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This week we received several important announcements from the Federal government relating to COVID-19 support programs.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”).

As a reminder, the CEWS is an economic measure which offers employers up to 75% wage subsidy (up to $847 per employee per week).

The CEWS is now slated to begin accepting applications on April 27, 2020, with payments expected to follow as early as May 5th for approved applications. As previously announced, the program will be run by the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) and applications are accepted through the My Business Account portal.

The CRA also updated their web site to include additional information about eligibility, and now also includes a calculator that provides employers with the ability to calculate their subsidy amount. It also provided an update on how employers may be able to make previously furloughed or laid off employees eligible for this program. To be eligible, employers must rehire and pay these employees before including them in the CEWS calculation. Employees that are re-hired and were in receipt of the Canada emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) would need to repay the CERB payment by following these steps. Employees who are rehired don’t have to work; they are rehired and are on leave with pay.

The Emergency Community Support Fund (“ECSF”)

The Federal government also announced this week that it will create the ECSF and pledged $350 million in support of local and national non-profits organizations that help seniors, the homeless, and other vulnerable segments of society.

Details on how qualified organizations may apply will be announced in the coming days.

Support for post-secondary students

The Prime Minister announced a $9 billion financial aid plan aimed at post-secondary students. Under the proposed plan students will be eligible for $1,250 a month from May through August. For students who will be caring for a dependent or a person with disability, the benefit will be increased to up to $1,750 per month.

Students who volunteer over the summer will also be eligible to receive grants between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the hours worked.

These benefits will be available to student who are either unemployed or have a job but are making less than $1,000 a month. Payments will be made through the Canada Revenue Agency.

The government has previously announced a suspension of all student load payments until September 30, 2020 and students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.

For an exhaustive list of the various COVID-19 related program please see this page.

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