News Article

April 8 COVID-19 Update

April 8, 2020

COVID-19 Update - April 8

During the COVID-19 pandemic we will be providing daily updates to our members with concise, relevant information they need for their businesses, employees and personal health.
For a list of industry resources, government programs, FAQs and more, visit our dedicated COVD-19 website at
For more frequent updates please follow us on Twitter @WCANews.
For past editions of these bulletins please visit the News section on our website.
If you have any questions about the pandemic, please email our COVID-19 hotline at

Federal Government tweaks CEWS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced some much-anticipated changes to the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy today, relaxing eligibility conditions while also shedding some light on the punishments companies trying to take advantage of the program can expect.

Details we received today include:
  • While businesses were originally asked to demonstrate a loss of revenue of 30% for the months of March, April and May to qualify, the loss of revenue threshold for March has been reduced to 15%, since the pandemic really began to affect businesses in earnest about halfway through the month.
  • Businesses can choose to show compare their March, April and May revenues against an average of January and February revenues, instead of against March, April and May 2019. This allows for new businesses and high-growth businesses to qualify.
  • Business can choose to demonstrate their lost revenue through accrual accounting or cash accounting.
  • Businesses eligible for the CEWS will be entitled to receive a 100% refund on employer-paid contributions to EI and CPP. This refund would apply to the entire amount on employer-paid contributions paid to furloughed employees, making it easy and cost-effective to rehire people who were laid off.
  • Businesses who receive the benefit but who are later found to not qualify will have to repay the money they have received. 
  • Businesses applying for the wage subsidy will have to designate an individual responsible for the application. If the business is found to have been taking advantage of the program fines will be up to 225% of the money received and five years in prison.

It's important to note that this bill has not yet been presented to Parliament - it's currently in the hands of the opposition for review. The Federal Government has not yet announced a date to recall Parliament to pass this legislation, but they have displayed a sense of urgency to get money out the door as soon as possible.

FREE WEBINAR: How to Work from home and thrive in a world with COVID-19

April 9, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust many of us into a world of uncertainty and forced us to adapt and navigate our personal and professional lives. If you are one of the many that have moved your office into your home, you have entered a new world of balancing personal and professional space while trying to strive for productivity. This is especially hard when there is work to do, a family to attend to, lack of structure and a whole lot of uncertainty.

In order to adapt your daily routines to meet the needs of your job and family it takes intention, focus and determination.  This one-hour webinar is designed to provide strategies and tactics to help people find what might work best for them and how to implement to not only survive but thrive through these challenging times.

CERB Applications Open Now

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit portal opened for applications Monday at 5:00 a.m. Central time. Unsure if you're eligible, or how to apply? Here's what you need to know:

Who's Eligible

The CERB is available to workers who:
  • Live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • Have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • Had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • Are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income.

If you've already applied for EI there's no need to re-apply; you'll automatically be switched over to the CERB.

The government is also asking that people stagger the days they apply for the CERB to prevent CRA from being overwhelmed. Here’s their preferred schedule, starting on April 6:

  • Born in January, February, March: Apply on Mondays
  • Born in April, May, June: Apply on Tuesdays
  • Born in July, August, September: Apply on Wednesdays
  • Born in October, November, December: Apply on Thursdays
  • All are welcome to apply on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays

Click here to apply now