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Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP): Protecting employees when a business goes bankrupt

Region: Ontario Answer # 0291

What is the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP)?

WEPP is a program provided by the federal Government of Canada, which, under certain circumstances, compensates eligible workers for unpaid wages.

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Eligible employees

Under the Wage Earner Protection Program Act (WEPPA), if you are a worker with unpaid wages and benefits you may be eligible for protection if:

  • your employment has ended
  • your former employer has filed for bankruptcy
  • your former employer becomes subject to a receivership under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
  • you are owed wages, vacation pay, termination pay or severance pay from the former employer
  • the amounts you are owed were earned during the eligibility period or, in the case of termination pay or severance pay, your employment was terminated either during the eligibility period or prior to the discharge of the trustee/receiver

You are not eligible for WEPP if, during the period for which you are owed eligible wages, you:

  • were an officer or a director of your former employer;
  • had a controlling interest in the business of the your former employer;
  • were a manager and your responsibilities included making binding financial decisions that impacted the business of your former employer, and/or you made binding decisions on the payment or non-payment of wages by your former employer;
  • were not dealing at arm’s length with any of these persons; or if
  • your former employer applied for bankruptcy protection but has not filed for bankruptcy, or
  • your former employer is not subject to a receivership (If an employer later becomes bankrupt or enters into receivership under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the employee may become eligible for the WEPP).

Eligibility period

The eligibility period:

  • Begins six months before a restructuring event and ends on the date of bankruptcy or receivership; or
  • Is the six-month period ending on the date of bankruptcy or receivership for employers who do not go through restructuring.

Eligible wages

Eligible wages are those wages which have been earned within the eligibility period, and include:

  • Salaries
  • Commissions
  • Compensation for services rendered
  • Gratuities collected and accounted for by the employer
  • Disbursements of a travelling salesperson properly incurred
  • Production bonuses and shift premiums
  • Vacation pay

To be eligible for termination and severance pay:

  • Your employment must have ended within the eligibility period.

How much does WEPP pay?

The maximum WEPP payment for bankruptcies or receiverships on or after January 1, 2024:

  • is an amount up-to seven times the maximum weekly insurable earnings under the Employment Insurance Act ($8,507,66)

For amounts in previous years, visit Canada.ca


How to make a claim

To receive compensation through WEPP, a worker must make an application. There are a number of steps in the process.

  1. Trustee/Receiver Information Form (TIF) 

Applications will not be processed until Service Canada has received the TIF. The trustee who has been named to handle your former employer’s bankruptcy or receivership file is responsible for filing this form. Trustees and Receivers have 45 days after the date of the bankruptcy or receivership to submit a TIF. Service Canada will then send you a copy of this form.

Along with your application, information contained in the TIF will determine if you are eligible under the WEPP, and if so, for how much.

  1. Submit proof of claim

The employee must submit a proof of claim with the former employer’s trustee or receiver. A proof of claim is a written statement in which a creditor (in this case the creditor is the employee who is owed wages) gives the reason why a debtor owes the money. A letter with the employee’s name, contact information, job title, length of service, details of the days and times worked but not paid, and the amount of wages owed, should be sufficient as proof of claim.

  1. Submit an online application

After the employee receives the TIF from Service Canada, they can submit an online application. Applications must be submitted to Service Canada within 56 days of the latest of the following dates:

  • the date of bankruptcy/receivership,
  • the date that your employment ended due to termination, resignation, retirement or expiry of term,
  • the date on which the receiver terminated your employment.

You may also be required to provide other supplementary forms. See canada.ca for more information.

If your application is approved

In most cases, Service Canada will finalize your file and issue your payment within 35 days of receiving your completed application. Payments under the WEPP are taxable, and as such, you will be mailed a T4A slip to include with your income tax return.

If your application is rejected

If your application is rejected by Service Canada, you have 30 days to make a written request for a review by filing a Request for Review by Minister form. You may include new information when submitting the form.

Get help

For the most up-to-date information, view the Wage Earner Protection Program Act (WEPPA), it’s Regulations, or visit the Government of Canada’s Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) at canada.ca.

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4Pillars Credit & Debt All Provinces All Topics March 19, 20184Pillars Credit & Debt All Provinces All Topics March 19, 2018

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