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COVID-19 Updates | Weekend Workplace Round Up for May 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2020

COVID-19 Resources for Small Business

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Below are the key announcements from the Federal, Ontario, Alberta and BC governments that touch on workplace issues for May 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2020.


CEBA Eligibility Expanded to Support Small Business

Today Justin Trudeau announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.

The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are:

  • sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses.
  • businesses that rely on contractors.
  • family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

Check out this news release for more information. 

$15 Million Invested in Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) 

On May 16, 2020, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the federal government will provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES).

This money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out this news release for more information. 

Canada Child Benefit (CCB) Increases Again in July 

On May 16, 2020 Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will be increased once again in July. This increase is in addition to the one-time additional payment of $300 per child that was announced for May 2020.   

The increase will be in place for the 2020-21 benefit year, and will raise the maximum benefit to $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17.

Examples of payments for the 2020-21 benefit year:

  • A single-parent family with one child under the age of 6 and earning $25,000 will receive an additional $126, bringing their new yearly total benefit to $6,765.
  • A two-parent family with two children aged 4 and 9 and earning $55,000 will receive an additional $174, bringing their new yearly total benefit to $9,329. 

Check out this news release for more information. 

Canadian Dairy Commission's (CDC) Borrowing Limit Increased by $200 Million 

Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Dairy Commission Act received royal assent Friday evening.

The Bill, previously announced on May 5, states government's intention to increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC) borrowing limit by $200 million to allow cheese and butter to be temporarily stored and avoid waste.

Now that the bill has received royal assent, Parliament will increase the CDC’s borrowing limit from $300 million to $500 million.

Check out this news release for more information. 

News! Canada-U.S. border will stay closed to non-essential travel until June 21

Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the partial closure of the border for another 30 days until June 21, to protect citizens in both countries against the spread of COVID-19.

Trudeau said the government is working to strike a balance between “keeping people safe and restoring a semblance of normality and economic activity we all rely on.”

For details, check out this news release from the Globe and Mail. 


Emergency Orders Extended until May 29

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020. 

This extension includes: 

  • the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only; 
  • restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people; and
  • staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women's shelters. 

For a full list of emergency orders extended until May 29, check out this news release.

Schools Will Remain Closed until September

After consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, the Ontario government has decided to keep schools closed for the rest of this school year.

At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Learn more from Ontario’s official news release. 


Up to $27 Million Freed Up in Additional Cash Flow for Tourism Industry

The Alberta government is providing new supports for hotels and other lodging providers that allow them to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

This measure will free up between $16 million and $27 million in additional cash flow for the hospitality sector, which employs 30,000 Albertans.

These new measures are part of the Government of Alberta’s broader plan to help Alberta’s tourism industry recover and eventually grow.

Learn more from Alberta's official news release. 

Voluntary COVID-19 Operational Plan Template Available for Employers

The Chief Medical Officer of Health released CMOH Order 22-2020 (PDF) which reverses the previously-announced requirement that businesses wishing to operate complete a COVID-19 operational plan.

A template plan remains available, though its completion is now voluntary and the timeline to complete it has been extended from 7 to 14 days. 

Information and the plan template is available at Alberta Biz Connect. 

British Columbia

WorkSafeBC Publishes COVID-19 Safety Plan Templates for Employers

On May 17, 2020, WorkSafeBC released a COVID-19 Safety Plan for employers resuming operations following work interruptions related to COVID-19.

Employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This tool will guide employers through a six-step process to help them create their plan. The tool is provided as a fillable PDF that employers can download and save with the details of the plan for their workplace.

Download the COVID-19 Safety Plan template now. 

Additional resources and information about COVID-19 are also available at WorkSafeBC. 

Front-line Workers will Receive Temporary Pandemic Pay 

Health and social service workers delivering in-person, front-line care to some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people will receive temporary pandemic pay, a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period, starting on March 15, 2020.

Eligible workers will receive the payment directly through their employer and do not need to apply.

Learn more about temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay.

Check out this news release for more information. 

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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