Employers to have easier time accessing coronavirus wage subsidy program

The federal government will now only require employers to demonstrate a 15 per cent drop in revenue during the month of March due to the coronavirus to be able to access the new 75 per cent emergency wage subsidy.

For all subsequent months that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is available, employers will be required to show a revenue drop of at least 30 per cent that can be attributed to the pandemic.

The government also said it would allow employers to measure their revenues on either an earned or received basis, to recognize that the time between earning and receiving payment can be highly variable. Registered charities and non-profit organizations will benefit from that flexibility and from being able to choose whether to include or exclude government funding in their revenue calculations.

Read: Feds introduce 75% wage subsidy to help employers keep staff during coronavirus

Employers can calculate their change in revenue for March, April and May 2020 to the same time period in 2019, or to an average of their revenue in the months of January and February 2020.

The subsidy will apply to the first $58,700 of an employee’s earnings, up to $847 per week. The goal of the subsidy, which will last from March 15 to June 6, 2020, is to allow employers to retain their staff during the pandemic. Employers of all sizes, as well as non-profit and charitable organizations, can apply.

“The government will continue to do whatever it takes to support Canadians and the economy during this very difficult time,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau, in a press release. “We are listening to the feedback that Canadians and the business community have provided and will make sure this subsidy serves the needs of Canadians.”

Read: Coronavirus emergency response benefit doesn’t go far enough, say gig workers

In addition, the government announced that employers eligible for the wage subsidy will be entitled to receive a 100 per cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to employment insurance, the Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan, as well as the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. The refund will apply to wages paid to furloughed employees during the time that employers are accessing the subsidy.