Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – New Rules for Subsidies for July 5 through December 19

COVID-19 Updates & Resources


To support businesses facing challenges due to COVID-19 economic slowdown, businesses, non-profits and charities are eligible for subsidy to help cover the costs of the wages paid to their employees.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides a rebate payment to help cover the costs of wages paid during COVID-19.  The program consists of two parts — the 75% wage subsidy which was in effect May 15 through July 4, and a base wage subsidy and top-up program which is in effect July 5 through December 19.   For official government information on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program please click here 

This page provides information on the CEWS extension from July 5 through December 19 consisting of a base and top-up wage subsidy.  For information on the original 75% wage subsidy from May 15 through July 4 please click here. 


  • Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations and trusts, partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non‑profit organizations and registered charities. Public institutions are generally not eligible for the subsidy.

  • Eligibility also includes
    • Partnerships that are up to 50-per-cent owned by non-eligible members
    • Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible employers;
    • Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations;
    • Registered Journalism Organizations; and
    • Non-public colleges and schools, including institutions that offer specialized services, such as arts schools, driving schools, language schools or flight schools.

Base Subsidy:

  • A base wage subsidy is available to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues, with the subsidy amount varying depending on the scale of revenue decline
  • This base subsidy provides funding for up to 60% of a wage, up to a maximum of $677 per week, for businesses with a 50% decline in gross revenues.  A smaller subsidy is available to businesses with less than a 50% decline in revenues.
  • This maximum subsidy will decrease as the year progresses:
    Period Max Base Subsidy
    July 5 – August 1 60% / $677 per week
    August 2 –August 29 60% / $677 per week
    August 30 – September 26 50% / $565 per week
    September 27 – October 24 40% / $452 per week
    October 24 – November 21 20% / $226 per week
  • All eligible employers can access this base wage subsidy if they experienced gross revenue declines in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.  For this new extension, businesses can compare the current month year-over-year or the previous month year-over-year to determine their revenue declines, using whichever month is greater.  For example, for the July 5 – August 1 period, businesses can use either July 2020 over July 2019 or June 2020 over June 2019
  • For those companies for which a year-over-year comparison would not be advantageous, they will still have the option of comparing current revenues instead to the average of their January and February 2020 revenues to show the revenue declines.  Starting in period 5 (July 5 – August 1) applicants can choose which revenue comparison model to use, but then must stick with that through to the end of the program
  • If you have a 50% revenue decline, you will receive the maximum base subsidy as noted above, but if you have less than 50% revenue decline, you can access a reduced subsidy amount.   To determine your subsidy, you take you % of revenue decline and multiply it by the “multiplier” for that period.  The multipliers are below.
  • For example, if during the August 30 – September 26 period you have revenue declines of 20%, you would get a 20% wage subsidy. (20% declines x 1.0 multiplier) But, in the following period if you still have 20% declines, you would get only a 16% wage subsidy (20% declines x 0.8 multiplier).
    Period Multiplier
    July 5 – August 1 1.2
    August 2 –August 29 1.2
    August 30 – September 26 1.0
    September 27 – October 24 0.8
    October 25 – November 21 0.4

Top Up Subsidy 

  • Employers that have experienced a 3-month average revenue drop of more than 50% would receive an additional top-up subsidy of up to 25%. To get the maximum top-up, your declines would need to reach 70%. This subsidy is not reducing over time like the base subsidy will.
  • The comparison would be the most recent 3-month period in 2020 compared to the same 3-month period in 2019 (or compared to Jan-Feb 2020 average under the alternative option)
  • Employers that have a 3-month average revenue drop of more than 50% would receive a top-up equal to 1.25 times the revenue drop over 50% cent, up to a maximum top-up rate of 25%.   In other words, the top-up equals 1.25 x (3 month revenue drop – 50%)
  • For example, if a business has a 3-month average decline of 60% during the August 30-September 26 period, they would be eligible for a 62.5% wage subsidy. 1.25 x (60% declines – 50%) = 12.5% top-up, which gets added to the base wage subsidy rate

Other Rules

  • Safe Harbour Rule
    • Because the new rules came out midway through the July 5 – August 1 period, there are rules that guarantee that a business is entitled to a wage subsidy rate NOT LOWER than what they would have gotten if the rules were in place from the original periods
    • This means that in Periods 5 and 6, (July 5 – August 1 and August 2 – August 29) an eligible employer with a revenue decline of 30% or more would receive a wage subsidy of at least 75% in accordance to the old rules
  • Deeming Rule
    • For Period 5 (July 5 – August 1) and all subsequent periods, an eligible employer can choose to usee either the revenue declines of the current period, or those of the previous period for the purpose of determining its qualification for the base wage subsidy
    • This essentially means there is an automatic qualification at the same revenue decline level for two periods in a row. It also means that you would get one last month of CEWS support even if your revenues show no decline in the current month as long as your previous month did have a revenue decline

How to Apply and Get the Subsidy

  • Organizations will need to apply directly to get the subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency here
  • The subsidy will work like a rebate, with each application covering the wages paid during a specified reporting period.  Applications open only after a period has concluded.