The Canada Revenue Agency is launching a website to help Canadians track which employers have been using government wage subsidies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CRA says its Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Registry website is part of a push for transparency around the government program, which as of last week included payments to 368,000 businesses and non-profits.
For privacy reasons, the agency says the public registry does not include sole proprietors.
The CRA’s announcement notes that it has a separate webpage called CRA Leads for people to report businesses who wrongfully claimed a subsidy.
The wage subsidies are meant to support employee paychecks at businesses where revenue has dropped, and the CRA says it could make ineligible businesses repay the subsidy plus a penalty, or even imprison fraudsters.
The government estimates the $54 billion in wage subsidy payments have protected about four million jobs, offsetting about half of the negative economic effects of the pandemic on the unemployment rate.