Government announces wage subsidy rate increase to 75 per cent

News release

December 18, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

Since March, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has protected more than 4 million jobs, helping businesses and workers through the challenges of the pandemic.

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced that the government has concluded the necessary regulatory changes to raise the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning Sunday, December 20, 2020, until March 13, 2021. This support will be there for workers and businesses through the tough months ahead as we face the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The wage subsidy is now more flexible and targeted, allowing employers to access the maximum subsidy rate based on a single month’s revenue decline instead of having to demonstrate three months’ decline, giving employers support that better reflects their current or evolving needs.

The wage subsidy will continue to support workers at businesses of every size, across Canada. The government will monitor health and economic conditions to determine details for subsequent periods.

Analysis in the Fall Economic Statement demonstrates that government support measures offset about half of the negative economic effects of the pandemic on the unemployment rate. This support has helped Canada to recover almost eight in ten of the lost jobs, compared to just over half in the United States.


“We are raising the wage subsidy back to a maximum of 75 per cent, recognizing the early months of the year are the toughest for many businesses, now more than ever. Businesses and workers can continue to rely on strong government support, giving workers assurances about where their next paycheque is coming from and giving businesses certainty that they can pay the workers that make their businesses a success.”

-   The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance 

Small businesses are the engine of our economy and employ millions of hard-working Canadians. They have shown incredible resilience and adaptability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and should be commended and supported in every way. That’s why our government is increasing the wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent, which will give hard-hit small business owners the support they need to keep their employees on the payroll and rebuild towards a brighter future.”

-   The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Quick facts

  • The government introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.

  • Since its launch, more than 4 million Canadian employees have had their jobs supported through the CEWS with more than $54 billion paid out in wage subsidies as of December 13, 2020. 

  • In October, the government announced the extension of the program until June 2021, as committed to in the Speech from the Throne, and other changes such as making the wage subsidy more responsive to recent declines in revenue.

  • The rate for furloughed workers will also go up to $595 for the announced periods, from December 20, 2020, until March 13, 2021.

  • The government is providing support to Canadian workers and Canadian businesses through a suite of broad-based measures, including: 

    • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which provides direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. This program provides a rent subsidy of up to 65 per cent directly to eligible tenants and property owners that have suffered a revenue drop. 
    • Lockdown Support is available to eligible organizations that must significantly restrict their activities under a public health order, providing an additional 25 per cent in rent subsidy support. This means hard-hit businesses can receive up to 90 per cent support for rent.
    • The Canada Emergency Business Account provides interest-free, partially forgivable loans to small businesses and not-for-profits that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19 but face ongoing non-deferrable costs. 

Associated links


Media may contact:

Katherine Cuplinskas
Press Secretary
Deputy Prime Minister's Office

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

General enquiries

Phone: 613-369-3710
Facsimile: 613-369-4065
TTY: 613-369-3230

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