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COVID-19: Ontario presents Action Plan & Alberta supports Small and Medium Businesses

COVID-19 Resources for Small Business

The Federal Government and provinces of Ontario and Alberta respond to COVID-19 today, presenting updates and announcements on business issues being affected by the outbreak. 

Updates for March 25, 2020 are as follows: 

Federal Government

Federal government simplifies EI benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that nearly a million Canadians applied for Employment Insurance (EI) last week.

In response, the federal government has created a new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, combining the two benefits previously announced in order to streamline the process.

  • The emergency fund will provide $2000 a month for 16 weeks to workers who have lost their income because of the pandemic.  

  • An online portal to apply will be active soon.

  • Applications may take up to 10 days to process after the portal launces, with deferral staff being brought in from other departments to help process.

See this news release for more information. 


Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19

Finance Minister Rod Phillips released Ontario's Action Plan today, outlining the first steps in the province's plan to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak and support people, families, workers and employers. 

Some key measures include:

  • Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers.

  • Expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works to provide financial support to people facing economic hardship.

  • Making available $6 billion by providing 5 months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

  • Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to allow employers to defer payments for up to 6 months.

Check out the rest of the measures Ontario's Action Plan is implementing here. 

Ontario launches ‘Stop the Spread Business Information’ line

Ontario businesses have had many questions since the province issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces on Monday, March 23, 2020. 

The province has now launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment.

Click here for more information about the Stop the Spread Business Information line.


Alberta provides deferral for WCB premium payments for private sector (small and medium-sized) businesses

Good news for small and medium-sized businesses. Private sector employers can save money on their WCB premium payments. Alberta commits to waive 50% of Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) premiums for 2020. The remaining 50% payment due date will be deferred until 2021.

  • Small and medium sized businesses are eligible for this if they hold $10 million or less in insurable earnings for 2020.

  • A rebate or credit is available for employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020.

  • Paying 50 per cent of small and medium private sector WCB premiums for 2020 will cost government approximately $350 million.

For more information see the Alberta WCB Employer Fact Sheet.

Alberta government providing $25 million to support homeless-serving agencies respond to COVID-19

The government of Alberta is working closely with municipalities and homeless shelters across the province to meet local needs and create more capacity.

For more information on Alberta's action to protect the health and safety of vulnerable Albertans and staff click here.

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