After making its initial announcement about the significantly expanded Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, the federal government announced on April 8, 2020, that it is introducing additional flexibility to the CEWS, and provided additional details about how the program will operate.
During these uncertain times, pension plan administrators must continue to administer their pension plans and provide benefits to members, former members and retired members. Employers and pension plan administrators face a number of upcoming filing and disclosure deadlines and may have challenges in meeting those deadlines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 1, 2020, the federal government provided important additional information about the previously announced expanded wage subsidy program and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Bill C-13, COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, received Royal Assent on March 25, 2020 after swift passage by Parliament and the Senate. This federal legislation implements the income support and other fiscal measures announced by the federal government on March 18, 2020.
On March 19, 2020, the Ontario Legislature met in an emergency session to pass legislation to extend protections for employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bill 186, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 amends the leaves of absence provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to provide more leave entitlements to employees impacted by the pandemic and to prohibit employers from requesting medical notes in relation to the new leave.
On March 18, 2020, the federal government announced an $82 billion aid package, with $27 billion in direct income support for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, and $55 billion to assist with liquidity in the form of tax deferrals.
On March 17, 2020, the Ontario government declared an emergency in Ontario as a result of COVID-19. It ordered the immediate closure of a number of venues, as well as enhanced funding for the province’s response to COVID-19.
Today, the Ontario government announced that it will be introducing legislation to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in light of COVID-19. In addition, the federal government announced, among other things, that the Canadian border will be closed to foreign nationals, with some exceptions.
As we learn more about the Novel Coronavirus (2019-vCoV or Coronavirus), employers will no doubt be contemplating the potential implications of this virus on their workplaces. We have set out below some of the emerging questions that employers may have right now and our answers and guidelines for how to address these issues.
Health officials in Canada have stated that the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains very low. That said, in recent weeks the virus has been top of mind for many, including employers. In this FTR Now, we discuss workplace pandemic planning and operational issues employers should be anticipating in the unlikely event of an outbreak.