Canada covid-19 response

What Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Measures Mean For Your Business

Published on: 18 March 2020, [Last Updated: 15 Jan 2021]

Below are the links which detail the specific economic response measures introduced by the Government of Canada (listed below) to assist businesses with COVID-related business challenges. As it is the most popular support benefit, we have detailed the new Emergency Wage Subsidy below)

  • Ontario Issues Province-Wide “Stay at Home Order” – (NEW – Jan 2021)
  • Changes to the Employment Standards Act of Ontario – Reg 228/20
  • Emergency Wage Subsidy (UPDATED BELOW)
  • Changes to the EI Work-Sharing Program
  • Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes
  • Business Credit Availability Program
  • Assistance in Managing Financial Hardships (including for Mortgages and other Loans)Emergency Care Benefit
  • Emergency Support Benefit
  • EI Sickness Benefit
  • Income Support for Modest or Low-Income Earners
  • If you have questions about which mix of programs is right for you and your employees, please reach out and we can help you develop a solution that balances the right mix of fiscal responsibility and employee care. contact us to discuss options.

Quick Links:

New Regulation to ESA Regarding Temporary Layoffs

The Ontario Government implemented Regulation 228/20 to the ESA with regard to employees on Temporary Layoff, which is welcome news for Ontario employers. Below is a summary of the changes, as defined by Rudner Law: (NOTE: IDEL provisions extended until July 3, 2021 if the pandemic continues)

  1. Employees who have had hours/pay reduced or eliminated due to COVID-19 will be retroactively deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL)
  2. Employees are entitled to continue to receive benefits while they are off and to be reinstated when their leave ends
  3. Going forward, any temporary reduction or elimination of hours/pay is not a layoff, termination or constructive dismissal – even if it extends beyond the time allowed for temporary layoffs under the ESA.
  4. This does not apply to employees who were already dismissed, PERMANENTLY laid off or provided notice of termination prior to May 29, 2020

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – (UPDATED 9 APR 2020)

A 3-Month, temporary wage subsidy provided to employers of up 75% of remuneration paid up to up to the first $58,700 (or up to $847/week).

The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid between March 15 and June 6, 2020 would be the greater of:

  • 75 per cent of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week; and
  • The amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75 per cent of the employee’s pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less.

Includes: Refund for Certain Payroll Contributions

The Government is proposing to expand the CEWS by introducing a new 100 per cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

This refund would cover 100 per cent of employer-paid contributions for eligible employees for each week throughout which those employees are on leave with pay and for which the employer is eligible to claim for the CEWS for those employees.  

NOTE: Employers would be required to continue to collect and remit employer and employee contributions to each program as usual. Eligible employers would apply for a refund, as described above, at the same time that they apply for the CEWS. 

Who is Eligible?

This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months (see Eligible Periods).

Eligibility would generally be determined by the change in an eligible employer’s monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began.

In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue.

"Serious consequences" were also mentioned for employers willing to try and "game" the system, though no details were provided on what those consequences may be. 


Available immediately

How to Apply

Employers can take advantage of this subsidy immediately by reducing employer remittances of income tax withheld on employee’s remuneration in the amount of 10% for three months up to the minimums listed above

Eligible employers would be able to apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application.

Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

More information + Links

For program specifics and to see how this measure interacts with other support measures, such as the Work-Sharing Program or the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy, Click Here

t is a confusing and rapidly changing time for employers.
If you have specific questions regarding COVID-19 preparedness or dealing with specific issues, please reach out – we’re here to help.

Stay safe, practice social distancing and wash your hands!

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