Updated: June 23, 2020
It can be difficult to follow the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving battle to contain the novel coronavirus. Every day there’s a new barrage of headlines about the virus’ impact locally, and abroad. Health officials are routinely updating the public on new presumptive and confirmed cases, and world economies have been on a dizzying roller-coaster ride. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of individuals and businesses across North America and the world. Local and federal governments are implementing programs to assist many of us through these difficult times, as we all try to stay safe by following precautionary measures and advice recommended by public health authorities. In an effort to assist our clients, candidates, and colleagues, the following is a listing of government programs and initiatives and is current as of the date listed above. We shall endeavor to update this page with current information as it becomes available.
Ontario Government Releases New COVID-19 Workplace Guide
On June 16, 2020 the Government of Ontario released a new general workplace guide to help employers who are reopening and assist employers in developing a COVID-19 safety plan. The guide is intended to help employers:
- Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact and actions such as touching faces with hands that have been contaminated by contact with surfaces and objects;
- Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk, such as engineering controls like the installation of plexiglass to separate workers from customers, administrative controls limiting the number of workers in a space at one time, and personal protective equipment including face and eye protection;
- Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employer’s workplace;
- Implement the plan in the workplace, and review and update it as the situation evolves; and
- Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.
The Ontario Government has also created a template COVID-19 safety plan to assist employers who are reopening their businesses. This safety plan should be communicated with employees, unions, supervisors, health and safety representatives or members of joint health and safety committees, contractors, and suppliers. Employers are not required to send this safety plan to the Ministry of Labour.
The Ontario Government’s workplace guide contains information on the use of face coverings and protective equipment, as well as recommendations to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19. Employers are being encouraged to:
- screen workers;
- support people with symptoms to self-isolate;
- ensure people maintain a physical distance of 2 metres or more;
- disinfect surfaces and objects;
- support hand hygiene, particularly handwashing;
- remind workers about good cough and sneeze etiquette and to avoid touching their face; and
- work with their local public health unitif any workers have COVID-19 or are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
The Ontario Government has provided a “hierarchy of controls” to be put in place by employers. Elimination of COVID-19 workplace risks is the most effective, which is achieved by having all employees work from home where possible. Other options to reduce risk are: implementing engineering controls, such as removing unnecessary doors in the workplace that many people have to touch; or administrative controls, such as staggering work shifts and breaks, establishing new cleaning and disinfection protocols, limiting employees in the same space, etc.
Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) should only be used after other controls have been carefully considered and all other feasible options to reduce risk have been implemented. The Ontario Government has stated face coverings, including non-medical masks, are not PPE and are not an appropriate substitute to physical distancing in the workplace.
The workplace guidance also includes steps employers need to take if a worker has symptoms, which may be related to COVID-19, or is diagnosed with COVID-19. Employers need to exclude symptomatic workers from the workplace and contact the local public health unit for guidance regarding next reporting steps. Public Health Ontario may conduct contact tracing if needed. Public health guidance and other applicable Ministry of Labour reporting requirements should be followed.
Employers are encouraged to routinely update and review their COVID-19 safety plan.
The above link provides a map of Canada that visitors may hover over, tap, or tab to provinces and territories to see cases over time or hit the play button to animate the map.
The above link is the official, comprehensive listing of the Government of Canada’s initiatives to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak. The link is updated as new information or initiatives become available.
If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
Are you Eligible for the CERB?
To be eligible, you must:
- Be residing in Canada
- Be at least 15 years old
- Stopped working as a result of reasons related to COVID-19 (if you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit) orare eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits
- Have had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of application. That income may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec.
- Be, or expect to be, without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period.
How to Apply for the CERB
You can apply for the CERB here.
Applications for the CERB will be accepted starting April 6th , 2020 and you will require a CRA “My Account”. The link above includes resources for setting up your account, including retrieving your password, setting up an account through your My Service Canada account or setting one up from scratch. To help manage the demand, applications are being accepted based on your month of birth:
Contacting Service Canada
Service Canada is temporarily closing in-person Service Canada Centres to allow them to better prioritize capacity and to ensure critical service delivery to vulnerable clients. You can apply for critical services online and Citizen Service Officers will be providing personalized service support for EI and pensions applications through an e-service available online and on mobile phone. To support access to critical programs and services for clients without access to technology, Service Canada Community Outreach and Liaison Service staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery methods that will continue to support accessing critical programs, services and benefits. Service Canada is also warning that call volumes are expected to be high for the foreseeable future. Please visit Canada.ca for information. If you have difficultly getting through, please try again later
This program, offered by the Gouvernement du Québec in partnership with the Red Cross, offers financial assistance to meet the needs of workers who, because they are in isolation to counter the propagation of the COVID-19 virus, cannot earn all of their work income and are not eligible for another financial assistance program, including EI. The lump-sum amount granted to an eligible person is $573 per week, for a period of 14 days of isolation. If justified by your state of health, the coverage period for an eligible person could be extended to a maximum of 28 days. Workers can start by filling out the application form here.
