Government legislation to support Canadian workers, businesses, persons with disabilities, and legal rights receives Royal Assent

News release

July 27, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and to position them for a strong and safe economic restart in the wake of the crisis.

Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, today received Royal Assent, ensuring that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off.  The broader and better targeted CEWS will make sure that Canadian workers and businesses are in a better position as our economy safely re-opens.

Specifically, the changes introduced in Bill C-20 will:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues. This will help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This will be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.
  • Address technical issues with the CEWS identified by stakeholders, for example by providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity’s business assets.
  • Make the proposed amendments to the CEWS previously introduced in Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures.

By helping workers transition back to their jobs and supporting businesses as they increase revenues, these changes will ensure that Canada comes back strong with businesses that are competitive and workers who are able to more quickly get back to work, thanks to the CEWS.

Bill C-20 will also allow for the sharing of information to facilitate the delivery of a one-time payment for persons with disabilities. The Government is moving forward with a non-taxable and non-reportable payment of up to $600 to approximately 1.7 million eligible individuals who:

  • Are holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate (eligible persons not yet in possession of such a certificate will be able to apply for one up to 60 days after today’s Royal Assent to be considered for the one-time payment);
  • Currently receive Canada Pension Plan disability benefits or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits; or
  • Are in receipt of disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians, businesses and other organizations may be unable to meet time limits set out in federal legislation, including those for civil court cases and some key regulatory matters.  The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) enacted through Bill C-20 retroactively suspends time limits in civil litigation proceedings and allows federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend time limits in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible. This new Act will minimize unintended legal consequences on Canadians and Canadian businesses during these difficult times.

The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19, and stands ready to take additional actions as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Quotes

“As we continue to safely restart the economy, many Canadian businesses and workers are continuing to face significant challenges and uncertainty.  With the Royal Assent of Bill C-20, our government is once again showing workers and businesses that we have their back.  The re-designed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will ensure that more Canadian workers can count on the support they need to return to work as our economy safely re-opens.”

- Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

“Our Government recognizes that persons with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Last month, we announced a one-time, tax-free payment of $600 that will help Canadians with disabilities with extraordinary expenses incurred during the pandemic. Today’s Royal Assent means 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities will be eligible for this one-time, tax-free payment. We will continue to work closely with the disability community to ensure Canadians with disabilities and their families are supported through the pandemic, the restart and the economic recovery.”

- Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

“Access to justice is fundamental to a just and fair Canadian society. In these difficult times, we understand Canadians and Canadian businesses may need more time to meet important legal time limits. We must do what we can to minimize unintended legal consequences and remove needless obstacles they may face. The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) will allow the continued protection of Canadian’s rights and access to justice through this pandemic.”

- David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick facts

  • The government introduced the CEWS, as part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, in order to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.

  • Since its launch, about 3 million Canadian employees have had their jobs supported through the CEWS, and that number continues to grow.

  • The enhancements to the CEWS contained in Bill C-20 were announced by the Finance Minister on July 17, 2020, and the receipt of Royal Assent today will allow the CEWS to be extended until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.

  • For persons with disabilities, this legislation extends the one-time payment of $600 to include persons with disabilities who are beneficiaries as of July 1, 2020 of Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, Quebec Pension Plan Disability benefits, or one of the disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

  • The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) has a retroactive effect regarding civil court proceedings to March 13, 2020, and allows for retroactive effect regarding other time limits, to ensure the protection of Canadians’ legal rights from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Associated links

Contacts

Media may contact:

Maéva Proteau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
maeva.proteau@canada.ca
613-369-5696

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada
fin.media-media.fin@canada.ca
613-369-4000

General enquiries

Phone: 613-369-3710
Facsimile: 613-369-4065
TTY: 613-369-3230
E-mail: fin.financepublic-financepublique.fin@canada.ca

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