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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from March 12 to March 18, 2021


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Below are the key announcements from the FederalOntario, Saskatchewan, and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from March 12 to March 18, 2021.


Federal

Invests $12.1 Billion to Increase Number of Weeks Available through EI & Canada Recovery Benefits

Bill C-24 has received Royal Assent, consequently increasing the maximum number of weeks available to workers through EI regular benefits. Workers claiming EI regular benefits can now access up to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims established between September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021.

In addition to Bill C-24, new regulations to increase the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefits have come into effect. including:

  • Increasing the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) by 12 weeks.
  • Increasing the number of weeks available under the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) from 2 weeks to 4 weeks.
  • Extending the maximum duration of the benefits from 26 weeks to 38 weeks.

The additional coverage will cost the government $12.1 billion.

For more information, check out this news release


Adds 259,000 Jobs in February, Lowering National Unemployment Rate to 8.2%

Statistics Canada says the economy lost almost 213,000 jobs in January as lockdown measures erased months of gains, marking the worst monthly declines since last April.

However, last month's re-openings reversed that drop. The economy added 259,000 jobs in February, almost wiping out losses sustained over the previous two months.

The national unemployment rate fell to 8.2%, the lowest level since March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, check out this news release.


Ontario

Invests $105 Million to Support Non-Profit Organizations

A new grant program will help non-profit organizations who are struggling during COVID-19. The Ontario government is investing $105 million through the new Community Building Fund to support non-profit tourism, culture, sport and recreation organizations. 

The operating stream of the Community Building Fund will open for applications on March 31, 2021.

For more information, check out this news release


Saskatchewan

Introduces 3 Hour Special Vaccination Leave for Employees

Saskatchewan has amended its occupational health and safety regulations to allow an employee to get paid time off from work to get a COVID-19 vaccination. The new regulation comes into force immediately.

The Special Vaccination Leave establishes that during the pandemic:

  • Workers are entitled to three consecutive hours leave during work hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Workers are entitled to more than three consecutive hours if the employer determines the circumstances warrant a longer break from work.
  • Workers do not lose any pay or other benefits while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information, check out this news release


British Columbia

Expands Eligibility & Funding for Launch Online Grant Program

Additional grant funding and expanded eligibility criteria has been announced for the Launch Online Grant program.

The BC government has:

  • Invested an additional $30 million to help BC-businesses move their business online. 
  • Expanded the eligibility criteria so that businesses that want to enhance or build an online booking system are now eligible to apply. 

Please see the updated eligibility criteria to see if your business qualifies.

For more information, check out this news release


Extends State of Emergency until March 30

The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency through the end of the day on March 30, 2021. 

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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