COVID-19: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – important upcoming filing deadlines

Fuller Landau team • January 20, 2021

As COVID-19 continues to impact Canadians, critical filing dates for claiming the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are soon approaching. The federal government recently announced some key changes regarding the CEWS in response to the ongoing pandemic. Legislation was passed on January 13, 2021, providing an update to existing guidelines.

For the latest comprehensive breakdown of CEWS, see our previous CEWS article, COVID-19: Changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

Eligibility dates and deadlines

The filing deadline to claim the CEWS for periods 1 to 5 (encompassing  March 15, 2020 to August 1, 2020) is Sunday, January 31, 2021. To receive the CEWS for these 5 periods, eligible applicants must file their CEWS claims before this deadline. For periods 6 and onwards, the deadline to apply is 180 days after the period ends.

CEWS applications for period 11 opened on Sunday, January 17, 2021. Below is a table that breaks down the reporting periods and their associated deadlines. Guidelines for period 14 and onward are still under review by legislators.

Claim periodEligible datesDeadline to apply
Period 1March 15, 2020 – April 11, 2020January 31, 2021
Period 2April 12, 2020 – May 9, 2020January 31, 2021
Period 3May 10, 2020 – June 6, 2020January 31, 2021
Period 4June 7, 2020 – July 4, 2020January 31, 2021
Period 5July 5, 2020 – August 1, 2020January 31, 2021
Period 6August 2, 2020 – August 29, 2020February 25, 2021
Period 7August 30, 2020 – September 26, 2020March 25, 2021
Period 8September 27, 2020 – October 24, 2020April 22, 2021
Period 9October 25, 2020 – November 21, 2020May 20, 2021
Period 10November 22, 2020 – December 19, 2020June 17, 2021
Period 11December 20, 2020 – January 16, 2021July 15, 2021
Period 12January 17, 2021 – February 13, 2021August 12, 2021
Period 13February 14, 2021 – March 13, 2021September 9, 2021
Period 14 and onwards*TBATBA


*The CEWS has been extended to June 2021.

To reflect the changing nature of the pandemic and its impact, guidelines surrounding the calculations of the CEWS base rate and additional top-up rate have also been adjusted.

Updates to base CEWS

The table below shows the claimable base CEWS rate depending on an employer’s revenue drop. The multiplication factor for revenue drops of less than 50% is 0.8 for period 8 onwards. This is an increase from the previous factor of 0.4 for periods 9 onwards to reflect the current economic situation and to provide more support for businesses.

Reminder: in determining the revenue drop for a period, employers can use the corresponding month’s revenue drop or the previous month’s revenue drop, whichever is greater.

Base CEWS rate
PeriodRevenue drop of 50% or moreRevenue drop of less than 50%
Periods 5 and 660%1.2 x revenue drop
Period 750%1.0 x revenue drop
Periods 8 to 1340%0.8 x revenue drop

Updates to top-up CEWS

For periods 5 to 7, the additional CEWS top-up rate was calculated based on the 3-month revenue reduction test. This is the average revenue drop for the 3 months before the reference period begins compared to the same 3-month period in the previous year.

This calculation has been updated to correspond to the base revenue drop CEWS calculation. Beginning in period 8, the top-up rate and base rate are now calculated using the same 1 -month revenue drop as the base CEWS.

A safe harbour rule has been introduced for periods 8 to 10 to calculate the top-up subsidy rate. For periods 8 to 10, the top-up wage subsidy can be calculated using the greater of the preceding 3-month average revenue drop AND the new base revenue drop rate. For period 11 onwards, the top-up subsidy rate must be calculated using the base revenue drop rate.

The top-up rate has also been increased to 35% for periods 11 to 13. This means that the hardest hit employers can claim a maximum 75% (40% base + 35% top-up) wage subsidy, an increase from the previous 65% (40% base + 25% top-up).

Top-up CEWS rate
Revenue drop %Periods 5 to 10Periods 11 to 13
70% or more25%35%
50.01% – 69.99%1.25 x (revenue drop – 50%)1.75 x (revenue drop – 50%)
50% or less0%0%

Corner store sample

Below is the data for a corner store impacted by COVID-19. Although business began to pick up in August, the fall months proved to be difficult for the store. The owner wants to apply for the CEWS for period 8. The corner store plans to continue business and wants to determine their CEWS rate for their period 8 claim. Below is information regarding their 2020 revenues compared to the previous year and the corresponding revenue drop percentage.

Corner store ‘19 and ‘20 revenue
Month20202019Revenue drop %

To determine the base CEWS rate, the revenue drop for the period must first be determined. For period 8 (October), the actual revenue drop was 44.4%, but for the purposes of calculating the base CEWS rate, the previous month’s revenue drop of 62.5% (September) is used because it is greater. As the base revenue drop is greater than 50%, a maximum base CEWS rate of 40% applies.

The store then calculates the top-up CEWS rate for period 8, which is determined by calculating 1.25 x (revenue drop – 50%). For periods 8 to 10, the store will choose the greater of the preceding 3-month’s average revenue drop (54.0%), and the drop from the base CEWS applied (62.5%), when determining their top-up rate. Using the larger 62.5% base revenue drop, the top-up CEWS rate is calculated to be 15.63%.

Top-up CEWS rate
= 1.25 x (62.5% – 50%)
= 1.25 x (12.5%)
= 15.63%

This means the corner store can claim an overall CEWS rate of 55.63% (40% base + 15.63% to-up) for period 8.


If you think your business may be eligible for the CEWS, or have any related COVID-19 inquiries, the Tax group at Fuller Landau is ready to answer your questions.

About the authors

Ben Schwarz is a Senior Tax Specialist in our Tax group. He can be reached at 647-417-0353 or

Matthew Maxin is a Junior Tax Specialist in our Tax group. He can be reached at 647-417-0415 or


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