COVID-19 – Canadian Tax and Business News, release #33
Our COVID-19 Canadian Tax and Business News updates are our way of informing our clients, friends and business associates with recent information that may help businesses and individuals while coping with the outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our goal is to monitor the news and release relevant information as it becomes available.
The summary below is based on our understanding and interpretation of the announcements made by the government. The information below is in summary form and subject to change until the proposals are passed as legislation. Contact one of our professionals to discuss these matters in the context of your situation before acting upon such information.
On March 3, 2021, Finance released a detailed backgrounder regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) which are ending on June 5, 2021. The key points from the draft legislation are summarized below. Most notably, the subsidy rates for both programs will remain unchained during the final three claim periods. Although the legislation is still in draft form, the CRA will administer these programs based on the announcement from Finance.
To date, over $68.36 billion in CEWS and CERS have been approved. The estimated cost for the final three claim periods is estimated to be an additional $16 billion.
Subsidy Rates – CEWS
For the CEWS, the maximum base wage subsidy rate and top-up subsidy rate will remain at 40% and 35% respectively for a total maximum subsidy rate of 75%.
Subsidy Percentage – CEWS
|Revenue decline for the period||Base Subsidy Percentage||Top-Up Subsidy|
|Revenue decline 70% or greater||40%||35%|
|Revenue decline from 50% to 69%||40%||1.75 x the revenue decline in excess of 50%|
|Revenue decline from 0% to 49%||0.8 x the revenue decline for the period||0%|
The support for furloughed employees will also be extended to periods 14 to 16. Employers can continue to claim the employer portion of the required CPP and EI contributions. Furthermore, the subsidy per week for furloughed employees remains unchanged at the lesser of:
- The amount of eligible remuneration paid in respect of the week; and
- The greater of:
- $500 and
- 55% of the pre-crisis remuneration for the employee up to a maximum of $595.
Subsidy Rates – CERS
The maximum rent subsidy will remain at 65%. Furthermore, lockdown support under the CERS remains at 25% for a maximum total subsidy rate of 90%.
Subsidy Percentage – CERS
|Revenue decline for the period||Base Subsidy Percentage||Additional Lockdown Subsidy|
|Revenue decline 70% or greater||65%||25%|
|Revenue decline from 50% to 69%||40% plus 1.25 x the revenue decline in excess of 50%||25%|
|Revenue decline from 0% to 49%||0.8 x the revenue decline for the period||25%|
Revenue Decline Reference Periods
As noted in the reference tables, the eligible subsidy rate for an eligible business will depend on their revenue decline compared to a specific reference period. Since the programs were launched, the comparative reference periods were the same calendar month of the previous year (general approach) or the average of January and February 2020 (alternative approach). Since it has been a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would not be appropriate for the remaining claim periods to utilize 2020 as a revenue comparable for determining a decline. As a result, Finance will allow eligible businesses to calculate their decline relative to a pre-pandemic month under the general approach or the January and February 2020 average under the alternative approach Note that eligible businesses must continue to use the same revenue decline approach that were used in prior periods. There is no ability to switch methods for the remainder of the program.
Reference Periods for Revenue Decline
Mar 14 – Apr 10
Apr 11 – May 8
May 9 – June 5
|General Approach||Mar 2021 over Mar 2019 or|
Feb 2021 over Feb 2019
|Apr 2021 over Apr 2019 or|
Mar 2021 over Mar 2019
|May 2021 over May 2019 or |
Apr 2021 over Apr 2019
|Alternative Approach||Mar 2021 or|
Feb 2021 over the average of Jan & Feb 2020
|Apr 2021 or Mar 2021 over the average of Jan & Feb 2020||May 2021 or Apr 2021 over the average of Jan & Feb 2020|
|Application Due Date||October 7, 2021||November 4, 2021||December 2, 2021|
Finance is expanding the elective baseline remuneration periods available for furloughed employees and non-arm’s length employees for purposes of determining the CEWS amounts for these employees. The default baseline remuneration is the weekly average remuneration paid from January 1, 2020 to March 15, 2020 excluding any period of seven or more consecutive days where the employee was not remunerated. Finance is proposing two elective alternative baseline remuneration periods:
- March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019; or
- July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.
These alternative approaches are available for claim periods 14 to 16. The employer would have to elect to utilize one of the alternative approaches.
As we all try to stay safe, we need to remind ourselves business will get back to normal but in the meantime let’s all do our part to get to normal as soon as we can. If you have any questions or require further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.