How Canadian Restaurants Benefit From CERB & CEWS

How Canadian Restaurants Benefit From CERB & CEWS
Dew Smith

By Dew Smith

Table of Contents

    The government of Canada recently released the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which is just the most-recent addition to the robust relief programs Canada is offering to help support individuals and business owners during the time of crisis brought on by COVID-19.

    This comes at a time where restaurants everywhere are struggling to make ends meet as dining areas are closed and social distancing efforts are in full-swing—leaving restaurateurs to pivot to delivery or takeout, or temporarily close their doors. According to Restaurants Canada, over 800,000 foodservice jobs have already been lost due to the pandemic—and that number will only increase without proper financial support.

    In this article, we’ll dive into the specifics of how CERB and CEWS impact restaurateurs and their teams.

    Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

    The CERB is a new relief program that offers funds to individuals (such as your restaurant staff and managers) who have lost their income due to COVID-19. Provide these details about CERB to your staff who have been temporarily (or permanently) laid off due to the impact of the current health crisis on your business.

    Why is this important?

    By providing restaurant staff (and other affected workers) with a source of income, individuals will be able to support themselves through this time of crisis,  restaurateurs can rest assured that their staff are taken care of—even if they aren’t able to work. By alleviating some of the stress associated with low sales, managers can focus more on pivoting their business and improving their sales with new tactics so they’re able to bring restaurant staff back to work sooner.

    What does my restaurant get?

    Restaurant employees, managers, or owners could receive a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months.

    Note: Set aside $200-$300 from each paycheck for taxes down the road.

    Who qualifies?

    • People who are at least 15 years old
    • Workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19 (and have not voluntarily quit)
    • Workers who had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 (or in the 12 months prior to application)

    How do I apply?

    You can apply for CERB at the site here. Please note that you do not have to apply for CERB if you have already applied for EI.

    FAQ about CERB

    1. Am I eligible for CERB if my restaurant shifts have just been reduced?

    Yes. ✅Originally, CERB was introduced as an income replacement, which meant that anyone still working would not be eligible for the program. However, on April 15th, Canada announced that they plan to expand the CERB benefit for workers who are earning less than $1,000 a month.

    2. Can I apply for the CERB if I was not working before COVID-19?

    No. 🚫Unemployed individuals who were looking for work before the COVID-19 health crisis are not eligible for CERB, as it only applies to people who have lost their income directly due to the pandemic.

    3. Can I apply for CERB if I’m not a citizen or permanent resident?

    Yes, ✅ as long as you have a valid SIN number and are currently residing in Canada.

    Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

    The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is a program provided by the Canadian government to help cover the wages of staff during a health crisis. The CEWS allows your restaurant to keep staff on payroll without having to pay out of your own pocket—effectively keeping your team intact and your employees from being unemployed.

    Why is this important?

    The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will allow restaurateurs whose business is suffering due to COVID-19 keep their staff on payroll without having to take it out of their bottom line. This means they can keep their valuable employees working and paid while focusing more of their resources on keeping their diners fed and business afloat.

    What does my restaurant get?

    • Coverage of 75% of an employee’s wages up to $847/week, retroactive to March 15th, 2020

    Who qualifies?

    • Restaurants (or any taxable business) who have experienced of 15% drop in gross sales in March, and 30% drop in April and May

    How do I apply?

    This program is set to be in place for 12 weeks, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Find more details about CEWS and how to apply for your restaurant at the website here.

    Other resources for COVID-19

    If your restaurant and staff are suffering due to COVID-19, there are many programs and resources in place to provide assistance. Check out our COVID-19 resources page to find tools, articles, and other resources to help you stay afloat during this health crisis. You can access our Restaurant Relief Funds blog to see more financial relief programs available in Canada.

    Follow us on Instagram for more daily updates on the COVID-19 situation and how your restaurant can navigate the current landscape.

    Stay safe.

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    Dew Smith
    Dew Smith

    Hey! I'm Dew, the Brand Strategist at 7shifts. I cultivate 7shifts' social and content garden, and I'm always looking for ways to grow our network of restaurateurs, local talent, and tech companies.