A draft copy of the Government of Canada’s bill on the emergency wage subsidy has revealed the following proposed changes:
- Employers will be able to measure revenue loss by comparing March-May 2020 revenue to the same month in 2019, or may compare their current revenue to an average of revenue earned in January and February 2020.
- Businesses may choose to measure revenues on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received).
- The 30% revenue loss requirement has been reduced to 15% for the month of March only, to recognize that some businesses did not feel effects until part-way through the month. 30% continues to apply for April and beyond.
- Registered charities and non-profits will be able to include or exclude government funding in their revenues as they see fit for the purposes of the revenue reduction standard.
- Special rules will apply to corporate groups, non-arm’s-length organizations and entities, and joint ventures. These have not yet been announced.
- Eligible employers receiving the CEWS will be entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan. This refund would apply to the entire amount of employer-paid contributions in respect of remuneration paid to furloughed employees in a period where the employer is eligible for the CEWS.
This loosening of standards reflects the requests made from business organizations, including the GNCC. Legislation is still being discussed and new changes may be announced.