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CRA launches new tool to help businesses through COVID-19

Jessy Bains
·2 min read
Canada Revenue Agency
(REUTERS)

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) hasn’t gotten the uptake Ottawa hoped for, with businesses calling it restrictive and confusing. Now, there’s a new tool to help businesses take advantage of the emergency benefit to help Canadians make ends meet through COVID-19.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), with the help of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), launched a new and improved online calculator to help all types of businesses apply for the next period of the CEWS program, which opens for applications on August 17.

CEWS covers 75 per cent of the wages of workers at companies and non-profits that have experienced any drop in revenue during the pandemic. Previously, employers needed to show a 30 per cent drop, but that threshold was removed after backlash from businesses.

The calculator asks employers to enter information to determine how much money they are eligible to receive. It also features a printable spreadsheet and statement features that employers can use to view their claim at a glance and enter information directly into the CEWS application.

“The CRA has been working around the clock to deliver the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 response plan and the results have been outstanding. The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has enabled employers across the country to keep or re-hire millions of Canadians,” said Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, in a release.

“The enhanced CEWS program launched today was redesigned to be more flexible and support a wider range of employers. I encourage all business owners to use the calculator to determine how this program can benefit them.”

CEWS has paid out $26.58 billion in subsidies to more than 275,000 employers. This pales in comparison to the Canada Emergency Benefit (CERB), which winds down at the end of the month, at $64.26 billion and 8.51 million unique applications. Unless it gets extended, CEWS ends on December 19.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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