how to apply canada emergency wage subsidy

How to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is now open for applications, so here's how to apply in six easy steps.

Check if you're eligible

The CEWS is available from March 15 to June 6, and it will provide a subsidy of 75 per cent of each employee's salary to a maximum of $847 per week.

An eligible employer includes an individual (including trusts), a corporation other than a corporation exempt from tax, a non-profit organization and a registered charity, as well as the following additional tax-exempt entities:

  • agricultural organizations
  • boards of trade
  • chambers of commerce
  • non-profit scientific research and experimental development corporations
  • labour organizations or societies
  • benevolent or fraternal benefit societies or orders.

Municipalities, local governments, Crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools, health authorities and hospitals are not eligible for the CEWS.

To be an eligible employer, you must have had a CRA payroll account on March 15.

You must also have experienced a decline in revenue as follows:

how to apply canada emergency wage subsidy

Canada Revenue Agency

You can qualify for one, two or all three claim periods.

The "general approach" uses a year-over-year comparison (e.g. comparing March 2020 to March 2019). The "alternative approach" compares the claim period (e.g. March 2020) with the average of revenue earned in January and February 2020.

You must use the same approach for all periods.

For more information on if you qualify using the alternative approach, please see the official calculation here.

Check which employees are eligible

To be eligible, an employee must be employed in Canada by you during the claim period.

If an employee did not receive payment from you for a period of 14 or more consecutive days in the claim period, he or she is not considered eligible.

Note that employee eligibility is based on whether the person is employed in Canada, not where they live.

Gather your documents

To apply for the CEWS, you'll need:

  • Payroll Account Number (note, this number must have been obtained prior to March 16, 2020) — if you have more than one payroll account number ("RP" number) you will need to do a separate application for each number
  • Payroll Web Access Code (not required if filing via My Business Account or Represent a Client)
  • Period covered by this claim
  • Number of employees

You will also need to be able to provide records (e.g. ledgers, financial statements, sales invoices and contracts) to the CRA proving your employee remuneration and decline in revenue.

And, you will need to provide a signed attestation that the CRA can request to see at any time. Penalties may apply in cases of fraudulent claims, including fines and/or imprisonment.

Calculate your CEWS eligibility

The CRA provides an online wage subsidy calculator that employers can use to determine the amount that they can expect to claim through the CEWS.

Create an account with the CRA

You can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account, Represent A Client or the Web Form.

If you're applying for the Web Form, you'll need to enter your BN and its associated Web Access Code. If you do not remember your code or you need a code for a new account, access the Online Web access code service.

Each portal will guide you through the application process, but if you need additional help, you can find detailed instructions here.

Wait for payment

You can receive your payment from the CRA either through direct deposit or by cheque. Payments will be sent out on May 5, and you can expect to receive payment on May 7 if you opt for direct deposit.

If you are expecting a payment of $25 million or more, you will have to get your payment through the large value transfer system (LVTS). You can sign up for that here.

Lead photo by

Ivan Radic


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