What is the Wage Earner Protection Program?

The Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) protects workers when employers file for bankruptcy or are subject to receivership (such as when the employer’s property is in possession by a receiver).  

Under this program, you can claim unpaid wages, vacation pay, commissions, compensation for services rendered, severance pay, termination pay and other amounts you’ve earned. You might be able to claim up to four times the maximum weekly insurable earnings under the Employment Insurance Act to help you out when you’re in need. Keep in mind, this amount is taxable and is reduced by 6.82% under WEPP regulations.

You can apply online for the WEPP once Service Canada has been told how much you’re owed by the trustee or receiver from your previous employer, but make sure to apply within 56 days of your last day working for that company.

Note: If a trustee or receiver hasn’t been appointed to your employer’s business closure, you won’t be able to apply for WEPP payments. Refer to Service Canada’s website for more information on what steps to take next. 

Am I eligible to receive WEPP payments?

You can apply for WEPP payments if:

  • your employment has ended
  • your former employer has filed for bankruptcy or is subject to a receivership
  • you’re owed wages, vacation pay, termination or severance pay and
  • these amounts were earned during the eligibility period or, in the case of termination or severance pay, your employment was terminated during the eligibility period

The WEPP eligibility period is a six-month period that ends on the date of the bankruptcy or receivership. If the employer has gone through restructuring, the eligibility period starts six months before the restructuring and ends on the date of the bankruptcy or receivership.

Note: If you were an officer or a director, had controlling interest in the business, were a manager whose responsibilities included making binding financial decisions, or you weren’t dealing at arm’s length with any of these people, you aren’t eligible to apply for WEPP payments. 

I received WEPP payments in 2017, where can I find the total amount I received?

You can find the total amount of your WEPP payments in box 132 of the T4A slip issued to you by Service Canada.