COVID-19 Updates:

  • Provincial News

Ontario Funds Innovative Company to Help Fight COVID-19

The Ontario government is providing Virox Technologies Inc. with $850,000 from the Ontario Together Fund to help the local manufacturer double its production of disinfectants and create jobs. The investment will assist in keeping people, frontline workers and communities safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. Virox is the first manufacturer to receive money from the Ontario Together Fund.

The announcement was made by Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Virox is planning to install a high-speed manufacturing assembly line to ramp up production of its Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide products. It is estimated that the new equipment will allow the company to produce 6,000 cases per day, which will help meet increased demand from the health care sector and general consumer market during the outbreak. The project will create 20 full- and part-time jobs and help retain 120 positions in Oakville.

Ontario Releases Plan to Resume Scheduled Surgeries and Procedures

The Ontario government has developed a comprehensive framework to help hospitals assess their readiness and begin planning for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures, while maintaining capacity to respond to COVID-19. Timelines will vary from hospital to hospital and be conditional on approval by regional oversight tables involved with planning and coordinating Ontario’s response to COVID-19.

The framework, A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, contains clear criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries, including ensuring that the hospital and its region have the following:

  • A stable number of COVID-19 cases;
  • A stable supply of personal protective equipment;
  • A stable supply of medications;
  • An adequate capacity of inpatient and intensive care unit beds;
  • An adequate capacity of health human resources; and
  • The availability of post-acute care outside the hospital that would be required to support patients after discharge.

These criteria will ensure hospitals take a measured and responsible approach that prioritizes the health and safety of patients and health care workers, while maintaining plans to support long-term care homes in their region.

The framework also sets out the criteria for prioritizing surgeries such as:

  • A patient’s condition;
  • The type of procedure a patient requires and whether options for non-operative treatments exist;
  • The associated risks of delaying a patient’s surgery; and
  • The resources required in terms of personal protective equipment, medications, intensive care unit beds, and other care requirements needed after an operation.

Ontario Protecting Forestry Jobs & Worker Safety During COVID-19

The Ontario government is protecting people and jobs in northern, rural and Indigenous communities, while supporting long-term forest sustainability, by investing in protective measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming tree planting season.

John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, announced the government is making $3.5 million available to help put protective measures in place for the workers who plant trees this season.

Funds will be used for larger camp facilities and additional kitchens to provide more space, as well as extra personal protective equipment, plastic partitions for transporting workers and more wash stations.

Support to Canadians and businesses affected by COVID-19

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working due to COVID-19. To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, workers may earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the benefit.

Individuals who are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits, or who have recently exhausted Employment Insurance regular or fishing benefits may also be eligible.

The CERB provides $500 per week for a maximum of 16 weeks, and is available from March 15, 2020, to October 3, 2020.

As of May 6, 2020, 7.72 million Canadians have accessed the CERB, and $28.82 billion in benefits have been paid out.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit www.canada.ca/coronavirus-CERB

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) supports employers that are hardest hit by the pandemic, and helps protect the jobs Canadians depend on.

The subsidy generally covers 75% of an employee’s wages – up to $847 per week – for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15% in March, and 30% in April and May.

The program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Employers who are eligible for the CEWS are entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of employees who are on leave with pay.

Since the CEWS launched last week, employers have applied for subsidies for almost 2 million workers.

For more information on eligibility and how to apply, visit CRA’s website.

Canada Emergency Business Account

To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which is delivered by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).

This program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

This will better position them to quickly return to providing services to their communities and creating employment. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

As of May 7, 564,000 applicants have been approved for CEBA for a total of $21.8 billion in cumulative funds disbursed. Additional applications are received daily.

For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit https://ceba-cuec.ca/.