COVID-19 PANDEMIC RESOURCES

March 27. 2020

UPDATE: Federal Government Boosts Wage Subsidy to 75% for Small, Medium Businesses to Avoid Layoffs During COVID-19 Crisis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced more help for small and medium-sized businesses to keep employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis, including a 75 per cent wage subsidy and guaranteed interest-free loans.

During a news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau called small and medium-sized businesses the "backbone" of the economy and said the new measures will help them avoid ordering layoffs or closing down because of the climate of uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

"We're thinking about that family-owned restaurant that's been around for years, [has] had many of the same employees for years. Employees who've been there through slowdowns, good times and bad times, and now in this moment of crisis they're having to lay these people off at their time of need," he said.

"We know that allowing people to continue that relationship, allow[ing] people to continue to feel and to know they have a job ... is a really important thing, not just for people's confidence, but for the ability of all us to bounce back strongly from this once we're through it."

The prime minister said the wage subsidies will be backdated to March 15, 2020.

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March 26, 2020

UPDATE: Federal Government Economic Response Plan

On March 25, 2020, the Federal Government announced an update to their previous Economic Response Plan. Full details of the plan can be found here.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 
To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. Once approved, this legislation will provide eligible Canadians with their first CERB payments within 10 days of their application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

Who is eligible?
The CERB would cover Canadians (including wage earners, contract workers, and self-employed individuals) who:

  • Have lost their job due to COVID-19. For example, someone who has been laid off from their workplace due to a shutdown or shortage of work.  
  • Are sick. For example, someone who has been asked not to work by their employer because they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
  • Quarantined. For example, someone who is in a 14-day quarantine because they have travelled outside of Canada.
  • Taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19. For example, someone who is taking care of an elderly parent who has tested positive.  
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick. For example, someone who is taking care of a child who is experiencing flu-like symptoms or other illness.
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children at home because of school and daycare closures. For example, someone who is unable to find a suitable option to provide care for their child(ren).
  • Workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19. For example, this may apply to someone who has opted not to work due to their proximity with a vulnerable family member.  


NOTE: This also applies to individuals who would otherwise be eligible for EI benefits and who have NOT currently applied. 

What if I have already applied for EI?

  • Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should NOT apply to the CERB.
  • If an individual’s EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they can apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease and they are still unable to return to work due to COVID-19.
  • Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would NOT need to reapply and should NOT apply for the CERB.
  • To determine your ability to change the status of your current claim, you will need to inquire with Service Canada. 
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March 24, 2020

List of Essential Workplaces

The Government of Ontario has provided a list of Essential Workplaces that are allowed to remain open during the COVID-19 Pandemic.Businesses include any for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services listed here. This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.

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March 23, 2020

  • Important Announcement from the Saskatchewan College of Podiatrists - Due to COVID-19, as of March 23, 2020 all podiatry clinics are ordered to close except for non-elective procedures.
  • The Ontario College of Chiropodists has advised wording of signage for use in members offices who remain open to provide Essential/Emergency care during the COVID-19 Pandemic

SUGGESTED SIGNAGE FOR MEMBERS

The Chief Medical Office of Health of Ontario has directed ALL Regulated Health Professionals, ALL non-essential and elective services should be ceased or reduced to minimal levels, subject to allowable exceptions, until further notice.

We want to assure patients who attend our office during this period that we are maintaining appropriate infection prevention and control procedures according to Public Health Ontario protocols. We are also strongly advising our staff to follow the directions of the Government of Ontario regarding how to minimize the spread of the virus. It must be understood, however, that these are unprecedented times and despite screening all of our patients before they attend the office, it is impossible to give any assurances that the persons who do attend have not been exposed to the virus which could potentially put others at risk.

  • Nova Scotia Podiatry Association Corona VIrus Information
Health professions/primary care providers are closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID 19). As Primary care providers, Podiatrists will continue to provide services during the current virus outbreak.

In addition to the advice/guidelines provided by both the Federal and Provincial health authorities (see links below), primary care providers, such as Podiatrists are instituting further measures in response to this new virus.  These include:

Podiatrists and clinical offices, are asked to carry out passive and active screening.

Signs will be posted in reception areas asking patients with symptoms to identify themselves.

      • Clinics will operate with minimal incidental contact.  
      • You may be questioned over the phone before scheduling appointments. 
      • Questions might include: Your age, current health status, recent travel (last 14 days) or exposure to recent travelers.

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March 21, 2020 - Some of our members are asking us about liability insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disclaimer: It is always best to check with your insurance provider.

Mark Holman of Holman Insurance gave us this feedback:

Professional liability coverage should be maintained during this difficult period due to the nature of the “claim made” policy wording. Should one cancel their insurance they would not have any protection for their prior acts or disciplinary actions. We don’t forsee any Errors & Omissions claims arising from anything relating to COVID-19 as the Errors & Omissions policy provides protect for the professional services each member provides to the public.  Most claims will be for Business Interruption coverage i.e. individuals/companies looking to recoupe any loss of revenue as a result of having to temporarily close their doors as well as having to lay staff off.  Business Interruption coverage is part of a Commercial Business policy. Even having a Commercial Business policy in place and such policy including Business Interruption coverage, most Insurers will not be offering coverage for anything relating to COVID-19.  In order for Business Interruption to be triggered there must be bodily injury or property damage to the building and/or its contents. Business interruption can't be triggered on its own – a slowdown in business, closure, quarantine, etc. are neither considered bodily injury or property damage. An extension in policy wording called "interruption by civil authority" does exist but refers to bodily injury or property damage to a neighbouring or adjacent property where a business is closed by order of civil authority for clean-up, investigation.

