The federal government has passed Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, which makes changes to the  Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program. For those so inclined, here is the full text of the Bill

New Criteria for Eligibility

Starting with period 5 (which began on July 5), employers will no longer have to show a decline in revenue of 30%. Most employers (as long as they meet the definition of eligible employer) will be eligible for the CEWS and will not need to show a revenue reduction of 30%, as was previously required.  

New CEWS Amount

For the first four qualifying periods (March 15 – July 4), the wage subsidy was 75% of the eligible employees pay to a maximum of $847 per week. The amount will now be different – generally lower – depending on the revenue reduction of the eligible employer. The new CEWS will provide a base amount and then a potential top-up of up to an additional 25% varying in cases where there is a greater revenue reduction. 

Instead of 75% all around, the CEWS will provide a base amount of 60%, 50% or 40%, depending on the qualifying period, where the revenue reduction experienced by the employer is 50% or more. Employers experiencing a revenue reduction of 50% or more will also be entitled to a top-up subsidy of up to 25%.

Where the revenue reduction is less than 50%, the base amount will be the employer’s revenue reduction percentage multiplied by a multiplier of 1.2 to 0.4 depending on the qualifying period. 

Eligible employers who were counting on the $847 amount for periods 5 and 6  (covering July and August) will receive that amount. 

Extension of the CEWS

The CEWS program has been extended until December 19, 2020. The criteria for period 10 – November 22 – December 19 – has not been released. 

Eligible Employees

Further details regarding paying the CEWS for employees who are on layoffs will follow in the Regulations. 


The changes are expected to spread the CEWS benefits more widely – though more thinly – across the economy. The new CEWS is fairly technical and requires some math! Call your accountants! Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation about the CEWS or re-opening your business.