Government legislation to support Canadian workers, businesses, persons with disabilities, and legal rights receives Royal Assent

  • July 27, 2020

From the Government of Canada

The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and to position them for a strong and safe economic restart in the wake of the crisis.

Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, today received Royal Assent, ensuring that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off.  The broader and better targeted CEWS will make sure that Canadian workers and businesses are in a better position as our economy safely re-opens.

Specifically, the changes introduced in Bill C-20 will:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues. This will help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This will be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.
  • Address technical issues with the CEWS identified by stakeholders, for example by providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity’s business assets.
  • Make the proposed amendments to the CEWS previously introduced in Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures.

By helping workers transition back to their jobs and supporting businesses as they increase revenues, these changes will ensure that Canada comes back strong with businesses that are competitive and workers who are able to more quickly get back to work, thanks to the CEWS.

Bill C-20 will also allow for the sharing of information to facilitate the delivery of a one-time payment for persons with disabilities. The Government is moving forward with a non-taxable and non-reportable payment of up to $600 to approximately 1.7 million eligible individuals who:

  • Are holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate (eligible persons not yet in possession of such a certificate will be able to apply for one up to 60 days after today’s Royal Assent to be considered for the one-time payment);
  • Currently receive Canada Pension Plan disability benefits or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits; or
  • Are in receipt of disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians, businesses and other organizations may be unable to meet time limits set out in federal legislation, including those for civil court cases and some key regulatory matters.  The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) enacted through Bill C-20 retroactively suspends time limits in civil litigation proceedings and allows federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend time limits in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible. This new Act will minimize unintended legal consequences on Canadians and Canadian businesses during these difficult times.

The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19, and stands ready to take additional actions as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Access to justice is fundamental to a just and fair Canadian society. In these difficult times, we understand Canadians and Canadian businesses may need more time to meet important legal time limits. We must do what we can to minimize unintended legal consequences and remove needless obstacles they may face. The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) will allow the continued protection of Canadian’s rights and access to justice through this pandemic.

- David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada