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OTTAWA — The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was passed and received Royal Assent on April 11. This legislation includes the additional flexibilities announced on April 8, as well as further refinements. Full details on the program are available at canada.ca.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the House of Commons, as well as Honourable Senators, for working quickly and cooperatively together to pass this vital legislation that will support Canadians during this critical time,” says Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “The CEWS will provide the needed support to help workers and businesses through this crisis and to position them to recover more quickly when it is over. The government will continue to do whatever it takes to support Canadians and the economy during this unprecedented global pandemic.”

The legislation provides the government with the ability to extend the program until Sept. 30, 2020, as well as the ability to change the Required Revenue Reduction criteria and subsidy amount during an extended term.

“Fulfilling a key ask from Restaurants Canada, businesses will no longer be restricted to applying for this wage subsidy only up until June 6,” Shanna Munro, president & CEO, Restaurants Canada said in a statement. “Not only will this provide welcome support for restaurants that will need this assistance to rehire staff once dine-in services are permitted to resume, it will also help seasonal businesses that have not yet begun their operations for 2020 with any hardships they might face.”

Eligible employers will be able to apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal. Employers will need to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available soon.

For employers that are eligible for both the CEWS and the 10-per-cent wage subsidy originally included in the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, any benefit from the 10-per-cent wage subsidy for a specific period reduces the amount available to be claimed under the CEWS in that same period.

On April 9, the Finance Minister and Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, also announced the launch of the Canada Emergency Business Account.

“Starting today, small-business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions. Businesses should access the Canada Emergency Business Account through their primary lender, where they have a pre-existing relationship,” reads a joint statement. “We strongly encourage businesses affected by COVID-19 to contact their primary lender, whether a bank or credit union, to discuss how they can benefit from the Canada Emergency Business Account.”

The Canada Emergency Business Account is part of the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), which will provide a total of $65 billion in loans to small- and medium-sized businesses.

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