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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: August 20th, 2020

Today, the Federal government announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new income support benefits.

While you work hard to rebuild and recover, know that we are here to support you:

Today’s vital updates:

  • Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new income support benefits. They also announced that in preparation for this transition, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended by an additional four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks. This means that for the many Canadians expecting to exhaust their CERB benefits at the end of August, they will now be able to access an additional month of support.
    • Those receiving EI will be eligible for a taxable benefit rate of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits, and regular benefits will be accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks.
    • The government will also freeze the EI insurance premium rates for two years, so Canadian workers and businesses will not face immediate increases to costs and payroll deductions due to the additional expenses resulting from the pandemic.
    • Additionally, they are proposing to implement three new benefits:
      • The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and who are available and looking for work.
      • The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19.
      • The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for:
        • a child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19
        • a family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19
        • a child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
      • The Government intends to introduce new legislation to support the implementation of the new benefits. Background
  • Today, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) published three decisions. Commissioner’s Decisions are an important aspect of FCAC’s oversight of financial institutions to promote compliance with their consumer protection obligations.
    • FCAC’s Supervision Framework explains the activities and tools that FCAC employs to conduct its supervision and enforcement work.
    • FCAC’s Adjudicative Guidelines describe the process for examining violations of legislative obligations, and with non-compliance of codes of conduct and public commitments. They also inform federally-regulated financial institutions on the process for making representations when the Agency issues a Notice of Violation against them and describe how impartiality is maintained during an investigation.
    • FCAC’s new powers under the Financial Consumer Protection Framework came into force on April 30, 2020 through legislative amendments to the Bank Act and the FCAC Act. For all three Decisions, FCAC applied the provisions on naming and penalties that were in effect prior to the legislative amendments because the violations occurred before April 30, 2020. Details
  • The Ontario government announced the hiring of an additional 200 Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers. These new recruits will provide OPP frontline officers with the additional resources they need to better protect communities, while safeguarding their mental health and well-being. Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique at OPP General Headquarters in Orillia. Link
  • Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced that the Ontario government is expanding eligibility for agriculture societies to apply for funding to help offset the financial losses due to the cancellation of fall fairs, exhibitions and activities during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. For this year only, nearly $1 million will be made available to all qualifying agricultural and horticultural societies to help ensure operations. In previous years, organizations could only qualify for provincial funding if they operated fall fairs.
  • The Ontario government released Sustainable Growth: Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy, the province’s plan to create jobs and encourage economic growth in the forest industry. The strategy will support the Indigenous, northern and rural communities that depend on the sector, while ensuring the province’s forests stay healthy for generations to come. The announcement was made today by John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • The Ontario government is providing $500,000 to retrain veterans for jobs in the IT and technology sector. This funding is part of a $1.8 million investment in IT and technology training projects announced today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 258 in Scarborough.
  • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is extending orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020(ROA). The extensions provide the government with the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure important measures remain in place to protect vulnerable populations, such as seniors, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental health and addiction issues. All orders under the ROA have been extended to September 22, 2020, with the following exceptions:

Reading recommendations:

If you are showing symptoms, contact your health care provider, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, or chat to Public Health online. For testing, call 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) for information on test centres in Niagara and to book an appointment.

Remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn’t mean you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.

It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Maintain a 2-metre distance from other people. When maintaining distance is impossible, use a face mask. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.