Details
- Wage subsidy of 75% available on a maximum salary of $58,700 ($847 per week) for up to 12 weeks.
- Available to all Canadian businesses, not-for-profits and charities that see the required revenue reductions. Public bodies will not be eligible for this subsidy.
- Businesses will need to show a 15% revenue reduction in March and 30% reduction in April and May (compared to either 2019 figures or 2020 figures), or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.There would be no overall limit on the subsidy amount that an eligible employer may claim.
- Subsidy will be retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- Non-profits will be allowed to include or exclude government funding in their applications.
- Businesses may measure revenue on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received); once a method is chosen, they will have to stick to the chosen accounting method.
- Once an employer is found eligible for a specific period, they will automatically qualify for the next period of the program.
- The CEWS will provide an additional amount to compensate employers for their contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Quebec Pension Plan and Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of eligible employees who are on leave with pay due to COVID-19.
- The employer will be required to repay amounts paid under the CEWS if they do not meet the eligibility requirements.
Ontario Takes Further Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
This morning the Ontario government announced that yesterday afternoon they extended all Emergency Orders until April 23, 2020. The orders extended include the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging. New orders have been established for hospitals to use retirement homes for surge capacity, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures. In addition, efforts have been taken to support construction workers and businesses with emergency action to help improve cash flow in the construction industry.
The full news brief can be seen here.
The Ontario government has also asked for more businesses and innovators to submit ideas to help fight COVID-19. The full news brief can be seen here.