With COVID-19, it seems as though there are constant changes in how governments are responding and, correspondingly, what Canadian employers need to do. We’ve captured the latest in this brief update as there are some significant changes that employers need to be aware of.
With the rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, the government has made an amendment to the Stage 3 rules and are now requiring all employers to conduct mandatory screening. This change became effective on September 26, 2020. This means that all employees and essential visitors must be screened before entering the workplace.
As part of this, employers should consider what their protocols and policies will be should someone test positive for or have been exposed to COVID-19. We’ve provided two links for options for mandatory screening below.
Minimum Wage Increase
Although not related to COVID-19, the following provinces’ minimum wage rates have increased as of October 1, 2020.
The minimum wage also increased earlier this year in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon. With the exception of Ontario, all these provinces and territories are anticipating another adjustment to their minimum wage rates in 2021.
For employers with workers who deliver publicly-funded personal support services, the government is providing a wage subsidy during COVID-19. This temporary wage subsidy is scheduled to be in place until March 31, 2021, and includes:
- $3.00 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in both home and community care.
- $3.00 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care.
- $2.00 per hour for approximately 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals.
- $3.00 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for daily living activities.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The CERB program ended effective September 26, 2020. Employees who were receiving this benefit, which still needs financial support, may be eligible for other benefits, including Employment Insurance or new recovery benefits such as the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefits and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. There are still some retroactive options for those who may need CERB but have not yet applied.
Available Government Programs
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Program is still currently in effect for a limited time (currently estimated to end at the end November 21, 2020), and eligible employers can apply if they have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19. The subsidy is available for employers to cover part of employee wages.
10% Wage Subsidy
This is a short-term federal program that provides eligible employers to reduce the number of payroll deductions they need to remit to the CRA. The program can equal savings up to $1,375 for each eligible employer up to a maximum of $25,000 per employer. Click here for more information.
The Work Sharing Program, which has long been in effect even prior to COVID-19, has had the program maximum extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks for employers who have been impacted by COVID-19. The Work Sharing Program provides employees who have had their hours of work reduced due to COVID-19 the ability to have the reduction supplemented through Employment Insurance. The program needs, however, to be implemented by the employer.
Along with the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) interest-free loan, the Federal government provides a host of other financial supports for businesses in Canada. Find out if one is right for your business here.
For more information or to speak with one of our Human Resources Consultants, please reach out to us here.