COVID-19 Information from HPBA Canada

COVID-19 Information from HPBAC

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

COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

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.

OTHER SUPPORTS

  • 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.

Insurance Coverage

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.

New Order Makes Self-Isolation Mandatory for Individuals Entering Canada

GOVERNMENT OF 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

ABACUS DATA

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.

View the full article.

Coronavirus: How Will it Impact Business in Canada? And What Happens Next?

QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY

How is COVID-19 continuing to impact businesses, consumers and employees in Canada? Smith professors Kate Rowbotham, A. Scott Carson and Wei Wang recently shared their insights in a webinar from Queen’s Executive Education.

Watch the full discussion.

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.

Register here.

MARCH 25, 2020

HPBAC Update

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:

World Health Organization
Health Canada
Know the Difference: Self Isolation, Self Monitoring and Isolation
How to Self Isolate

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.

ONTARIO

List of Essential Businesses

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

CBC NEWS

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.

View article here.

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.

View Slide Deck.

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.

Register here.

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?

Click Here to Access the Article

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.

Register here.

Sources of Information

Here is a selection of sources providing the most updated information on the COVID-19 pandemic:

GOVERNMENTS

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.

NATIONAL MEDIA

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.

HPBA Canada will continue to share information on this rapidly changing situation. Please direct questions or comments to:

ADAM DE CAIRE
Director of Public Affairs
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada
647-998-4235 | adam@hpbacanada.org