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Featured Story > Federal Government Expands Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program

Federal Government Expands Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program

by Victoria St.Michael, posted on 8:59 AM, July 21, 2020

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced a second extension to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Program until Dec. 19, 2020, plus additional amendments to the program that will support businesses in the coming months as they rebuild their workforces. 

In addition to the extension, the program now includes two levels of support to address the uneven impact of COVID-19 across various sectors. This was an issue CAF focused on in our communications with the Department of Finance, as the apparel sector in particular was one of the hardest hit and continues to face a significant liquidity crisis. The 30 per cent revenue reduction requirement has also been removed, allowing businesses who have had any reduction in revenue to receive a subsidy proportional to their revenue loss. The new levels of support offered by CEWS are as follows:

  • Base Subsidy: Based on the scale of revenue decline; available to all eligible employers that are experiencing any amount of decline in revenues.
  • Top-Up Subsidy: Up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with a 50%+ revenue drop.

You must submit a separate application for each CEWS claim period you are eligible for. Current claim periods open for application:

  • March 15 to April 11 (period 1)
  • April 12 to May 9 (period 2)
  • May 10 to June 6 (period 3)

The CRA will be introducing a process that will enable employers to correct errors in previously submitted claims. Employers who have made business decisions for July and August will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have received under previous rules. 

CAF surveyed members in early June to determine whether an additional extension (or other changes) to CEWS would be beneficial. In the following weeks, CAF and other associations lobbied for the federal government to focus more on future-oriented programming that would better support employment and economic recovery. These changes will require legislative changes, which will be discussed when the House of Commons sits on July 22.

For more information on the amendments to CEWS, click here to visit the backgrounder by the Department of Finance. For more information on CAF’s lobbying efforts in this area, contact Bob Kirke at

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