COVID-19 Information from HPBAC
JULY 14, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Extended
Given the prolonged nature of the pandemic, both of these programs (in addition to others offered by the Government of Canada), have been extended beyond their initially planned duration.
The CERB program was extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks for workers who:
• stopped working due to COVID-19 or
• are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or
• have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits or Employment Insurance fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020.
The CEWS was extended by an additional 12 weeks, to August 29, 2020. As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 24 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to August 29, 2020.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Tools for Understanding COVID-19 Support Programs
The Government of Canada has two tools available on its website to help individuals and business owners navigate the web of support programs offered by the federal government. These tools ask a series of questions, designed to direct the user to all programs which may be applicable to their particular circumstances.
Click on the links below to access these tools.
NEW Retail Council of Canada Tools
RETAIL COUNCIL OF CANADA
The Retail Council of Canada has continued its strong effort to track both requirements as well as relief measures that apply to retailers in jurisdictions across Canada. The RCC also reviews items such as mask requirements, curbside pick up rules, and property tax and utility relief, broken down by jurisdiction.
Briefing Material: Global Health and Crisis Response
McKINSEY & COMPANY
Briefing Materials is a briefing deck put together by McKinsey & Co, commonly regarded as one of the top management consulting agencies globally.
This in-depth material takes a deep dive into five areas:
- The Situation Now
- Economic Outlook
- Forces Shaping The New Normal
- The Right Organization For The Next Normal
- Updated Economic Scenarios
Some points of interest include:
- The proportion of new cases is shifting from countries in Europe to North America, Latin America, and Asian Countries
- Some of the initial uncertainty associated with COVID-19 has been reduced – but it remains high
- Multiple vaccine candidates in development; several candidates could be available in the next 12-18 months
- General perception about the current economic situation is worsening around the world
- Forces shaping the Next Normal: Metamorphosis of demand, an altered workforce, changes in resiliency expectations, regulatory uncertainty, evolution of the virus
- Adoption of digital sales channels is ‘on the rise’
- COVID-19 has seen organizations achieve great success in record time: Redeploying talent, pivoting production, shifting operations, launching new business models, multiplying productivity
- Underpinning this is acceleration in speed through new ways of working
Can HVAC systems help prevent transmission of COVID-19?
McKINSEY & COMPANY
Continuing with a second, more industry-specific publication from McKinsey & Co., the firm has authored a piece entitled Can HVAC systems help prevent transmission of COVID-19?, which examines the role that HVAC systems may be able to play in reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus by purifying air, improving ventilation, and managing airflows. This article will be of interest both to members who sell, service and install HVAC equipment and for a better understanding of adjustments to settings you can make in your workspace to maximize air circulation.
The article covers topics including: Control-setting changes and upgrades to HVAC systems, Options for air purification, and Airflow management.
Click here to view the article.
APRIL 24, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be open on April 27
The Government of Canada has created a new page to help businesses get ready to apply for the CEWS. The page helps businesses determine eligibility, calculate their potential subsidy, understand how to apply, and contact the Canada Revenue Agency if necessary.
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.
Supports for Canadian Businesses
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CANADA
The BDC has produced a document which is a compilation of federal and provincial government support measures for business, which focuses on:
1. Access to capital and other liquidity support measures
2. Measures to avoid or minimize the impact from layoffs
3. Provincial /Territorial Measures
4. Resources and Additional Information
Note that many of the measures outlined in this document have been previously communicated by the Government of Canada and other sources.
Government of Canada Announces Rent Subsidy for Small and Medium Sized Businesses
In today’s daily briefing, the Prime Minister announced a new funding program to provide rent relief for Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses.
While the Government of Canada new release was not available at the time of this newsletter, the Toronto Star reports the following program details:
- Speaking outside Rideau Cottage, Trudeau said the new program will lower rents for eligible businesses by 75 per cent for payments due in April, May and June.
- The government will provide forgivable loans to commercial landlords that cover half of the rent they are owed for those three months if landlords agree to drop rents by 75 per cent, according to a news release from Trudeau’s office. The commercial tenant will cover the remaining 25 per cent.
- The program will apply to businesses that pay less than $50,000 per month in rent, Trudeau said.
