The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy is Live!

The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (aka CEWS, the 75% wage subsidy) is now live! Applications are now being accepted to claim a refund of 75% of wages paid between March 18 – Apr 11th if you experienced a 15% revenue (or customer receipts) drop in March 2020 as compared to either a) March 2019 or b) an average of Jan/Feb 2020.

Calculating the subsidy is straight forward when employees are all salaried, have not had salary rollbacks, have not been recently hired or terminated and essentially remain status quo. When any changes have occurred however, the math gets trickier and is easily subject to human error. We have created excel templates and have implemented a 2 person review process to help minimize errors.

Interpreting the details is also subject to different perspectives. The wording on CRA sites is changing almost daily so it appears as though CRA is also reacting in real time to questions and amending wording which can change interpretations. At this point I’m giving up with the understanding that we’ll adapt and change as we go and that may mean changes in the future to ‘correct’ for information reported previously based on earlier versions of the guidance. It is what it is.

We are motivated to support the spirit of the subsidy, but we are not in the business of making moral or ethical judgements. This subsidy requires an Attestation to be signed and held by the “individual who has principal responsibility for the financial activities of the employer”. In case you were wondering – this is NOT numbercrunch. Although we are clearly here to support and ideally empower you throughout this COVID-19 journey, we do not replace you. In most situations we are able to support clients by drafting the subsidy calculation and submitting the claim through the Represent the Client portal, but only once you have signed the Attestation form confirming the final amount.

Once submitted, funds should take up to 10 business days to be received. And we’ll rinse and repeat for the 2nd claim. For those who are eligible for March, you are automatically eligible for April.

When submitting we have to offset with the 10% subsidy. At this point there are still uncertainties on the details of the 10% subsidy and reporting requirements are still not set by CRA, but as mentioned earlier, we’ll do our best to adapt and update as more information develops.

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