Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, received Royal Assent on July 27, 2020. Please see our previously published article summarizing notable changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program here.
On July 17, 2020, the federal government announced that it would extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program (“CEWS”) until December of 2020, and proposed several significant changes that will, among other things, allow more employers to access subsidies.
On July 20, 2020, the federal government introduced Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, to extend and adapt the CEWS program. On July 21, 2020, Bill C-20 received its third reading, and is expected to receive royal assent very soon. If passed, Bill C-20 will retroactively impact the CEWS program, generally commencing with the fifth qualifying period which commenced on July 5, 2020 (subject to a “safe harbour” discussed below).…
Continue Reading Federal Government Extends & Amends Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program
Starting July 7, 2020, the City of Toronto will require businesses to ensure masks or face coverings are worn by the public in their enclosed public spaces.
- The City of Toronto’s bylaw will come into force on July 7, 2020. It is currently set to expire on or about October 1, 2020, but may be extended.
- The new bylaw will generally apply to all indoor spaces within the City of Toronto that are openly accessible to the public. The bylaw will not require individuals to wear masks or face coverings in workplaces that are not openly accessible to the public will not be required.
- A list of public spaces exempted from the bylaw can be found here: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-what-you-should-do/covid-19-orders-directives-by-laws/mandatory-mask-or-face-covering-bylaw/
- Under the bylaw, there are exceptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, and for children under two years old. There are further exceptions for individuals who are, for example, eating a meal or engaging in athletic or fitness activity.
If you are an Ontario employer who has implemented, or is considering implementing, temporary layoffs, wage reductions, or hours of work reductions, the Ontario Government’s recent changes will matter to you.
On May 29, 2020, the Ontario Government filed a new regulation changing the rules regarding employee eligibility for infectious disease emergency leave, temporary layoffs and constructive dismissals under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), with retroactive effect.
Below is a summary of the most important aspects of this new regulation and why the changes will matter to your workplace and employees.
How Long Do These Changes Last?
The regulation applies retroactively, dealing primarily with the time period beginning March 1, 2020 and ending six weeks after the declared emergency ends. The Government has called this the “COVID-19 Period”. The Government recently extended the current declared emergency until June 30, meaning the regulation will be operative until at least August 11, 2020. A further extension to the declared emergency is possible, and this would automatically extend the life of the new regulation.
We are excited to share with you the BNN Bloomberg article, “As new work realities set in, here’s what employees should know.” Kevin Coon was interviewed for this article which addresses how employees should handle finances related to the workplace, including home office expenses, filing taxes, paid sick leave, and knowing what they can expect…
As COVID-related restrictions begin to be lifted, employers are properly focused on ensuring that their workplaces and workforces are prepared for reopening. However, there is some suggestion that full or partial reclosings, followed by subsequent reopenings, may need to occur until a vaccine is developed, mass immunity exists, or sufficient treatment methods are implemented. As …
Our last installment focused on preparing physical workplaces for reopening, having regard to public health and occupational health and safety requirements. At this point, employers following along are alive to critical legal considerations that are unique to physical workplaces. In this installment of The Canadian Employers’ Reopening Playbook we discuss complex legal and practical considerations to return workforces to “COVID-prepared” workplaces.…
Continue Reading The Canadian Employers’ Reopening Playbook (Part 3)
Planning the Return to Work Process
With the pandemic situation continuously evolving, it can be difficult to think about anything besides the immediate response. The early days of the pandemic required employers to act fast and make quick decisions to protect workers, safeguard client/customer relationships, and stabilize operations. But, as restrictions are gradually lifted, and we move beyond the immediate crisis phase, employers across Canada need to carefully plan how to reopen workplaces, resume operations, and get people back to work. A carefully planned and deliberate approach to reopening is required to protect workers in the short-term and remain resilient in the long-term.
This installment of The Canadian Employers’ Reopening Playbook will address key issues employers should consider when planning to reopen physical workspaces.…
Continue Reading The Canadian Employers’ Reopening Playbook (Part 2)
Why Have a Playbook?
As provincial governments move towards reopening their economies and taking steps to return to normal, employers must balance a range of important – and, at times, conflicting – considerations.
Some of the key questions may seem obvious:
- Are we allowed to reopen and if so, when, and with what restrictions?
- What steps are required to keep employees and all other individuals who come into or onto our premises safe?
- How do we get our employees back to work, and what if they don’t want to return at this time?
- How will reopening impact the availability of government support programs for us and our employees?
Over the coming days, through a series of client alerts, we will explore these questions and more, providing detailed and practical guidance that employers can draw upon and adapt for their specific workplaces. The Canadian Employers’ Reopening Playbook will break down common employment-related issues employers should consider when:
- Planning the return to work process;
- Implementing the return to work process; and
- Operating in a changed environment.
On May 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”) will be extended for an additional 12-week period to August 29, 2020. At the same time, the government announced retroactive regulatory changes, and legislative proposals expected to come into force at a later date. These changes were introduced in an effort to promote employment and stimulate economic recovery as restrictions are gradually lifted across Canada.
Immediate Changes to CEWS Eligibility:
The government introduced a series of regulations extending eligibility for the CEWS to the following categories of employers:
- Partnerships with one or more non-eligible members will be eligible so long as non-eligible entity partners control a minority of the partnership’s interests at fair market value during the qualifying period;
- Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business and are tax-exempt under paragraph 149(1)(d.5) of the Income Tax Act, their wholly-owned subsidiaries that are carrying on a business and are tax-exempt under paragraph 149(1)(d.6) of the Income Tax Act, as well as partnerships where the partners are members of Indigenous governments and eligible employers;
- Non-public education and training institutions, including for-profit and non-profit private colleges, schools, and institutions (i.e., arts schools, language schools, driving schools, flight schools and culinary schools);
- National-level Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations that are tax-exempt under paragraph 149(1)(g) of the Income Tax Act; and
- Registered Journalism Organizations that are tax-exempt under paragraph 149(1)(h) of the Income Tax Act.