Federal Government Introduces New Measures to Aid Employers Dealing with Economic Downturn Caused by COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 18, 2020, the Federal Government announced the following measures to help employers deal with the economic disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • employers will be permitted to defer payment of any income tax amounts owing on or after March 18, 2020, and before September 2020. This relief applies to tax balances that become owing, as well as installments. There will be no interest or other penalties on the outstanding amounts while payments are deferred.
  • small employers that are eligible for the small business tax deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities may be eligible for temporary wage subsidy for three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of wages paid during the three-month period, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.

Beyond the direct support available through the wage subsidy program, the Business Credit Availability Program will allow small and medium-sized businesses access to additional credit through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

These additional measures come days after the Federal Government made changes to the Canada Employment Insurance benefits program effective March 15, 2020 to:

  • waive the one-week waiting period for individuals claiming Employment Insurance who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home for child care obligations; and
  • temporarily extend the Work-Sharing program that provides Employment Insurance benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share available work as it becomes available by an additional 38 weeks for a total of 76 weeks.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating novel challenges for employers. Our labour and employment team is closely monitoring this evolving situation and can assist employers to manage COVID-19 in their workplace.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.