Authors: Caitlin Bouché, Christine Jeroski
This blog was originally published on July 17, 2020 and has been updated to include new announcements.
On July 15, 2020, the government of Manitoba first announced the Back to Work in Manitoba initiative, a hiring program designed to encourage employers to recall or hire new employees.
At that time, the program aimed to provide assistance to Manitoba employers by covering half of the wages paid for up to ten employees until the fall of 2020.
On August 26, 2020, the government of Manitoba announced that it would be expanding the Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program by doubling the number employees eligible for a subsidy under the program. To meet additional demand and support employers to hire and bring back more staff, employers may receive a subsidy for another ten full-time or part-time employees. By doubling the amount of subsidized employees from ten to twenty, the maximum level of financial support available to eligible employers has increased from $50,000 to $100,000.
On September 14, 2020, the government of Manitoba announced that it would be extending the program by two months until December 31, 2020, and announced that employers are now able to use the subsidy to rehire students previously hired through the Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program, Canada Summer Job Program and Green Team Program. The student must have been laid off and then rehired on or after September 14, 2020 to be eligible. The province has also confirmed that new start-up companies with a Manitoba business numbers are eligible for the Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program.
UPDATE: On November 10, 2020, the government of Manitoba announced that employers that applied to the program on or before November 9 are eligible to receive an advance payment of $1,500 for every eligible worker hired or re-hired to date under the program. Employers will receive an email advising of the advance. In addition, the province has indicated that employers who re-hire workers laid off as a result of restrictions under the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System are eligible for the subsidy.
Note that this program is in addition to the Manitoba Back to Work this Summer Program, details of which can be found in our “Manitoba Back to Work This Summer Program” blog.
Employers who meet the below criteria can receive reimbursement of 50% of the total wages paid to designated employees over the period of July 16, 2020 to December 31, 2020, to a maximum of $5,000 per worker. Employers can apply to receive funding for a maximum of twenty positions and receive up to $100,000.
The funding is only applicable for wages paid to employees hired on or after the date the employer submitted its application for this program. Business owners are not eligible to receive reimbursement for wages paid to themselves.
The reimbursement to the employer will be made as a lump sum payment once the employer provides proof of the payment of wages, which must be submitted by February 1, 2021. If all employer obligations are met, payment will be made within 14 days of providing proof of payment of wages.
The program is open to all workers who are legally entitled to work in Canada, including students, with the exception of the employer’s immediate family members (parents, siblings, spouse or children). All positions are eligible for funding, regardless of work hours (full time, part-time and casual) and term (permanent, contract and seasonal).
There is no maximum wage amount that can be reimbursed, although the maximum amount of reimbursement is $5,000 per worker.
The employer cannot request funding for existing workers, although eligible workers may be a previous employee laid off due to COVID-19, provided that they had not been recalled prior to July 16, 2020. Additionally, if the employer is hiring a new employee to participate in this program they cannot displace any existing workers.
Note that employers who received support under the Manitoba Back to Work this Summer Program and Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program are eligible to receive support to hire twenty new employees under this program.
Employers who meet all of the following criteria can apply to participate in the Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program:
- Must be a Manitoba-based business or non-profit organization, including new startups, operating in the Province of Manitoba.
- Must have an active business number, business bank account and email address.
- Must be registered and in good standing with the Companies Office (not required for sole proprietors).
- Cannot receive funding for existing employees that are or have been subsidized by another government program. This includes:
- the Canada Summer Job Program;
- Green Team;
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy;
- Manitoba Back to Work this Summer Program; and
- Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program.
- Participation in the Federal Government’s 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers does not disqualify employers from participating in Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy Program, and this program is available for students that the employer previously employed under the Manitoba Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program, Canada Summer Job Program and Green Team Program , who were previously laid off and then rehired on or after September 14, 2020.
- Cannot be in arrears for taxes owing to the Province of Manitoba as of March 20, 2020 (before the state of emergency). This does not include businesses that have deferred taxes as a result of COVID-19 relief programs to defer tax remittances.
- Cannot be a multi-level marketing business or a passive business/corporate entity.
- Cannot have an active Manitoba Business Start Loan Guarantee, a loan under the Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program, or an agreement under The Community Revitalization Tax Increment Financing Act.
- Cannot be a public sector employer, including public health, educational institutions, and municipal/provincial/federal governments and agencies and political parties.
- Must follow all federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulatory requirements.
- Must observe the Province of Manitoba’s COVID-19 public health guidelines in the workplace.
- Must keep complete and accurate payroll, employment and accounting records, financial documents and other records for each worker hired under this program.
- Employers can submit their application to participate in the program online here.
- The deadline for participating in the program is December 1, 2020, with a deadline to submit proof of wages by February 1, 2021.
MLT Aikins will continue to monitor the situation and keep employers appraised of any further details. Employers considering the impact of the plan and how it applies to their business should contact a member of our labour and employment team in Winnipeg.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice of opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.