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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from February 5 to February 11, 2021


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Below are the key announcements from the Federal, OntarioManitobaAlberta and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from February 5 to February 11, 2021.


Federal

Expands RRRF to Offer up to an Additional $20,000 for Eligible Small Businesses

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) has been expanded to align with the increased funding available under the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

New applicants to the RRRF can now request up to $60,000 in interest-free, repayable support, up from $40,000 previously.

Existing RRRF recipients can now apply for additional funding of up to $20,000, if they continue to suffer eligible COVID-19-related losses.

Visit the RRRF to apply for funding for your small- or medium-sized business. 


Ontario

Opens Applications for Ontario's New Skills Development Fund

Applications are now open for the Ontario government's new two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund. The fund will support projects that will help relieve pandemic-induced barriers to hiring, training and retaining workers.

The fund will accept applications from a wide range of employment and training organizations in Ontario. Examples of projects from the fund could include a digital career fair that allows employers to connect with job seekers impacted by COVID-19, the creation of training materials that teach employers how to accommodate employees who have disabilities, and making workspaces and equipment more accessible.

Applicants, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, community organizations and others can now submit proposals from now until February 28, 2021.


Extends Stay-at-Home Order across most of the Province

The Ontario government is maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in the province, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures.

It's proposed that the stay-at-home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16, 2021. For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it's proposed that the stay-at-home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021.

For more information, check out this news release


Manitoba

Loosens Restrictions to Take Next Steps in Provinces Reopening

Manitoba is taking the next steps in its reopening plans as loosened restrictions will be coming into effect this Friday, February 12 and will be in place for three weeks.

The new orders include but are not limited to:

  •  Restaurants and licensed businesses will be allowed to open at 25% and all groups must be from the same household;

  •  Outdoor sports facilities will be allowed to open for causal sports and organized practices and games, but there can't be multi-team tournaments;

  •  Indoor sporting facilities can operate at 25% capacity but only for individual instruction. This includes rinks, gymnastic clubs and martial arts studios;

  •  Gyms, fitness centres, and yoga studios can reopen at 25% capacity;

  •  Places of worship are allowed to have services at 10% or 50 people, whatever is lower;

  •  Museums, art galleries and libraries are allowed to be open at 25% capacity;

For a full list of the new orders, check out this backgrounder and news release


Alberta

New Businesses and Unregistered Sole Proprietors can now Apply for Financial Assistance 

Expansions to the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program announced in January are now included on it's application e-portal.

The grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 30%, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program now offers the following:

  • Up to $20,000 in funding for organizations established before February 29, 2020, including unregistered sole proprietors.
  • Up to $15,000 in funding for new organizations which began operations between March 1 and October 31 2020, including unregistered sole proprietors.

New businesses that began operating between March and October 2020, as well as unregistered sole proprietors, can apply now for COVID relief funding.


British Columbia

Extends Province-wide Pandemic Restrictions Indefinitely 

The provincial health officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry has once again extended the province-wide ban on social gatherings and events, citing concerns around the growing number of COVID-19 variant cases. Unlike in previous extensions of her public health order, Henry did not provide a date on which the restrictions would be reassessed.

The previous order remains in place for all employers that includes requirements for a number of sector-specific industries. This order applies to all areas of the province and remains in place until otherwise advised by the PHO.

For more information, check out this news release


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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

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