COVID-19: Cross country update (July 18-20, 2020)

21 juillet 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Changes to CEWS, Support for Persons with Disabilities and Extensions to Time Limits

On July 20, Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures.  Highlights of the proposed Act include:

  1. Expansion of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”):
    • extending the CEWS until November 21, 2020, with the ability to extend the CEWS by regulation to no later than December 31, 2020;
    • making the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30% and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers;
    • introducing a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic;
    • providing certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules; and
    • addressing certain technical issues identified by stakeholders, such as providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity’s business assets.
  1. Authorization of the disclosure of information for the purpose of providing a one-time, non-taxable payment of $600 to persons with disabilities. To be eligible, a person must be:
    • the holder of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate;
    • currently receiving Canada Pension Plan disability benefits or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits; or
    • in receipt of disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.
  1. Extension of time limits – the proposed Bill C-20 would enact the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) which addresses the need for flexibility in relation to certain time limits and other periods that are difficult or impossible to meet as a result of COVID-19. Specifically, the enactment:
    • suspends, for a maximum of six months, certain time limits in relation to proceedings before courts;
    • temporarily enables ministers to suspend or extend time limits and to extend other periods in relation to specified Acts and regulations for a maximum of six months; and
    • provides for the transparent exercise of the powers it confers and for Parliamentary oversight over the exercise of those powers.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Online Tool for Temporary Lay-Off Application Process

In June, the B.C. Government extended the time period for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 to a maximum of 24 weeks, expiring on August 30, 2020.  A new online application makes it easier for employers and workers to jointly apply for an extension beyond August 30 by eliminating the need for hardcopy documents and signatures.

Applications involve two steps:

  • Employers must survey the workforce to obtain more than 50% support from workers before applying; and
  • Once worker support is documented, employers must complete the online form and submit the document in the new portal.

The application deadline is August 25, 2020, although employers are encouraged to apply as soon as they have received worker support.

Wholesale Liquor Pricing

Restaurants and tourism businesses are now able to purchase liquor at wholesale pricing. This change is designed to help mitigate some of the effects COVID-19 is having on the hospital and tourism industry. The temporary authorization will remain in effect until March 31, 2021.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

New Program to Help Agri-Processors

A new $3-million Canadian Agricultural Partnership program will be implemented to support projects that will help agricultural processors mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  The program will be cost-shared between the Federal and Manitoba Governments and will provide financial assistance to agri-food and agri-product processors, food distributors and agri-food industry organizations for the following:

  • personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies;
  • business continuity practices, training and resources to support COVID-19 mitigation; and
  • starting in September, financial assistance will also be available for materials, supplies and equipment rentals needed to adapt production processes to meet social distancing and other precautions related to COVID-19.

Further details of the program include the following:

  • to be eligible, costs must be directly related to the execution of a project and must be incurred between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021;
  • projects must be completed on or before January 31, 2021; and
  • a maximum of 50% of eligible project costs, up to $25,000 per applicant, will be contributed.

Funding applications can be made on the Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development website.

#RestartMB Event Attraction Strategy

On July 20, Premier Brian Pallister announced that the Manitoba Government is launching an $8 million #RestartMB Event Attraction Strategy and making a bid to be the Canadian Football League’s hub city in fall 2020.

The Strategy is meant to benefit the entire provincial economy, but in particular, the tourism and hospitality sectors, including restaurants and hotels, by promoting the province’s ability to host large-scale meetings, conventions and events.

If Winnipeg is selected as the CFL hub city, the province will commit $2.5 million of the $8 million fund towards eligible expenses including:

  • food and accommodations;
  • practice field rentals;
  • group transportation; and
  • event-specific expenses in Manitoba.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

More Regions Moving into Stage 3

Commencing Friday, July 24, 2020, the following regions in Ontario will be entering Stage 3:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services.

The following regions will remain in Stage 2 until local trends of key public health indicators indicate readiness to move forward:

  • Peel Public Health;
  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

For more information on the restrictions that will remain in place during Stage 3, visit Ontario.ca/reopen.

Businesses Unable to Open Due to Stage 3 Restrictions

Businesses that have not been able to open or resume full activities due to Stage 3 restrictions, or those that have ideas to safely amend Stage 3 restrictions or requirements, are able to submit a reopening proposal on the Government’s website: www.Ontario.ca/reopen. Submitting proposals is encouraged as a sector may be allowed to reopen or resume Stage 3 activities based on proposals submitted by businesses.

Support for Ontario Place

Ontario Place will be provided with $2 million to support on-site activities, including several innovative festivals and events that give people the opportunity to safely reengage in arts and culture experiences. This support is designed to help with the economic recovery of the arts, entertainment and hospitality sectors in Ontario.  To view this summer’s line-up at Ontario Place, see this news release.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

K-12 School Reopening

The reopening date for K-12 schools for principals, teachers and staff has been changed to Wednesday, September 2 from Tuesday, September 8 to allow teachers and staff to receive orientation on health and safety related procedures. Schools will reopen to students on Wednesday, September 9.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

Collection of Contact Information

Pursuant to the state of emergency mandatory order, venues at which seating is offered for the purposes of eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment are required to maintain a record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend. The same applies to anyone who hosts, organizes or permits gatherings larger than 50.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Supports for Small Business and Tourism Industry

The Government of Nunavut announced the launch of ShopNunavut.ca, a platform highlighting local products, services, and experiences available to Nunavummiut. This website provides a one-stop-shop for a variety of products. It will be active until the end of 2020.

Legal Registries Office

The Legal Registries Office will re-open for public access beginning July 20, 2020. Access is limited to one person at a time.

 

Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

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