Updated: March 25th
*Legislation was passed March 25th updating and changing some of the information below, including the implementation of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This space will continue to be updated as new details are available.
As the situation around the COVID-19 disease continues to evolve, my office will continue to provide constituents with the most up to date information as it becomes available on the Federal Government’s response, and local resources that are available in Halton. The information here serves as a quick information snapshot of the most important policy announcements. For a full scope of the Government of Canada’s response to COVID-19, please visit canada.ca/coronavirus.
Local Information for Halton
All items related to the Federal government’s response to COVID-19 can be found at canada.ca/coronavirus
The Ontario Government has also set up a landing page for all of their COVID-19 actions being taken at ontario.ca/coronavirus. You will also find the Ontario Government’s self-assessment tool to check for COVID-19 symptoms on this site. The Ontario Government has also closed all-non essential businesses on March 23rd. A list of all businesses that have been deemed essential can be found here. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Questions from businesses in Oakville North-Burlington about Ontario Government policies should be directed to our Member of Provincial Parliament, Effie Triantafilopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our local Public Health Authority, Halton Region Public Health is providing the most up to date local information on how all parts of Halton are dealing with COVID-19 within our communities. Please visit halton.ca/COVID19 to find all this up to date information. You can also call 311 if you are presenting symptoms and think you need to be tested. Residents with SEVERE symptoms are asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has created a resource for local businesses looking for additional information related to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Please visit https://oakvillechamber.com/covid-19-business-resources-and-updates/ for up to date information on the local business response to COVID-19.
The Burlington Chamber of Commerce has created a resource for local businesses looking for additional information related to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Please visit https://burlingtonchamber.com/team-burlington-supporting-business-during-covid-19/ for up to date information on the local business response to COVID-19
I will continue to send out regular updates as the Federal Government’s response evolves with the situation. If you’d like email updates, please sign up to my mailing list to receive these regularly.
Previous updates sent via email update:
Since March 13th, Public Health Agency of Canada advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada. Full travel advisory details can be found at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
The Prime Minister and Public Health Agency of Canada have advised anyone who is able to stay home/work from home to do so, and minimize local travel at this time
On March 16th, the Minister of Transport announced new restrictions on air travel to Canada. These restrictions were modified on March 20th. Details have been updated to reflect the most current information:
- Effective March 18 at noon, Canada will deny boarding to all foreign nationals on flights to Canada coming from all countries other than the US.
- Canada will also deny boarding to any foreign national coming from the US, who has resided outside of Canada or the US in the last 14 days.
- International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020
- permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 16, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada
- These measures do not apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family (parents, spouses & children), air crews, diplomats or travelers in transit to another country.
- Any passenger exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of nationality, will not be allowed to board flights to Canada.
- Also, every traveler will need to remain in self-isolation for 14 days if they come to Canada, whether it is by plane or through the land border, and regardless of their nationality.
The Government announced the deferral of the start of the cruise ship season to mitigate the unique risks posed by large passenger ships arriving at Canadian ports. As a result, all cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew are prohibited from Canadian ports.
Support for Business
On March 13th, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced a $10 billion dollar support plan as the first step to supporting businesses in Canada. The announcement can be found here https://www.bdc.ca/en/about/mediaroom/news_releases/pages/canada-outlines-measures-support-economy-financial-sector.aspx.
The Trade Commissioner Service of Canada is a global hub for Canadian businesses to find out what options they have for their employees, business preparedness, business travel, and international business. They are constantly updating the information available at https://www.tradecommissioner.gc.ca/campaign-campagne/ressources-entreprises-COVID-19-business-resources.aspx?lang=eng
Business Development Canada is providing regular updates and is the primary point of support for the business community. They are regularly updating their offerings at bdc.ca/coronavirus
Export-based businesses are able to work with Export Development Canada for additional supports and information
Potential suppliers or individuals with helpful information on supporting the COVID-19 response are encouraged to visit https://buyandsell.gc.ca/calling-all-suppliers-help-canada-combat-covid-19 for more information. PSPC is implementing flexible and innovative procurement approaches to best meet Canada’s needs and is reviewing the significant number of responses to identify potential suppliers for the goods and services required as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
Additional measures have been announced through the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. They include the following:
HELPING BUSINESSES KEEP THEIR WORKERS
- To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities. Details about the wage subsidy can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html
FLEXIBILITY FOR BUSINESSES FILING TAXES
- The Canada Revenue Agency will 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.
- The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks.
- For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives.
ENSURING BUSINESSES HAVE ACCESS TO CREDIT
- The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.
- The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.
- The Bank of Canada also took a series of actions to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress, enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system, and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses. This included cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices.
Support for Employees
If you or someone you know has had their work effected by COVID-19, Service Canada has an information page for all EI benefits that are currently available for Canadian Workers
Additional measures have been announced through the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. They include the following:
TEMPORARY INCOME SUPPORT FOR WORKERS AND PARENTS
For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:
- Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure will be in effect as of March 15, 2020.
- Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
- Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks (April 2020 start time). This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
- Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for 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, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.
- Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
LONGER-TERM INCOME SUPPORT FOR WORKERS
For Canadians who lose their jobs or face reduced hours as a result of COVID’s impact, the Government is:
- Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the CRA to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
- Implementing the EI Work Sharing Program, which provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers.
INCOME SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO NEED IT MOST
- For over 12 million low- and modest-income families, who may require additional help with their finances, the Government is proposing to provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax credit (GSTC). This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year.
- For over 3.5 million families with children, who may also require additional support, the 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.
Together, the proposed enhancements of the GSTC and CCB will give a single parent with two children and low to modest income nearly $1,500 in additional short-term support.
SUPPORTING VULNERABLE GROUPS
To ensure that certain groups who may be vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 have the support they need, the Government is proposing targeted help by:
- Providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
- Placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.
- Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.
- Providing the Reaching Home initiative with $157.5 million to continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Supporting 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.
FLEXIBILITY FOR TAXPAYERS
- For individuals, the return filing due date will be deferred until June 1, 2020. However, the Agency encourages individuals who expect to receive benefits under the GSTC or the Canada Child Benefit not to delay the filing of their return to ensure their entitlements for the 2020-21 benefit year are properly determined.
- The Canada Revenue Agency will 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.
- In order to reduce the necessity for taxpayers and tax preparers to meet in person during this difficult time, and to reduce administrative burden, effective immediately the Canada Revenue Agency will recognize electronic signatures as having met the signature requirements of the Income Tax Act, as a temporary administrative measure.
- The Canada Revenue Agency is adapting its Outreach Program to support individuals during COVID-19. Through this service, the Canada Revenue Agency offers help to individuals to better understand their tax obligations and to obtain the benefits and credits to which they are entitled. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone, and through webinar, where possible.
Symptoms of COVID-19
- Fever or new cough or difficulty breathing
- Muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose, or diarrhea
- Pneumonia in both lungs
- Symptoms in young children may be non-specfic (e.g. lethargy, poor feeding)
Severe symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath when walking, exercising, or at rest, which is unusual for the patient
- Chest pain, extreme fatigue, drowsiness, unstable vital signs
Anyone with severe symptoms should seek medical attention by calling 911. Please inform 911 of your symptoms and recent travel history to ensure the right infection prevention and control precautions are taken. (Source: Halton Region Public Health, Public Health Agency of Canada)
Prevention Measures for COVID-19
The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19 is to:
- stay home when ill;
- cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;
- wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with alcohol-based hand rub;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and
- clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Practice Social Distancing & other Community-based Measures