Strict compliance of the CEWS eligibility

As of April 27, 2020, online applications have opened for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The CEWS provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks and is retroactive to March 15, 2020. The subsidy will be available at a rate of 75% of weekly remuneration paid to a maximum of $847 per employee. Your business must have experienced a drop of at least 15% of revenue in March 2020 and 30% for April 2020 and/or May 2020 to qualify for this subsidy.

The Federal Government has implemented severe penalties if a business is found not to have met to the CEWS eligibility requirements after receiving the subsidy. Audits will be conducted by the Canada Revenue Agency to verify the amounts related to the subsidy including revenue and salary calculations. If a business is not compliant with the rules, the consequences can include:

  • repayment of amounts received
  • significant fines of up to 25% of the CEWS received (and up to an additional 200% in the case of fraudulent claims)
  • penalties for up to five years in prison for individuals who submitted fraudulent claims

Furthermore, the individuals who have the principal responsibility for the financial activities must attest that the application is complete and accurate. As such, the individual(s) that make the attestation can be held personally responsible for the application that is filed and will also be subject to penalties for incorrect and/or fraudulent claims.

The CRA intends to publish the name of any eligible employer that makes an application for the wage subsidy and share information with government officials for the purposes of administration and enforcement of the Canada Emergency Benefit Act.

Applications for the wage subsidy will be open until October 2020. Once applications are submitted, it appears that there will not be a chance to make corrections. If you need more time to be sure whether you qualify for the subsidy before you submit an application, it is recommended you take the time required to properly determine your eligibility before applying.

We are here to help you navigate the CEWS application process. If you have questions relating to your application, or an existing application, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Click here to learn how to apply.

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