COVID-19 Update:

  • Provincial News

Ontario Allows the Redeployment of Staff to Better Care for Vulnerable People During COVID-19

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is introducing new and amending some emergency orders under subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to better support Ontario’s long-term care homes and deafblind community. The orders would allow for the redeployment of staff to ensure they can work where they are needed most during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government is also amending an emergency order to help ensure food security for some individuals and families during the pandemic. 

Ontario Parks to Remain Closed until May 31, 2020

Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, issued the following statement on Ontario Parks operations in response to COVID-19:

“In order to keep Ontarians safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, our government is extending the closure of Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation reserves to May 31, 2020. This includes car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, day use opportunities, access points and all public buildings.

Provincial parks and conservation reserves will continue to remain fully closed to all recreational activities.

Reservations for arrivals up to, and including, any further closure extension date will be automatically cancelled and reservation holders will receive a full refund with no penalty. We are also providing penalty-free refunds to reservation holders who wish to change or cancel their 2020 camping reservation, regardless of arrival date. 

Please continue to visit OntarioParks.com and Ontario Parks social media channels for the most up-to-date information.

Ontario Allows the Redeployment of Staff to Better Care for Vulnerable People During COVID-19

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is introducing new and amending some emergency orders under subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to better support Ontario’s long-term care homes and deafblind community. The orders would allow for the redeployment of staff to ensure they can work where they are needed most during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government is also amending an emergency order to help ensure food security for some individuals and families during the pandemic. 

The new and amended emergency orders being introduced will:

  • Allow health service providers, including hospitals, to temporarily reassign frontline staff to provide services and supports in long-term care homes.This will help to quickly provide much-needed staffing support to long-term care homes while they continue to fight outbreaks.
  • Provide staffing flexibility to service providers and employers in the intervenor services sector, which helps people who have a combined loss of hearing and vision. This will give employers the temporary authority to redirect staff to carry out essential tasks to support and protect people who are deafblind. It will also ensure staffing measures are in place to allow for physical distancing.
  • Permit the use of allotment gardens and community gardens across the province. These gardens are an essential source of fresh food for some individuals and families, including those who face food insecurity. Local medical officers of health will provide advice, recommendation and instructions that the gardens must meet in order to operate, such as physical distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly used equipment and surfaces.

Ontario Provides Urgent Relief for Small Businesses and Landlords

The Ontario government is partnering with the federal government to provide urgent relief for small businesses and landlords affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The province is committing $241 million through the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA). The total amount of provincial-federal relief that would be provided is more than $900 million, helping to ensure small businesses are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.

The OCECRA will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To receive the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June 2020 by at least 75 per cent and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

Partnering with the federal government on the OCECRA builds on the provincial government’s approach to supporting business during COVID-19. As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the government has implemented a series of cash flow supports amounting to $10 billion to help support jobs and the economy, including:

  • Doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption for 2020, cutting taxes by $355 million, benefiting roughly 57,000 employers;
  • Eliminating penalties and interest to businesses who miss filing or remittance deadlines for various provincially administered taxes for five months starting April 1, 2020, providing up to $6 billion in cashflow for about 100,000 Ontario businesses;
  • Postponing the planned property tax reassessment for 2021, providing stability for Ontario’s property taxpayers;
  • Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, providing municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses;
  • Implementing the new Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit for businesses that make eligible capital investments in designated regions of the province where employment growth has significantly lagged behind below the provincial average.

Ontario has also suspended time-of-use electricity rates for eligible small businesses, as well as residential and farm time-of-use customers, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour, for 24 hours per day, seven days a week for 45 days, for all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.

The Ontario government has also worked with the federal government to develop the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank. This program will help businesses meet cash flow requirements through guaranteed loans.

Governments of Canada and Manitoba Announce Support for Local Food Producers and Farmers’ Markets

The Governments of Canada and Manitoba will be supporting a project which will allow local food producers and farmers’ markets to sell their products online, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.

Canada and Manitoba will be providing a total of $160,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to Direct Farm Manitoba to purchase a software platform that will allow Manitobans to order food online from local producers and farmers’ markets. The funding will also go toward the development of a network of pick-up and delivery options to connect consumers with their orders, and the development of COVID-19 safe handling and packaging practices for producers and processors.

Government of Canada launches applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Governments of Canada and Manitoba will be supporting a project which will allow local food producers and farmers’ markets to sell their products online, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced today.

Canada and Manitoba will be providing a total of $160,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to Direct Farm Manitoba to purchase a software platform that will allow Manitobans to order food online from local producers and farmers’ markets. The funding will also go toward the development of a network of pick-up and delivery options to connect consumers with their orders, and the development of COVID-19 safe handling and packaging practices for producers and processors.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – Application

The CEWS allows eligible employers to rehire workers who were laid-off due to COVID-19, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The CEWS application process is now open. 

Applying for the CEWS

To provide more information and resources for employers and their representatives, the CEWS web page has been expanded to include an application guide, the CEWS attestation, and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section that will be updated regularly.

The easiest way to apply for the CEWS is through My Business Account or Represent a Client

The CRA will collect applications throughout this week, and we will use this time to optimize the parameters of our automated verification system based on information we gather through the applications we receive. This will allow us to process all of the applications we’ve received through our automated verification system on May 4. As such, employers can apply at a time that’s convenient for them during this week. 

Employers who have taken advantage of the CEWS calculator function will be able to use the printable statement feature to enter required information into their application, submitting their claim quickly and easily. 

Beginning April 27, 2020, certain financial institutions will offer CRA direct deposit online enrolment for business payroll accounts through their websites, helping businesses get their payments quickly and securely. Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS. We recommend that employers register by May 3 in order to receive their first CEWS payment through direct deposit. Visit Canada.ca/cra-direct-deposit or your financial institution’s website for more information. 

If employers are not registered for direct deposit, they should allow additional time for their cheque to be delivered by mail to the address on their payroll account (RP).

Employers that are severely affected by the crisis and who make best efforts to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility requirements should expect that the CRA will accept their applications and representations. However, as is the case with other tax measures, CEWS claims will be subject to verification by the CRA. To this end, the CRA may telephone businesses to validate information. 

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers reduces the amount of income tax source deductions that employers have to remit to CRA on behalf of their employees by up to 10% of their remuneration (to a maximum of $1,375 per employee up to $25,000 per employer). Many employers that qualify for the CEWS also qualify for the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers.

CEWS and the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers are intended to provide total support of up to 75% for payroll, not 75% + 10%. If you did not reduce the source deductions you remitted to the CRA, but you were entitled to the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers, the CRA will treat you as having over-remitted your employee source deductions (so that normally you will be entitled to a refund).

Additional information is available in the CEWS Application Guide

For more information

For more information on the CEWS, please visit our CEWS portal including detailed FAQs about the subsidy and the application process. In addition, we have created infographics to explain eligibility and how to use the CEWS calculator.

Canadians who would like to obtain information by phone can call the dedicated CEWS number at 1-833-966-2099. This line offers access to agents who can provide information about eligibility requirements, calculating the CEWS, or how to apply. The line is operational from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. local time.

To learn more about what CRA is doing, go to Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. To get the latest information please bookmark this page as we update it often and follow us on our social media channels.