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COVID-19 Updates | Weekly Workplace Recap from March 19 to March 25, 2021

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Below are the key announcements from the FederalOntario, Saskatchewan, and BC governments that touch on workplace issues from March 19 to March 25, 2021.


Extends Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Application Period to June 30

Launched on April 9, 2020, CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses, to help cover their operating costs—such as rent, utilities and insurance—during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

The deadline for CEBA applications has now been extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021. This deadline extension applies to any new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000 or to new applications from businesses that have already received the $40,000 loan and intend to apply for the additional $20,000.

To apply for CEBA or to learn more about the program, businesses can contact their primary financial institution.  

Learn more on the official CEBA website.


Provides Guidance for Voluntary COVID-19 Testing in the Workplace

The Ontario government has published guidance for businesses and employees with respect to voluntary, supervised self-swabbing for COVID-19 in the workplace via rapid antigen point-of-care tests. These tests can be performed at workplaces by trained individuals and do not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing.

It's important to note that this guidance does not provide employers with the authority to implement a mandatory COVID-19 testing program in a workplace. Employers are responsible for seeking independent legal advice before implementing a testing program and developing a company policy related to COVID-19 testing.

The Provincial Testing Guidance will make it easier for businesses to offer voluntary, onsite testing as part of efforts to support a safe return to work.

For more information, check out this news release

Invests an Additional $1.7 Billion in Ontario Small Business Support Grant

On March 24, the Ontario government announced a second round of support through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.  Small businesses who have been determined as eligible recipients for the grant will automatically be entitled to a second payment in an amount equal to the first payment they receive. They will not need to apply again to receive this additional funding.

Approximately 120,000 small businesses will automatically benefit from an additional $1.7 billion in relief through this second round of support in the form of grants of a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 — bringing the estimated total support provided through this grant to $3.4 billion.

For more information, check out the Ontario Small Business Support Grant


Extends Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment

The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment will be extended to those businesses impacted by the Public Health Order announced on March 23, 2021. Due to increased COVID-19 transmission risk in Regina, many restrictions are being increased, such as:

Effective immediately, Tuesday, March 23:  

  • It is strongly recommended that all individuals in the Regina area able to work from home do so.

Effective 12:01 am, Sunday March 28:

  • All restaurants and licensed establishments must close for in-person dining. Take-out and delivery is permitted.
  • Event venues including banquet and community halls, conference facilities, arts venues, museums, libraries, live theatre, cinemas, arcades, bowling and science centres, or any non-essential indoor locations that had limits of 30 individuals are not permitted to operate at this time. 

 Application details for the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment will be announced in the coming days.

For more information, check out this news release

British Columbia

Invests an Additional $12 Million in Forest Employment Program (FEP)

The BC government has expanded its existing Forest Employment Program (FEP) with an additional $12 million.  The FEP is a 3-year program which provides short-term employment opportunities for contractors and workers in interior BC that have been affected by indefinite and permanent closures in the forest sector.

This additional investment will support more workers and contractors with opportunities to work on more than 180 land-based projects.

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