COVID-19 Support for Workers & Businesses

Shawnee Love   •   March 18, 2020

Today our federal government introduce some amazing support for Canadians dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. As an employer, here’s some information you might find helpful.

  1. If you have work for your employees, keep them working where you can. (e.g., from home, with extra precautions on cleaning and sanitation or staggered shifts, or by being creative with your offerings such as drive thru, take out, pick up/ drop off, etc.). You may be eligible for a temporary wage subsidy equal to 10% of compensation paid during the period up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer over 3 months.
  2. If you have to lay them off, the temporary layoff program may work in your situation and there is only a one-week waiting period for employees affected who apply for Employment Insurance (EI). You may even be able to call them back for small stints, and as long as they declare their income, they won’t lose their EI benefits entirely.
  3. The government Work Share Program may help you share what work you have available among your team. The government offers EI benefits to people who participate as well providing the appropriate documentation is completed and the criteria is met.
  4. Sickness Employment Insurance is available for employees who need to quarantine or care for someone in quarantine with the week waiting period eliminated. I.e., they start immediately and in fact can apply online as soon as they know without even waiting for you to issue an ROE.
  5. Emergency Care Benefits will be offered beginning in April to workers including those workers ineligible for EI (i.e., contractors, gig workers, etc.) who have to quarantine, care for someone in quarantine or care for a child due to the closures of schools and daycare.

I have every faith we are going to get through this pandemic together and come out stronger on the other side.  People who were previously acquaintances or simply co-workers are coming together to help one another, offering to cover for each other or get groceries when required.

When our herculean efforts towards containing this virus prove successful, we are going to have to remobilize our workers and re-integrate back into our places of work, something to look forward to for sure.  In the meantime, keep working on your communication, transition and contingency plans.  Remember us if you need advice, assistance or a sounding board.

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