HPBA Canada will provide more information on this program as it becomes available.
Brand in the Time of COVID-19
CHURCH + STATE
Here is a link to a marketing strategy guide put out by the Toronto-based marketing agency Church + State.
APRIL 16, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Two New Measures from the Government of Canada
Today, the Prime Minister announced two new pieces of news related to support for business:
- Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. (Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.)
- Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Expanded Access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit
To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government will be changing the eligibility rules of the CERB program to:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
APRIL 6, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Applications for Canada Emergency Response Benefit Now Open
If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
The benefit will be available to workers:
- Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old
- Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
- Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application
- Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment or self-employment income
Due to high application volumes, the Government of Canada is recommending people apply in the following order:
- If you January, February or March, apply on Mondays
- If you were born in April, May or June, apply on Tuesdays
- If you were born in July, August or September, apply on Wednesdays
- If you were born in October, November or December, apply on Thursdays
- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are for everyone
APRIL 1, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
Government Announces Details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
- Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
- Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
- For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
- An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
Article: Will Commercial BI Policies Cover Pandemics After COVID-19?
Will COVID-19 cause Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry to start introducing pandemic business interruption coverage, in much the same way Calgary’s 2013 floods prompted the industry to introduce overland flood coverage into home insurance policies? Don’t count on it.
Regional COVID-19 Measures and Updates
RETAIL COUNCIL OF CANADA
The Retail Council of Canada has compiled a comprehensive tracking of all COVID-19 measures by Canadian Jurisdiction. Members are encouraged to review both restrictions as well as support programs accessible to you in your jurisdiction, and contact HPBA Canada should you have any questions.
MARCH 27, 2020
Additional Support for Canadian Businesses
Today, the Government of Canada announced Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19.
While there are more details still to be released, here are some of the highlights as of now:
- A wage subsidy of 75% to qualifying small and medium sized businesses
- Providing interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits
- Deferring Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020
Further details of the wage subsidy and other programs will roll out in the coming days.
MARCH 26, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Yesterday, the House of Commons approved the Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
The goal of these measures is to provide direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion through tax deferrals, to help meet the cash needs of Canadian businesses and households, and to help stabilize the economy.
HPBA Canada staff have been speaking with members daily, and have heard from members with concern about the well being of their staff, as well as financial impacts of the pandemic on their businesses. Some of the measures below may offer support on these and other fronts.
Information relating to accessing these supports will be rolled out by the Government of Canada in the coming days, and available at Canada.ca, and HPBA Canada will look to pass on relevant details as they become available.
HELP FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES
- Introduces a Canada Emergency Response Benefit providing a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to support workers who lose their income as of result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation related to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. The CERB is available to Canadian workers affected by the current situation whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- Provides additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering almost $2 billion in extra support.
- Provides additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit, delivering $5.5 billion in support.
- Introduces a pause on the repayments of Canada Student Loans in the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act, the Canada Student Loans Act, and the Apprenticeship Loans Act in order to introduce a 6-month moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all borrowers currently in repayment.
- Helps protect seniors’ retirement savings from the impact of volatile market conditions by reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25 per cent for 2020.
HELP FOR BUSINESSES
- Helps businesses keep their workers by providing eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. Eligible employers would include small businesses (including co-operative corporations) eligible for the small business deduction, unincorporated employers, certain partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities.
- Supports Canadian businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) by temporarily providing the Minister of Finance with more flexibility to determine BDC’s capital limit, allowing it to provide further financial support to Canadian businesses when they need it.
- Supports Canadian businesses through Export Development Canada (EDC) by temporarily providing the Minister of Finance with more flexibility in setting EDC’s capital and liability limits – as well as the Canada Account limit – and expanding EDC’s ability to engage in domestic financial transactions so that it can more effectively deliver financial and credit insurance support to affected Canadian businesses.
HEALTH CARE SUPPORT
- Supports provinces and territories with a COVID-19 Response Fund that would provide one-time funding of $500 million through the Canada Health Transfer for their critical health care system needs and to support mitigation efforts as needed.
