New Federal Supports for Vulnerable Populations

As previously announced, employers will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) on Monday, April 27.  The Canada Revenue Agency will administer the program and expects to process 90 per cent of CEWS applications by May 5th, with direct deposits and cheques sent to employers soon after.

In preparing for applications, the CRA launched a CEWS webpage, providing more detailed information on employer and employee eligibility and how the subsidy is calculated. An online calculator has also been provided for employers to calculate their subsidy amounts, which will be inputted into the application. Very soon, the CRA will also be hosting information sessions for employers on the subsidy.

The CEWS provides a 75 per cent wage subsidy to employers of all sizes and is available to private businesses, as well as to charities and not-for-profit organizations who have had their revenue reduced by 15 per cent in March 2020 or by 30 per cent in April and May 2020. Employees who have been laid off or furloughed can become retroactively eligible, as long as they are rehired and paid before they are included in the calculation for the subsidy.

The federal government also announced enhanced support for Canada’s charitable and not-for profit sector with the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund. The funds are expected to help charities and local organizations deliver essential services to vulnerable populations, such as volunteer-based delivery of groceries and medications, transportation services for seniors or persons with disabilities, scaling up virtual and phone-based programming and providing training and supplies to volunteers to continue contributions during the pandemic.

Funds will flow through national organizations, including the United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross, and Community Foundations of Canada. Funds will be disbursed to local organizations serving vulnerable populations, including seniors, veterans, newcomers, children and youth, and members of Indigenous and racialized communities.

Additional Updates

  • Prime Minister Trudeau provided an update on the Digital Technology Supercluster’s $60 million challenge to support COVID-19. Over 300 submissions were received and the PM highlighted two of four projects that have advanced: DNAStack’s cloud-based network for researchers to share data as they research ways to improve diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, and Food-X Technologies’ e-grocery management system to ensure access to groceries for healthcare workers and the elderly.
  • Ontario announced $11 million to help support low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. The province will work with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services and develop the capacity of community organizations to deliver medication and other essentials. This complemented the issuing of the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments for low-income seniors, which will continue for six months.