Improvements to the Wage Earner Protection Program will ensure Canadian workers are paid more of what they are owed when they need it most
November 19, 2021 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting those who need it when they need it most. This is particularly important during periods when workers and businesses in Canada may be experiencing financial hardship related to the impact of COVID-19.
The Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) provides financial support to Canadian workers who have lost their job and are owed wages by their insolvent employer. Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour, announced a number of improvements to the WEPP to expand eligibility and put more money in the pockets of Canadians.
To better support workers in Canada during this challenging time, the Government is removing the standard 6.82% deduction applied to all WEPP payments, which will give an average of $315 more to those who have lost their job and are owed wages by their former employer. Other important changes are meant to expand access to the program, and include:
- enabling earlier access to WEPP payments;
- extending WEPP coverage to Canadians employed by foreign companies in Canada; and
- updating the payment for trustee and receiver duties.
These changes come into effect on November 20, 2021.
The WEPP has paid approximately $473 million in wages to nearly 161,000 Canadian workers. As we look to Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, improvements to important programs like the WEPP will help us build back better and reduce the economic impact of the pandemic on Canadian workers and businesses.
“Supporting workers and their families is my top priority. These changes will help even more workers facing tough times access this critical program and have more money to cover essential needs and see them through to brighter days ahead. Our Government has been there for workers when they need it most, and we will continue to have their backs every step of the way.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour
Through the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP), individuals can claim unpaid eligible wages such as basic wages, disbursements, vacation pay, termination and severance pay up to a maximum amount equivalent to seven weeks of the Employment Insurance (EI) maximum yearly insurable earnings under the Employment Insurance Act ($7,579 for 2021).
The Government made a number of improvements to the WEPP Act through Budget 2018 to make WEPP eligibility more equitable and to increase the maximum payment from the equivalent of four to seven weeks of EI maximum yearly insurable earnings.
Through Budget 2021, the Government announced further improvements, including the elimination of the 6.82% deduction applied to all WEPP payments, which was intended to mimic the Canada Pension Plan and EI contribution amounts normally deducted at source. The final regulations required to bring these changes into force (the Regulations Amending the Wage Earner Protection Program Regulations), were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on September 1, 2021.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Minister of Labour
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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