Canadian employers whose businesses have taken a hit as a result of COVID-19 can officially start applying for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which helps eligible businesses retain and re-hire employees.

Through this program, the federal government will provide eligible employers with a subsidy of 75% of an employee's wages for up to 12 weeks to a maximum of $847 per employee per week, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.


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  • The wage subsidy is intended to enable employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position themselves to resume normal operations following the crisis.

    Starting April 27, employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives, such as owners, directors, or bookkeepers, can apply through Represent a Client.

    All claims that are approved through the CRA's automated verification process will be sent for payment on May 5, so that payments being made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers' accounts as of May 7.

    According to the government, some applications will require a secondary verification, done manually, and in these cases, the CRA may contact employers to verify the information. However, it is expected that these secondary verifications will take no more than 72 hours in the vast majority of cases.

    To be eligible, you must be a private corporation, non-profit organization, or registered charity; be able to demonstrate a reduction in revenue related to COVID-19 in a particular period that meets the qualifying criteria, as per the CEWS legislation, and have had a CRA payroll account on March 15.

    The CRA has once again partnered with financial institutions to enroll Canadian employers for direct deposit, and employers can now register business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the CRA through their bank portals.

    The federal government has said businesses can generally expect to receive their payment within 10 business days if they are registered for direct deposit on their payroll account.

    Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS.

    "We are living in unprecedented times and CRA public servants have shown incredible dedication in delivering our government's economic measures to see us through this crisis," said Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue in a statement.

    "We successfully delivered the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and are well-equipped to continue this important work for Canadian businesses. This $73 billion benefit will put Canadians back on the payroll and help our economy stabilize as we continue our fight against COVID-19 and look forward to our economic recovery from the crisis."