British Columbia Emergency Benefit for Workers
The B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to people who lost income because of COVID-19. Applications for the one-time payment will open soon.
Deferred Due Date for Taxes
Canada Revenue Agency is deferring the filing due date for individuals until June 1st. Furthermore, the CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing right now and before September 2020.
This is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the CRA. Incorporated independent contractors who pay themselves a salary may qualify for this. The subsidy is equal to 75% of the remuneration you pay, retroactive to March 15, 2020, up to $847 per employee per week. To qualify, employers will have to show that their revenues have fallen by at least 30 per cent due to COVID-19. The Prime Minister did warn that companies that can pay their employees without federal help should do so or else serious consequences will follow.
Once you have calculated your subsidy, you can reduce your current remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that you send to the CRA by the amount of the subsidy. You cannot reduce your remittance of CPP contributions or EI premiums. This does not apply to remittances made to Revenu Québec.
Mortgage and Credit Relief at Banks
Banks in Canada have affirmed their commitment to working with customers to provide flexible solutions, on a case-by-case basis. This includes up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages and opportunity for relief on other credit products. Contact your local bank branch if you require any assistance.
In the Province of Ontario, the government is providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools. The Federal Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. The overall increase for families receiving CCB will be approximately $550 on average; these families will receive an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment.
Ontario License Renewal Extensions
The province of Ontario is providing extensions for driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others. In addition, expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services.
This extension will be in place until such time that, based on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, the current situation improves.
Relief from the Ontario Energy Board
The OEB extended the winter ban on electricity disconnections for non-payment for all residential customers to July 31, 2020. Low-volume, small business customers will now also be protected by the ban. In addition, the OEB is calling on distributors to be more flexible on arrears payment arrangements. The Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines is looking at programs and policies to support electricity customers during the COVID-19 pandemic and information should be coming shortly.
Canada – Additional Information
- Government of Canada Coronavirus Information Page
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
- COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool
- Ontario’s COVID-19 Updates
- The Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Québec
- COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information in BC
Depending on where you live and work in the U.S., there are numerous government-supported programs that may assist you with the financial impact of COVID-19. The following list provides links to various programs in the following categories:
- How to pay your bills and other financial obligations
- Options to pay your mortgage
- Options to pay your student loans
- Options to pay your credit cards
- Options to pay your auto loans
- How to work with your bank or credit union
- How to work with debt collectors
- How to stay on top of your credit reports
- What to do if you experience a loss of income
- What to do if you think you may be targeted by a scammer
- How to get more help with your money issues
Date: March 16, 2020
RE: Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
To Our Valued Clients, Candidates and Colleagues,
At Recruiting in Motion, the safety and well-being of everyone we work with is our top priority. Rest assured, we are actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and are taking proactive measures to assist in keeping everyone safe. We are committed to implementing best practices to help prevent the spread of disease. To help with prevention, we are taking the following precautionary measures:
- We have implemented a work-from-home policy for various RIM positions throughout our offices in Canada and the United States. Our employees will continue to work during normal business hours to support all business functions. A full listing of our offices, office hours, and additional contact information can be found here: https://recruitinginmotion.com/locations/.
- In place of our typical in-person interviews, RIM Recruiters shall be conducting interviews via video-chat to avoid in-person contact.
- Our unique Visual Advantage System shall continue to provide our employer-partners with the ability to review a short-list of RIM candidates remotely via our exclusive client video-portal. This complimentary feature allows employers to assess the fit and qualifications of our candidates by viewing a short video of our candidates prior to meeting them.
- After reviewing our presented candidates via the video clip, we are recommending that employers take advantage of video interviewing technology to replace their own in-person interviews. Our recruitment teams are trained to assist with facilitating video interviews between our clients and candidates.
- We shall work closely with our clients where we have temporary and contract workers on-site to ensure that proper health protocols are followed so as to minimize potential health risks to all parties.
- All RIM offices shall be staying informed on public health updates and following all guidance from public health authorities.
Public health authorities recommend that we all take the following everyday precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of germs and viruses:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice physical-distancing by staying a minimum of 2 meters (6 feet) from the nearest person
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing and sneezing
- Avoid all non-essential travel
We shall continue to do our best to keep our communities safe. Please do not hesitate to contact your RIM Representative if you have any questions or concerns as we navigate through this together.
Sean Kogan / Paul Vendittelli
Co-Founders of Recruiting in Motion