Wage Earner Protection Program for an employee: Eligibility

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

2. Eligibility

You may be eligible if you meet all of the following:

  • your employment has ended
  • your former employer has filed for bankruptcy or is subject to a receivership
  • you are owed wages, vacation pay, termination pay or severance pay from the former employer
  • amounts owed were earned during the eligibility period or, in the case of termination pay or severance pay, your employment was terminated either during the eligibility period or prior to the discharge of the trustee/receiver

You are not eligible if, during the period for which you are owed eligible wages, you:

  • were an officer or a director of the former employer
  • had a controlling interest in the business of the former employer
  • were a manager whose responsibilities included making binding financial decisions impacting the business of your former employer, and/or making binding decisions on the payment or non-payment of wages by your former employer
  • were not dealing at arm's length with any of these persons
Note: if your employer has not filed for bankruptcy or is not subject to a receivership, you are not eligible for the WEPP. However, if your employer later becomes bankrupt or subject to receivership under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, you may be eligible for the WEPP.

Eligibility period – Temporary measures due to COVID-19

The wages, other than termination pay and severance pay, owed to you must have been earned during the eligibility period. The WEPP eligibility period is normally the 6-month period before the bankruptcy or receivership. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have temporarily extended the eligibility period as follows:

  • Rule 1: if the date of the bankruptcy or receivership is between March 13, 2020 and September 12, 2020, the eligibility period starts on September 13, 2019, and ends on the date of the bankruptcy or receivership
  • Rule 2: if the date of the bankruptcy or receivership is between is between September 13, 2020 and December 30, 2020, the eligibility period is the 12 month period before the bankruptcy or receivership
  • if the date of the bankruptcy or receivership is before March 13, 2020, or after December 30, 2020, the eligibility period is the normal 6 months before the bankruptcy or receivership

Timeline in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Rule 1
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Text description of Rule 1

If the date of the bankruptcy or receivership is between March 13, 2020 and September 12, 2020, the eligibility period starts on September 13, 2019, and ends on the date of the bankruptcy or receivership.

Rule 2
Rule 2: description follows
Text description of Rule 2

If the date of the bankruptcy or receivership is between is between September 13, 2020 and December 30, 2020, the eligibility period is the 12 month period before the bankruptcy or receivership.

If the employer has attempted a business restructuring as defined in the WEPP Act, the eligibility period starts 6 months before the first restructuring event and ends on the date of the bankruptcy or receivership.

WEPP qualifying restructuring events are:

  • Notice of Intention (NOI) to Make a Proposal, and/or
  • a proposal under Division I of Part III of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, and/or
  • Proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)
Timeline of qualifying restructuring events:
Image Timeline of qualifying restructuring events: description follows
Text description of Timeline of qualifying restructuring events

Timeline showing wages earned within the 6 months prior to initial announcement of the restructuring event up to the date of bankruptcy/receivership are considered eligible wages. Any wages earned before to this six month period are not eligible.

Types of eligible wages

The following amounts are considered eligible wages under the WEPP:

  • wages (salaries, commissions, compensation for services rendered, gratuities accounted for by the former employer, production bonuses and shift premiums) that were earned during the eligibility period
  • disbursements of a travelling salesperson properly incurred in and about the business of the former employer earned during the eligibility period
  • vacation pay earned during the eligibility period
  • amounts owed were earned during the eligibility period or, in the case of termination pay or severance pay, your employment was terminated either during the eligibility period or prior to the discharge of the trustee/receiver

Qualifying for the WEPP if you continued to work for the trustee/receiver after the date of the bankruptcy or receivership

Employees sometimes continue to work after the date of bankruptcy or receivership. These individuals only become eligible for WEPP once their employment ends.

Qualifying for the WEPP if you are related to your employer

You may still qualify for a WEPP payment if you are related to your employer. You must complete the WEPP supplementary form (Additional information regarding your relationship to your employer) in addition to your application. It will be assessed to determine whether or not, despite your relationship to your employer, you were treated the same as other employees.

For WEPP enquiries, call the WEPP information line at 1-866-683-6516 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105) or visit a Service Canada Centre.

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