As the COVID-19 situation rapidly develops, we will do our utmost to communicate with you what government programs that are available to support you during these challenging times in addition to other relevant business updates.
- Introduction of special measures under its Work-Sharing program to help employers and employees avoid layoffs where there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. These measures include:
- extending the Work-Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks,
- waving the mandatory waiting period between agreements, and
- easing the recovery plan requirements.
- Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) have been allocated an additional $10 billion in funds to support small and medium sized businesses. However, further to our discussions with various representatives at BDC/EDC, the details with respect to how these funds will be utilized are in the process of being finalized.
- The one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits has been waived to help self-isolating employees.
- The Government of Ontario intends to introduce legislation that provides job-protected leave for employees unable to work for the following reasons:
- The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19, they are acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, they are in isolation or quarantine and they are acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
- The employer directs the employee not to work.
- The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as school or day-care closure.
Planning and Next Steps for Businesses
- If you find it difficult to fund your business’s salaries/wages, consider a temporary layoff of workers with a record of employment so they may collect EI immediately due to the wavier of the EI waiting period (previously 1 week).
- Since no details have been provided on how to obtain BDC COVID-19 related financing, if you have a relationship with BDC, you should reach out to your account manager.
- While no measures have been announced by the big banks, we expect to hear more from them soon.
- Every company needs to assess their individual payment plans to landlords and other business partners and negotiate some working capital assistance on a case by case basis.
- Stay up to date with daily updates from Health Canada officials at noon EDT.
- The Federal government has not announced any extensions to the upcoming personal/trust/partnership tax return deadlines.
Bateman MacKay’s COVID-19 Action Plan
Further to our Action Plan released on March 13, 2020 (you can review our latest update here), we have recently recommended our staff to work from home. If client documents cannot be sent electronically, they can still be dropped off in containers just inside our office doors, which are monitored and scanned/circulated to the appropriate Bateman MacKay team member regularly.