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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from January 15 to January 21, 2021

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Below are the key announcements from the Ontario, ManitobaAlberta and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from January 15 to January 21, 2021.


Opens Applications for Small Business Support Grant

The Ontario government has opened applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations during the pandemic.

Eligible small businesses will be able to apply for a one-time grant and use this funding in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business needs. For example, some businesses could need support with their rent, while others could need support paying their employees. 

Eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective December 26.
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20% revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Apply now through COVID-19 Business Support Grants. 

Expands Workplace Enforcement Campaigns

The Ontario government is expanding the current workplace inspection campaign to further protect workers and customers at essential businesses.

​As of yesterday, more than 300 officers began visiting a variety of workplaces that are allowed to be open during the provincial shutdown such as:

  • Retail establishments, including big-box stores

  • Restaurants providing takeout meals

  • Essential service-sector establishments (such as gas stations)

  • Farming operations

Employers should make sure they understand and comply with all requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. 

Review your rights and responsibilities.


Eases Public Health Restrictions, Allowing More Store Openings

Limited changes to the public health orders will take effect this Saturday, January 23 and last for three weeks. These modest changes will be made in efforts to balance the need to protect the health-care system while gradually restoring services and activities for Manitobans.

Under the new rules, non-essential retail stores will be allowed to open at 25% capacity. A ban on social visits in homes is also being eased to allow two designated people (family or friends) to visit a household.

For more information, check out this news release


Expands the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant

The Alberta government is expanding the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to allow new businesses to apply. By expanding applications to businesses that started operating between March 1 and October 31, 2020, up 5,000 more Alberta businesses will be eligible for this funding.

Any new company that meets the 30% revenue reduction threshold will be able to apply for the grant starting Thursday, February 4, 2021. Small businesses that may be eligible under the new rules should wait until February 4 to apply, to avoid being deemed ineligible.

Applications will be open until March 31, 2021. More program details will be outlined on the program web page when finalized.

British Columbia

Extends State of Emergency until February 2

The state of emergency has been extended until end of the day on Tuesday, February 2, 2021.

This formal extension allows health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.

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