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In first few hours, 10,000 employers have applied for wage subsidy: Trudeau

Prime minister also clarifies that, because CEWS is retroactive, workers can't receive wage subsidy and CERB for same period


April 27, 2020
By Todd Humber


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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians in front of his residence, Rideau Cottage, in Ottawa. (Photo: PMO/Screen Grab)

The online portal to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy opened at 6 a.m. ET this morning, and in the first few hours more than 10,000 employers have applied, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

That number is expected to swell, as Trudeau pointed out that the online calculator designed to provide information to employers has been viewed more than 300,000 times since it launched last week.

“The first payments should begin to arrive on May 7,” he said, and he urged employers to register for direct deposit with the Canada Revenue Agency so the cash can come sooner than later.

He cited the example of Focus on Nature, a not-for-profit in Guelph, Ont., as proof the CEWS is working. It would have been forced to layoff all staff, but “thanks to the wage subsidy they can now keep their employees on the payroll and keep teaching kids about nature. And there are so many more stories just like this one.”

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CERB or CEWS: You can’t have both

The prime minister tried to clear confusion for workers who may have already applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) — the $2,000 per month payment for those who have lost work due to COVID-19 but otherwise wouldn’t receive EI — and who now might be getting the CEWS through their employers.

Because the CEWS is retroactive to March 15, some workers who lost work and received the CERB may end up getting recalled by their employers and receiving back pay from that date. But the message from Ottawa to those workers is clear: You can’t collect both CERB and CEWS for the same period.

“It is one or the other,” he said. “People should keep that in mind. If you’re getting both, you should probably put one of them aside so that you can pay that back.”

The federal government has a clear record of who is getting what, he said. There is another application period coming up for the CERB and workers who are now back on their employer’s payroll should not be applying, he said.

More information

For more information about the CEWS, see https://www.talentcanada.ca/details-on-the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy-for-employers/