Unfortunately, the situation the world finds itself in right now as a result of the COVID-19 virus is NOT something that would be covered as the virus is not an insured peril and there has been no bodily injury or physical damage.  For further information, we invite you to visit the Insurance Brokers of Canada website: 

http://www.ibc.ca/on/business/COVID-19

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March 20, 2020 - Our members have many questions about how COVID-19 will impact their practices including staff and business continuation.

The Canadian Payroll Association has developed a comprehensive Q & A document related to payroll, layoffs, Records of Employment and EI Benefits. CLICK HERE to download the document.

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March 19, 2020 - The Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine has been monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and will be providing regular updates to its members over the next few days and weeks. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at office@cfpmcanada.ca

We have done the research so you don't have to. Here are some helpful links which we will update on a regular basis:

College of Chiropodists of Ontario: A Message To All Chiropodist And Podiatrists In Ontario - Covid-19 Pandemic

College of Chiropodists of Ontario Facebook Page

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses

Canadian Chamber of Commerce: COVID 19 updates and resources for businesses

Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) info

Canadian Federation of Independent Business COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre

FEDERAL ECONOMIC SUPPORT PLAN (announced March 18)

The federal government has announced the first phase of its economic support plan in response to COVID-19. $82 billion is being released to support Canadian individuals and businesses, including $27B in direct support and $55B to meet liquidity needs through tax deferrals.Below is an overview of the specific measures announced and a table summarizing the cost and implementation dates.

The backgrounder with additional details can be found here

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS

To support Canadians businesses and help them retain their workers during this difficult time, the Government is announcing measures to:

  • Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
  • Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.
  • Further expand Export Development Canada's ability to provide support to domestic businesses. 
  • Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
  • Augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.
  • Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. The Government will enable these measures by raising CMHC's legislative limits to guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each.

The six largest financial institutions in Canada have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges, such as pay disruption due to COVID-19, childcare disruption due to school or daycare closures, or those suffering from COVID-19. As a first step, this support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor evolving economic conditions and seek greater relief measures should it be necessary.

SUPPORT FOR WORKERS

To support workers and their families, the Government of Canada is taking action to:

  • Provide additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments. This measure would deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.
  • Introduce an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This measure could provide up to $10 billion to Canadians, and includes:
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other dependents who are sick, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures. 
  • Introduce an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. 
  • Provide 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. This measure would inject $5.5 billion in the economy.
  • Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11. 
  • Waive the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits. 
  • Extend the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in households having more money available during this period. 
  • Provide eligible small businesses a 10 percent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organizations and charities. This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep jobs. 
  • Provide increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately. 
In addition, to provide targeted support for vulnerable groups, the Government is investing to: 
  • Reduce minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020 in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors' retirement savings. 
  • Implement a six-month, interest-free, moratorium on Canada Student Loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans. 
  • Provide $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund, to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis Nation communities. 
  • Support women and children fleeing violence by providing up to $50 million to women's shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.
  • Provide an additional $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness through the Reaching Home program.

FEDERAL MONETARY AND FISCAL MEASURES (announced March 13)

A series of monetary and fiscal measures were announced by the Department of Finance, the Bank of Canada and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution to help stabilize Canada’s economy:

  • The Department of Finance is establishing a $10B credit facility program to support and medium-sized businesses. This will be offered through the Business Development Bank of Canada BDC and Export Development Bank of Canada EDC . 
  • The Bank of Canada has reduced the key overnight lending rate to 0.75%: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/03/bank-of-canada-lowers-overnight-rate-target-to-%c2%be-percent/
  • The Bank of Canada is introducing a Bankers’ Acceptance Purchase Facility. The Bankers’ Acceptance market is one of Canada’s core funding markets and a key source of financing for small- and medium-size corporate borrowers: https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/03/bankers-acceptance-purchase-facility/
  • OSFI is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25 points effective immediately. The new DSB requirement will now be set at 1%. This will increase banks’ lending capacity by $300B to increase credit to the economy. OSFI is encouraging banks to use these funds. The DSB will not increase for at least 18 months and OSFI will continue to review the buffer in case a further reduction is needed.
  • All OSFI consultations are being suspended, including the consultation on changes to the mortgage stress test. 
  • All major banks have made a commitment to the Minister of Finance to support businesses and individuals through these times in a responsible, fair and compassionate way.
  • A further significant stimulus package will be released shortly aimed at individual Canadians to ensure that they have access to money they need for their families. 

Copyright 2019
Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine

CFPM
3390 South Service Road, Suite 305

Burlington, ON L7N 3J5
Ph: (905) 331-5227
Email: office@cfpmcanada.ca


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