COVID-19: Economic Measures for Employers and Employees

by | Oct 22, 2020 | COVID | 0 comments

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the lives of Canadians, the government has introduced several measures to assist those in need, including both employers and employees.

While many businesses have been forced to close, many employers and employees alike have been left with questions.

Due to the high volume of information being provided daily, below is a highlight of the measures introduced that affect employment.

Federal Economic Measures for Employers and Employees

Helping Businesses Keep Their Workers Wage Subsidy

March 18, 2020, the “Helping Businesses Keep Their Workers Wage Subsidy” was introduce by Prime Minister Trudeau.  The goal of the program is to assist employers with retaining their employees.

The plan provides employers with a subsidy that covers up to 75% of wages for workers.  This subsidy will be available to any business, regardless of size, including non-profit organizations and charitable organizations.

To be eligible, applicants must have suffered at least a 30% decrease in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are approved for the subsidy, the government will then cover up to 75% of the employees’ wages to the first $58,700 worth of salary, resulting in $847.00 per week.

Details regarding how to apply, how to prove the 30% decline in revenue, how to receive the subsidy and when the entire plan will roll out are still unclear.

Postponement of Tax Filing

Business are now able to defer paying income tax that becomes owing between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020 until September 1, 2020.  No penalties or interest will apply to these unpaid tax balances during this time.

The CRA is also temporarily suspending audit interactions with taxpayers and their representatives and will not initiate any post-assessment GST/HST or income tax audits for small or medium businesses to April 15, 2020.

Tax Filing

The CRA is deferring tax filing for 2019 tax returns to June 1, 2020 for individuals and May 1, 2020 for trusts having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019.

Any income tax owing between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020 under Part 1 of the Income Tax Act will be deferred until September 1, 2020.

The CRA will now also accept electronic signatures, temporarily, during this time.

Unemployment Support for Individuals

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 per month for up to four months to:

  • Workers who are required to stop working due to COVID-19 and don’t have access to paid leave or other income support
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or caring for someone who has COVID-19
  • Working parents who have to stay home without pay to care for their children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures
  • Workers who still retained their employment but aren’t being paid because there is currently not enough work and their employer has asked that they not come in (such as shifts being cancelled)
  • Wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits.

This benefit will be available online or by telephone starting in early April.  The exact date is still unknown.

For a full list of the Government measures for Canadian’s visit the Government of Canada website here.

Ontario Economic Measures for Employers and Employees

Taxes for Businesses

The Ontario Government will provide five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make tax payments.  It will also be deferring the pending municipal remittance of education property tax and employers will be able to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments.

Protecting Workers

The Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 was passed to provide protection to workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new legislation will provide job protection leave to employees who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or employees who are unable to attend work to care for children or relatives.  The legislation is retroactive to January 25, 2020 and states that employees will NOT have to provide sick notes to employers in this regard.

For a full list of all economic measures for Ontarian’s, visit Ontario News release website here.

For more information about COVID-19 in Ontario, visit here.

If you have questions regarding your employment and the COVID-19 crisis or you are an employer unsure of what to do next, contact Ertl Law for a free phone consultation toll free at 1-888-222-6184 or 416-572-9900.

David Ertl Lawyer
About David Ertl
David Ertl, LL.B, has practiced employment and disability law for over 20 years. He is also a certified workplace investigator, former adjunct professor, and has written extensively in the areas of employment law, disability insurance, and tribunal practice and procedure.


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