A Summary of Canada's 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy

Apr 2, 2020
min read

This article will be continuously updated with the latest information as we receive updates.

Canada's finance minister, Bill Morneau, recently made an announcement detailing the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Below we've highlighted quoted excerpts from the press conference and provided a summary point of view to each of the highlights. All quotes are from Bill Morneau.

“The proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy [will] provide employers who see a 30%, or more, decline in gross revenues since this time last year with a wage subsidy. A wage subsidy of 75% for the first $58,700 of normal salary. Up to a maximum of $847/ week/ employee. The decline of 30% or more will be determined by comparing your revenues, if you're in a business, to the same month last year. For March, April, or May, and you will need to re-apply each month.”

This means:

  • A 30% Year-Over-Year decrease in gross revenue from Mar/ Apr/ May 2019 to Mar/ Apr/ May 2020 must be proven. The requirements that constitute as proof aren't yet released. 
  • The wage subsidy of 75% for the first $58,700 of a periodic salary to a maximum of $847/week/employee.
  • The program runs from March 15th to June 6th for 12 weeks.
“You can apply online in a CRA portal that will launch soon. Funds will be available in approximately 6 weeks.”

This means:

  • The funds will not be available until Mid-May. The exact date hasn't been disclosed.
  • The 75% wage subsidy will be captured retroactively through a CRA portal that hasn't been launched yet. 
  • The funds will be distributed primarily through direct deposit as a credit from the CRA.
"This is available to Canadian businesses big and small, individuals, partnerships, corporations, that are not publicly funded. All Non-profits and charities."

This means:

  • The wage subsidy eligibility is broad. Most Canadian private companies are eligible.
“As an employer, you will need to attest that you are doing everything you can to pay an additional 25% of your workers' income. This may not be possible, and the system will be flexible.”

This means:

  • Companies will need to attest that they are doing what they can to pay the other portion of your employees' income (25%). 
  • Paying the other portion of your employees' income is a recommendation, not a requirement. The spirit of the message is to re-hire employees and keep the employer-employee relationship alive. Re-hiring at full income levels is preferable if possible, but re-hiring is the primary goal.
“Let me be clear – there will be severe consequences for any bad actor that tries to abuse this system. If, in this time of crisis, anyone attempts to use this money for fraudulent purposes, they will face severe penalties. This is a high-trust system we are putting in place.”

This means:

  • The government's saying that it will trust employers to determine their eligibility with minor review (likely to help speed administration of the subsidy), but they will severely penalize employers that did not truly qualify retroactively.

You can watch a recording of the press conference here, and you can find the official news release from the Department of Finance here.

While this press conference did not answer all of our questions about this 75% wage subsidy, there are still concrete takeaways and actionable next steps.

It's also imperative to differentiate between the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy & the 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy.

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy
Announced Wednesday, March 18th Friday March, 27th
Eligibility All Canadian private small business paying wages in the period All Canadian private business that can prove a 30% YoY revenue drop
Subsidizes 10% of gross pay up to $1,375 /employee and $25,000 /employer 75% of gross pay for the first $58,700 to a max of $847 /week /employee
Availability Effective now. Retroactive application for whole period available Approximately mid-May. Retroactive application for whole period available
Period of March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020 March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020
Facilitated Through a reduction in income tax remittance through your payroll provider Through an CRA portal application and subsequent CRA direct deposit credit

These are separate programs. Success in your application for the 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy would disqualify you from the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy (you cannot double dip), but we're encouraging all eligible Humi clients to continue to self-select into the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy until the time that they qualify for the 75% Emergency Wage Subsidy. You can read more about the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy here.

If you are eligible for the subsidy and haven't already indicated your eligibility in Humi Payroll, go to Payroll - Settings and select "Yes" for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy to indicate your eligibility. Humi is automatically calculating, applying, and crediting your maximum possible subsidy for each payroll run that you complete for the duration of the eligible period.

In order to continue equipping Canadian businesses with the knowledge and confidence to benefit from federal support, we're hosting a Q&A webinar with our payroll experts. You can sign up here.
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