- Ensures the availability of drugs and medical devices by providing the Government with the authority to make regulations to address any future shortages of therapeutic products, including drugs and medical devices. This would include allowing for drug patent overrides in health emergencies in the period up to September 30, 2020, and for the importation of drugs and medical devices not authorized for sale in Canada to address certain shortages, such as for personal protective equipment or drugs required to treat COVID-19.
- Supports the agriculture and agri-food sector by amending the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Act to temporarily provide the Minister of Finance with the flexibility to set the limit on the amounts that may be paid by the Minister of Finance to FCC out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to ensure continued availability of credit to businesses in the agriculture and agri-food sector.
- Supports the mortgage financing market in Canada by enhancing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) access to capital, and increasing its insurance-in-force and guarantees-in-force legislative limits, so that it can continue to provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders in support of continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.
- Protects Canadians from the Spread of COVID-19 by providing authority to a federal minister to requisition funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health to support federal efforts to prevent or control the spread of COVID-19.
- Provides the Minister of Finance with flexibility to respond expeditiously to COVID-19 developments, by amending the Financial Administration Act (FAA) to temporarily remove the requirement for the Minister of Finance to receive Governor in Council’s authorization in order to use emergency powers.
- Supports the protection of Canadians’ savings by providing the Minister of Finance with the flexibility to increase the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation’s deposit insurance limit beyond its current level of $100,000.
For members continuing operations, particularly in jurisdictions with non-essential business closures, you may wish to consult your insurance providers, to understand any provisions or limitations on your existing coverage that your provider may put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what scenarios would or would not be covered.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
New Order Makes Self-Isolation Mandatory for Individuals Entering Canada
The order will be fully implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency at points of entry by midnight tonight. The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order. Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services. Individuals exempt from the Order will still need to practice social distancing and self monitoring and contact their local public health authority if they feel sick.
Individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 after arriving in Canada may not use public transportation to travel to their place of isolation. They also may not isolate in a place where they will be in contact with vulnerable people, such as seniors and individuals with underlying health conditions.
COVID-19 and Canadians’ State of Mind: Worried, Lonely, and Expecting Disruption for at Least 2 to 3 Months
On Monday, Abacus Data completed a comprehensive survey on how Canadians are feeling and reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak. Over the next few days, Abacus will be releasing findings from that study. In their first bulletin, they explore the anxiety caused by the epidemic.
Here are some of the key findings:
- 75% are following news or information about the outbreak either closely, and 69% are worried. Fully 40% say they are worried a lot or extremely worried (about 12 million Canadian adults). Men, especially younger men, are less concerned than women.
- At this point, partisanship is not a major driver of overall concern about COVID-19 in Canada. Almost equal numbers of Liberal, Conservative, and New Democratic partisans reporting being extremely worried or worried a lot about COVID-19 although Conservatives are slightly more likely to report being not that concerned about the epidemic.
- Most Canadians (55%) now believe they or someone they know will contract the coronavirus, a 27-point increase from a survey we conducted two weeks ago.
- Most (65%) feel that when it comes to COVID-19, the worst is still to come.
- Most (55%) feel that it will take 2 to 3 months or more before they will be able to live their lives more or less as they did before although many are unsure at this point.
- There are widespread impacts on mental health. 75% report feeling anxious, 37% feel lonely, and 32% say they are having a hard time falling asleep because of COVID-19. One in three (36%) report not wanting to watch the news or read about the virus because it makes them more anxious. Women, younger Canadians, and those in single-person households are more likely to report mental health strains of this sort.
Coronavirus: How Will it Impact Business in Canada? And What Happens Next?
Digital Communications During COVID-19
PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Learn to get the word out about the first global pandemic in a social media world. Find out how to leverage digital tools on evolving channels and platforms. Master best digital marketing practices for online reputation management, crisis management and digital marketing and advertising planning. Plus: Get tips for measuring the effectiveness of this digital communication in an uncertain time.
By the end of this webinar, you’ll be able to:
- Use digital communication tools effectively.
- Choose the best tools for the situation.
- Make situational adjustments to existing digital marketing plans.
MARCH 25, 2020
HPBA Canada has heard reports this week of industry members who have presumptive or positive COVID-19, including two members who attended the HPBAC Expo Reception. We will share more information on this situation as it becomes available.
