The government passed the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Bill (Bill C-14) on the weekend.

Many clients ask us which entities/employers may qualify for the emergency wage subsidy.

“Eligible Entity” is defined as follows in the legislation:  

  1. a corporation, other than a corporation that is exempt from tax under this Part or is a public institution;
  2. an individual;
  3. a registered charity, other than a public institution;
  4. a person that is exempt from tax under this Part because of paragraph 149(1)‍(e), (j), (k) or (l), other than a public institution;
  5. a partnership, all of the members of which are described in this paragraph or any of paragraphs (a) to (d); or
  6. a prescribed organization.‍ 

This basically means that any taxable business operating in Canada may qualify for the wage subsidy program. Public corporations and foreign-owned Canadian corporations have not expressly been exempt in the definition (but they have to be a taxable business operating in Canada). Partnerships are also included in the definition of “eligible entity”, so long as all of the members fall within the description of entities above. Public bodies (such as municipalities, local governments, Crown corporation, wholly-owned municipal corporations, public universities, colleges, schools and hospitals) are not eligible.

There are also other requirements regarding who qualifies (for example, who an eligible employee is, the amount of loss in revenue and how that is calculated, etc.). Just because an entity may be eligible, does not mean that they will automatically receive the subsidy. The government will look at all relevant criteria when deciding who qualifies.

The government has said that more information about the application process will be made available shortly. We will also know more about whether the program will allow retroactive payment to employees who received CERB benefits and allow those benefits to be repaid. The government intends to implement an approach to limit duplication.


No matter how big or small the matter, we are always accessible to all of our clients, placing their financial realities and long-term interests first and foremost. Lorrie PorMana Khami, and David Spence from our Employment and Labour Department are available to assist with any questions you may have about workplace matters relating to COVID-19.