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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from August 6 to August 13, 2020

COVID-19 Resources for Small Business

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Below are the key announcements from the FederalOntario, and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from August 6 to August 13, 2020.


CEWS Calculator Updated with Greater Support for Employers

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was created to help employers who have been impacted by COVID-19 keep employees on their payroll or bring them back from temporary layoffs.  Recent enhancements for Period 5 include expanded eligibility criteria, the introduction of a sliding revenue-decline test to determine the subsidy amount and a top-up subsidy for the most impacted employers.

An updated CEWS calculator has been launched to help employers prepare to apply for the next period (period 5) of the CEWS program, which opens to applications Monday, August 17. The CEWS calculator allows employers to enter their information to get an estimate of the subsidy they can expect to receive.

For more information, check out the official CEWS webpage

Temporary Change to EI Program

The Government of Canada is preparing to transition as many Canadians as possible from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) back to the Employment Insurance (EI) system at the end of the month.

Effective August 9, a minimum unemployment rate of 13.1% will be applied temporarily for all EI economic regions across Canada. This temporary measure will establish minimum entry requirements for EI eligibility across the country for Canadians to access the income support they need now or might need later as COVID-19 continues to impact our economy. 

For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

$18 Million in New Funding for Farmers and Agri-Food Producers

The federal government has announced a number of new supports to help Canadian farmers and agri-food producers deal with the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • $10 million in funding to support 27 projects in the agri-food industry in Quebec to help businesses enhance their productivity through the acquisition of digital and automated equipment, the diversification of their products and services, and the modernization of facilities. 
  • $3 million in funding for Northern Ontario’s agri-food sector to help the sector innovate, grow and create jobs.
  • $2.6 million in funding for the Food Processing Development Centre in Leduc, Alberta to support the installation of equipment focused on supporting companies to develop new plant-based foods and products.
  • $2.5 million in funding for two food manufacturers in southern Ontario, Florentina Foods and Terra Cotta Foods Ltd. 


$30 Billion Projected  for Ontario's Action Plan

The government of Ontario released an update to Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 with additional investments which include:

  • An increase of $4.4 billion to provide ongoing support for health care services.

  • An increase of $7.3 billion to support people and jobs.

These investments bring the government's COVID-19 response action plan to a projected $30 billion, up from $17 billion announced in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 back in March. 

With these measures included, the Ontario government is now projecting a deficit of $38.5 billion in 2020-21, with total revenue projected to be $150.6 billion.  

For more information, check out this news release

British Columbia

Reminder to Apply for Temporary Layoff Extensions - August 25 Deadline

With less than two weeks until the application deadline, employees and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond the August 30, 2020 expiry date are entering a critical phase to meet deadlines.

Workers and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond August 30 can jointly apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch’s new online application by August 25.

The temporary layoff variance process is intended to maintain ongoing relationships between businesses and their employees. Under B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until August 30, before the layoff becomes permanent.

For more information, check out the COVID-19 Temporary Layoff Variance

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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