As anticipated, the Government of Canada has announced the extension of the current program rules for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy(CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to cover the 12-weeks between March 14 and June 5, 2021.
The maximum CEWS base wage subsidy rate for active employees remains at 40%, and the maximum top-up wage subsidy rate for employers most adversely impacted (i.e., down >50% revenue-wise) by the COVID pandemic remains at 35%. Hence, the maximum combined wage subsidy rate remains at 75%.
The maximum CERS rent subsidy rate remains at 65% and Lockdown Support remains at 25%.
The wage subsidy for furloughed employees continues to be aligned with the Employment Insurance Program (EI), so with a maximum of $595/week and employers will continue to be able to claim their contribution to Canada Pension Plan, EI, the Quebec Pension Plan and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan for furloughed employees.
Because we are getting to a point in time at which the reference periods in 2020 would themselves have fallen during the pandemic (i.e. March 2020 onward), the government will allow employers to compare their current month to the relevant (pre-pandemic) month in 2019 instead.
Note that if you are filing using February 2021 revenues, the comparison will be to February 2020 but if you file using March 2021 numbers, the comparison will be to March 2019. Filings for periods 16 and 17, whether using the current or immediate past month, will be compared to 2019 revenues.
You can also elect to use the period March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 to determine baseline remuneration for furloughed employees or active non-arm’s length employees.
Please see the government website for further details.