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COVID-19: BC introduces new leaves & action plan while Ontario closes all non-essential businesses

COVID-19 Resources for Small Business

Canadian provinces are quickly picking up speed in response to the fast-changing COVID-19 situation.

Yesterday, new acts were announced that came into effect as of today, March 24, 2020 for Ontario and British Columbia. 


Electricity Relief to Families, Small Businesses and Farms

Further support for Ontarians during the COVID-19 situation, as the Government of Ontario is now providing immediate electricity relief for families, small businesses and farms that pay time-of-use (TOU) rates. 

This suspension of TOU rates will last for 45 days, with the government holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. 

For more information on the electricity relief, click here.

Mandatory Closure of all Non-Essential Workplaces

On March 23rd, Premier Doug Ford announced that the government has ordered a mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), as of Tuesday, March 24th  at 11:59pm all non-essential businesses will be ordered to close for the next 14 days with the possibility of extension as the situation evolves.

For more details on this update, visit Ontario's official news source.

Ontario Closing At-Risk Workplaces to Protect Health and Safety

The Ontario government will be ordering at-risk workplaces to close down and business-owners are encouraged to continue their operations through Work from Home policies. 

Essential businesses include, but are not limited to pharmacies, grocery stores, telecommunications, IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water.

For a full list of essential workplaces click here. These essential workplaces must now put into place measures to safeguard the well-being of their employees. 

For more details on this update, visit Ontario's official news source.

British Columbia

The Province of British Columbia announced a $5 billion COVID-19 Action Plan

The $5 billion action plan, to be rolled out in stages, consists of $2.8 billion to support individuals and services, and $2.2 billion to support businesses and the province's economic recovery. 

Pertinent information affecting employers and employees:

  • The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers: A one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment to workers who are eligible for employment insurance (EI), which will also be available to those who are not available for EI, such as people who are self-employed or parents who are at home with their children. This benefit will complement existing and additional benefits available to workers at the federal level.
  • Effective immediately, businesses can defer employer health tax payments until September 30. 

Note: B.C.'s legislature will convene to address amendments to employment standards legislation to ensure workers cannot lose their job due to self-isolation, or because they are caring for a loved one.

Refer to this official website for financial support information provided by the BC Government which includes the  B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers mentioned above .

News! Vancouver can now enforce physical distancing with fines up to $50,000 (CTV). 

The Province of British Columbia introduces Covid-19 Leave and Personal Injury and Illness Leave

The BC government introduces 2 legislations making changes to the BC Employment Standards Act as follows:

Covid-19 Leave

Personal Injury and Illness Leave

Get more details on the Covid-19 Leave and the Personal Illness or Injury Leave from the Employment Standards website. 

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Updates & Announcements

Sarah Visca
Sarah Visca is the Operations Manager at ConnectsUs HR, a company that provides tools & resources to quickly set up a Human Resources department.  
You can contact her here