COVID-19 Updates:

  • Community Update

Ontario Releases Guide on How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan

The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.

The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.

The government’s first general workplace guide is accompanied by a template that employers can fill in to develop their own unique COVID-19 safety plan. The materials will help employers:

  • Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects;
  • Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and personal protective equipment including face and eye protection;
  • Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer’s workplace;
  • Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and
  • Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.

The new guide is supported by 121 workplace resources available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety to help protect workers from the virus. They include safety guidelines and helpful posters with tips for 28 distinct sectors such as construction, food, agriculture, manufacturing and long-term care. These materials were developed by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development in consultation with provincial health and safety associations.

Prime Minister announces extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

More Canadians are returning to work, but many people still face challenges due to COVID-19. As we begin to take steps to safely restart our economy, we will continue to support Canadians to protect their health and economic well-being.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.

The Government of Canada introduced the CERB to immediately help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so they could continue to put food on the table and pay their bills during this challenging time. As we begin to restart the economy and get people back on the job, Canadians receiving the benefit should be actively seeking work opportunities or planning to return to work, provided they are able and it is reasonable to do so.

That is why the government will also make changes to the CERB attestation, which will encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches. Over the next few weeks, the government will monitor international best practices, the economy, and the progression of the virus and, if needed, make necessary changes to the program so more people can have the support they need. We will also look at ways to ensure all our supports, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Employment Insurance (EI), are working effectively to help Canadians get back on their feet.

The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced, due to COVID-19.

The CERB is available to workers who:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020
  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
  • have not earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income per benefit period while collecting the CERB
  • have not quit their job voluntarily

Today’s announcement builds on a number of measures, including the proposed extension of the CEWS announced on May 15. The CEWS is being extended to August 29, 2020, to protect jobs, allow businesses to keep employees on the payroll, and re-hire workers who were previously laid off.

While parts of our economy safely begin to restart, many Canadians are still experiencing the effects of COVID-19. Both the CERB and the CEWS were introduced as part of our plan to rapidly support Canadians through this crisis. The government is committed to continuing to support Canadians across all sectors until they can consistently and safely return to work.