To help charities and not-for-profits keep up with the fast paced changes to Canada’s emergency relief, we are sharing a news release made by the Department of Finance today (April 8, 2020) which provided further details on the eligibility criteria for businesses, charities, and non-profits for the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) (often referred to as simply the “75% wage subsidy”).
If you are unfamiliar with the details, here is a quick overview of what we already knew:
The proposed CEWS would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week, per employee. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy would be eligible, with certain exceptions including public sector entities. An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to make best efforts to bring employees’ wages to their pre-crisis levels.
As well, the Government is proposing that employers eligible for the CEWS be entitled to receive a 100-per-cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund would apply to the entire amount of employer-paid contributions in respect of remuneration paid to furloughed employees in a period where the employer is eligible for the CEWS. This will make it easy and cost effective for employers to rehire people previously laid off.
Here are the very welcome new details announced today for the proposed CEWS:
- To measure their revenue loss, it is proposed that all employers have the flexibility to compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
- For March, the Government proposes to make the CEWS more accessible than originally announced by reducing the 30-per-cent benchmark to 15 per cent, in recognition of the fact that many businesses did not begin to be affected by the crisis until partway through the month.
- In recognition that the time between when revenue is earned and when it is paid could be highly variable in certain sectors of the economy, it is proposed that employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Special rules would also be provided to address issues for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
- Registered charities and non-profit organizations would also be able to benefit from the additional flexibilities being provided to employers with respect to the revenue loss calculation. In addition, to recognize that different types of organizations are experiencing different types of funding pressures, it is proposed that charities and non-profit organizations be allowed to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue reduction test.
Parliament has not yet been recalled to pass the legislation needed to enact the CEWS.
 The full press release can be accessed here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/government-provides-further-flexibility-for-employers-to-access-the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html