COVID-19 Updates to Canada's Response Plan

The government of Canada continues to make changes to the Covid-19 benefits to support individuals and businesses.  The following updates were announced recently: 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): 

  • The CEWS rules were passed into law on April 11, 2020
  • The application process opens on Monday April 27.  Payments are expected to start around May 5
  • Retroactive applications will be permitted, however, subsidy money must be claimed no later than September 30, 2020.
  • Business may apply using the CRA My Business Account , CRA Represent a Client or a separate online application (available April 27)
  • You are encouraged to register for the CRA My Business Account or apply for an online web access code ahead of time to avoid delays
  • The Government is recommending that you use the online calculator before applying to ensure you submit your application properly.  You can find the calculator here:
  • CEWS payments will not be available in respect of employees who have been without remuneration from their employers for 14 or more consecutive days during a qualifying period

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): 

The eligibility criteria have changed to include the following:

  • Allow individuals to earn up to $1,000 (before taxes) per four week period while collecting the CERB.  For the first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 for 14 or more consecutive days of the four week period.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their seasonal work as a result of the outbreak
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work as a result of Covid-19
  • Allow artists to receive royalty payments for copyrighted works produced before March 1st

In addition, a new temporary top-up payment was announced for essential workers deemed essential in the fight against Covid-19 who make less than $2,500 per month.  Details on how this program will work and which employees will be deemed essential for the purpose of the top-up, have yet to be released. 

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): 

The eligibility requirement for the CEBA was revised to allow more businesses to access the interest free loan.  Previously employers were required to have paid gross wages between $50,000 and $1,000,000 in 2019.  The revisions now allow businesses that paid gross wages between $20,000 to $1,500,000 in 2019 to be eligible. 

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA): 

  • This new program will provide loans including some forgivable loans to commercial property owners who either reduce or forgo rent for small business for the months of April to June.   Additional details to follow.

Support for Students and Recent Graduates:  

On April 22, the government announced a support program for post-secondary students and recent graduates.  This program is intended to provide eligible students with financial support over the summer months and continue their studies in the fall.  

The government is proposing to change the Canada Student Loan Program eligibility requirements in 2020-21 to allow more students to qualify for support. 

Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB):  

  • The proposed CESB would provide eligible students who don’t qualify for the CERB, $1,250 per month or $1,750 per month for those students with dependents or disabilities
  • The benefit would be available from May to August 2020
  • Students will be able to apply through CRA.  Additional details to follow.

Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG):   

  • Students who choose to do national services and serve their communities during the Covid-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for their education in the fall
  • Additional details will be made available on the “I Want to Help” platform in the coming weeks including details on how to apply for a national service position, eligibility and the different levels of funding that will be available

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions as to how either of these benefits applies to you or your organization.

NOTE:  Due to the rapidly evolving changes with respect to the Government’s Economic Response Plan to Covid-19, please understand that any posts written in the past may not be reflective of the current applicable obligations, rights and benefits of individuals and businesses.