We want to pass on our best wishes to them and encourage everyone to follow the Health Canada, WHO and their local health authority guidelines during this difficult time. HPBA Canada staff are self isolating for a minimum of 14 days and hope you are all doing so, especially anyone who has travelled outside of the country recently. For more information on the guidelines visit:
Living in self isolation and quarantine is challenging. Yesterday at 2 PM EST HPBAC hosted a virtual Member Forum on Zoom to provide our members with a platform for connecting with others. The event was well received, with 27 members in attendance from across the country.
We plan to continue offer this forum over the next few weeks so if you missed the last session, please watch for our next invitation.
Provinces Shutting Down Non-Essential Services
Ontario and Quebec have shut-down businesses deemed non-essential.
Below are the lists of essential businesses for each province.
HPBA Canada members are most likely to be captured by the following section:
13 – Businesses that provide support and maintenance services, including urgent repair, to maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings, including, property management services,plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, security services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, mechanics, (e.g. HVAC, escalator and elevator technicians), and other service providers who provide similar services
HPBA Canada has reached out to the Government of Ontario to inquire if any further clarification around this language is available.
HPBA Canada has heard from Ontario members who are making the decision to close, as well as members who are continuing some level of operation.
MPs Pass Legislation for COVID-19 Supports
The House of Commons has passed emergency legislation to free up $82 billion to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis, after a late night of wrangling over the bill’s more controversial measures.
Build a “Buy Online, Pickup Curbside” Store Presentation from Spotify
Staff at Shopify, an e-commerce platform, have posted a free slide deck on how to establish a “Buy Online, Pickup Curbside” store.
MARCH 20, 2020
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE CANADA
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.
Webinar: How to Cope with the Impacts of COVID-19
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CANADA
The spread of COVID-19 poses important challenges to Canadian businesses. Join this webinar to hear from BDC experts as they share short-term economic perspectives and to get advice on how to manage through the crisis.
Be Prepared, Not Alarmed: What Employers Should Know About COVID-19
Williams HR Law, a firm specializing in HR law which is a regular presenter to the Canadian Society of Association Executives, has put out a piece relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to access the publication. Sign-up required.
About Williams HR Law:
Our law firm provides labour and employment law services to employers across the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario. We specialize in helping organizations of all sizes manage HR law challenges on a proactive basis, before they can negatively impact business results. Our approach is flexible, cost-effective and practical. We’re committed to providing organizations with best-in-class legal expertise backed by years of real-world experience, which explains our long-standing reputation as an advocate-of-choice during difficult litigation proceedings. We do it by taking the time to understand your organization’s complex business needs and unique workplace culture before designing HR law solutions that are customized, comprehensive and effective.
Build Your Resilience in the Face of a Crisis
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
As the spread and far-reaching impacts of Covid-19 dominate the world news, we have all been witnessing and experiencing the parallel spread of worry, anxiety, and instability. Indeed, in a crisis, our mental state often seems only to exacerbate an already extremely challenging situation, becoming a major obstacle in itself. Why is this and how can we change it?
On the Lighter Side: National Arts Centre, Facebook to Fund Online Performances by Canadian Entertainers
GLOBE AND MAIL
With the COVID-19 pandemic cutting a hurricane-like path through the live entertainment industry, the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada have banded together to present live online presentations by Canadian performers. Professional musicians, dancers, comedians, theatre artists and more are encouraged to apply for $1,000 grants from a $100,000 relief package funded by Facebook Canada.
Called Canada Performs, the series kicks off Thursday at 2 p.m., with a concert by Blue Rodeo members Jim Cuddy and Colin Cripps, along with Cuddy’s musician sons Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley. Adhering to social-distancing protocol, they will stay 1.5 metres apart from each other while performing live, with no audience, from Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio.
Sources of Information
Here is a selection of sources providing the most updated information on the COVID-19 pandemic:
The following are links to the official news release pages from governments across Canada.
At the local level, consider contacting your local public health agency for updates and support in your community.
CBC and the Globe and Mail have set up daily email updates on COVID-19 news, which can be subscribed to on their home pages.