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Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

What is the CEWS?

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a wage subsidy program offered until September 2021 to qualifying employers who have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19. CEWS is meant to prevent more job losses by helping you keep your employees on payroll, enabling you to re-hire workers, and facilitating a return to normal operations. If you qualify for CEWS, you will receive a percentage of your employees’ pay subsidized based on your revenue loss.

Most recent update:

CRA has extended the operational hours of the Business Enquiries line (1-800-959-5525). Agents are now available 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 5pm Saturday, local time.

If you missed the application deadline because of CRA or made a mistake in your application (giving you a lower CEWS amount), you can now amend or submit a late application within 30 days from the later of April 21, 2021, or the applicable filing deadline. This includes errors or mistakes with your application for periods 1-5. To find out if this applies to you, call the CRA Business Enquiries line.

See our CEWS timeline of events for all the wage subsidy updates.




CEWS Program Overview

How the program is administered: CEWS is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on a period-by-period basis, with each period spanning 4 weeks (this is referred to as a CEWS Claim Period). Below is a current schedule of CEWS Claim Periods open for applications:

Period 10 Period 11 Period 12 Period 13 Period 14 Period 15 Period 16 Period 17 Period 18 Period 19 Period 20
Nov 22 to Dec 19, 2020 Dec 20, 2020, to Jan 16, 2021 Jan 17 to Feb 13, 2021 Feb 14 to Mar 13, 2021 March 14 to April 10, 2021 April 11 to May 8, 2021 May 9 to June 5, 2021 June 6 to July 3, 2021 July 4 to July 31, 2021 Aug 1 to Aug 28. 2021 Aug 29 to Sept 25, 2021

Amount businesses can receive: There is no maximum dollar amount a business can receive from the program; however, there is a limit on the amount of subsidy you can receive for a single employee’s weekly wages. This limit changes depending on the claim period. For more details, please see the eligibility requirements below.

Program duration: March 15, 2020, to September 25, 2021

How to apply: Through CRA’s My Business Account, Represent a Client, or the web application form.

Application deadline: 180 days after the end of the claim period. The deadline to apply for period 12 is August 12, 2021.

Eligibility criteria: Nearly all businesses are eligible for the wage subsidy. To be eligible, your business must:

  1. Have a CRA Business Number issued before March 15 or a third-party payroll provider who submits your payroll to CRA;
  2. Have employees on payroll who receive a T4 slip (includes new hires); and
  3. Have a revenue loss within a claim period.

Please see the eligibility requirements below for more details.

How to calculate: Each claim period you apply for has its own calculation. Please see the eligibility requirements below for more details. For a quick estimate of your CEWS you will need to determine your CEWS rate and multiply it by your eligible employee wages to determine the maximum CEWS amount ($) that your business is eligible for.

CEWS rate (%) x (Maximum weekly benefit per employee x Number of employees) = CEWS ($)

Stay informed! The Federal Government tabled the budget on April 19, including an extension to the wage subsidy. We will let all CFIB members know once the budget has passed. If you’re not a CFIB member and would like to receive the CEWS updates by email, please subscribe to our email list.

CEWS Eligibility Requirements

Determine if your business meets all four of the following criteria.

CEWS Calculations

Frequently Asked Questions

Other CEWS resources

What is CFIB advocating for on CEWS?

What we have achieved:

  • CFIB got the CEWS expanded to a 75% wage subsidy program
  • CFIB has pushed for the CEWS to allow more firms to access it. These improvements include introducing a sliding scale of revenue losses; allowing firms to compare revenue to January-February 2020; and allowing them to use cash accounting.

What we're pushing for:

  • Simplify the wage subsidy and ensure business owners and their family members working in the business can have some of their dividend income covered.
  • Include new firms and those who got a CRA Business Number after March 15th.

How you can help:

  • We’ve pushed the government to make some progress, but we're still fighting for better relief measures. Add your voice today.


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CFIB members: Get in touch today.

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Our primary concern at CFIB is making sure you have the support you need to get through this uncertain and challenging time. We provide you with expert advice and ensure that you have all of the latest information on government announcements and available support.