Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy - Privacy compliance evaluation summary

Business Returns Directorate
Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch

Government institution

Canada Revenue Agency

Government official responsible for the PCE

Frank Vermaeten
Assistant Commissioner
Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch

Head of the government institution or Delegate for section 10 of the Privacy Act

Steven Morgan
Director General
Access to Information and Privacy Directorate

Name of program or activity of the government institution

Core Responsibility - Tax

Standard or institution specific class of record:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Standard or institution specific personal information bank:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Legal authority for program or activity

Income Tax Act (ITA)

Section 125.7
Subsection 163 (2.901) with respect to penalty
Subsections 164 (1.6) and (1.61) with respect to refunds
Subsection 164 (3) Interest on refunds and repayments
Subsection 241 (3.5) provides authority to the Minister of National Revenue to communicate in any manner the name of a person or a partnership who has made an application under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Subparagraph 241 (4)(d)(vii.6) authorizes the communication of information obtained under the ITA for the purposes of the administration and enforcement of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act to specific persons or the evaluation or formulation of a policy for that Act.


The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a subsidy of 75% of eligible remuneration to an eligible employer, to be paid by the eligible employer to each eligible employee, an amount of up to a maximum of $847 per week, from March 15, 2020, to July 4, 2020. The CEWS also provides a variable subsidy rate, from July 5, 2020, to December 19, 2020.

In order to qualify for the wage subsidy, the eligible employer must have experienced a decline in revenues. Eligible employers are able to apply for the wage subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA’s) My Business Account portal or Represent a Client service or through a Web Forms application using a web access code.


This wage subsidy is an urgent COVID-19-related initiative aimed at enabling eligible employers who have experienced an eligible reduction in revenue to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and to better position employers to resume normal operations following the crisis.

Description of activities that involve personal information:

Operating under lawful authority and privacy laws, the information is collected for the purpose of the administration of the CEWS.

Limited personal information will be collected during the CEWS application process. This information will be matched against existing information within the CRA’s data holdings in order to validate and process the application. Subsequently, personal information will also be used to perform verification and compliance activities.

Description of personal information concerned:

Employer names, business numbers, representative names, financial information, contact information and attestation signatures are collected and used during the CEWS application process. Where the employer is an individual (for example a sole-proprietor or a partner in a partnership), the information is considered personal.

Rationale for completing a privacy compliance evaluation instead of a full privacy impact assessment:

The CEWS was an urgent COVID-19-related initiative.

The timely implementation of the CEWS did not allow for the completion of a full Privacy Impact Assessment prior to the intended release date. Completion of the Privacy Compliance Evaluation provides a balance between adhering to legislated privacy requirements, while providing the necessary resources and flexibility to deliver urgent operations when required.

The COVID-19 crisis has been a rapidly evolving situation which required a swift and effective response to address extraordinary needs for businesses and Canadians facing hardship. The CRA possesses a well established ability and the digital infrastructure necessary to administer such a program, which is expected to involve a large volume of claims and disbursements.

Proportionally and operationally, the CRA is well positioned to undertake the implementation of this national program. From a data stand point, the CRA is mostly relying on existing secure information contained in our systems to administer the program, thus contributing to the security and protection of personal information.

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