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A Further Update on COVID-19

April 7, 2020
by Israel Foulon Wong LLP


There have been further recent and important announcements of which employers should be aware (a few key details are listed below):

  • The Canadian government has announced that eligibility for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will soon extend to Canadians working limited hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the full details and release date are not yet known, Prime Minister Trudeau said on Monday, April 6, 2020 that individuals working 10 hours or less would soon be able to apply for the benefit. Previously an individual had to have no income in order to qualify for the benefit.
  • The Canadian government has announced there will be also be new measures coming for post- secondary students who have lost the opportunity of summer employment, as well as for workers making less than they would receiving the CERB, particularly home-care workers or those looking after vulnerable seniors.
  • The Canadian government has made further changes to the Work-Sharing (WS) Program. The program provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. A few of the changes in effect are as follows:
    • The maximum possible duration of an agreement has been extended from 38 weeks to 76 weeks (previously announced).
    • The mandatory cooling off period has been waived for employers who have already used the Work-Sharing program so that eligible employers may immediately enter into a new agreement (previously announced).
    • The Recovery Plan, which used to be required, has been removed and replaced with a single line in the text of the application.
    • Program eligibility has been broadened to include companies that have only been operating for a year, instead of the usual two years.
    • Program eligibility has been expanded to include staff who are essential to recovery, Government Business Enterprises (GBEs), and non-for-profit organization employers.
    • Employers are being asked to submit their applications 10 calendar days before the requested program start date, and Service Canada “will aim to reduce the processing time to 10 calendar days.” Previously, the website indicated that applications should be submitted 30 days calendar days before the requested start date.
  • Further details regarding the WS program and all other federal COVID-19 programs can be found by visiting the following website: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social- development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

Given the exceptional and unprecedented situation, we expect further developments in the coming hours and days.

Israel Foulon’s Response to COVID-19

Israel Foulon is assessing the situation as it evolves, and is taking all necessary precautions within its workplace. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and for the health of our team and clients, absent extraordinary circumstances we are working remotely until further notice whenever possible. However, please be aware that our offices remain open and are fully functioning. In the circumstances, we encourage our clients to contact us by phone and email to the extent possible. Voicemail messages left at our office phone numbers are immediately forwarded via email. All messages will be promptly responded to. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our clients and would be more than happy to assist you with concerns regarding COVID- 19 or any other employment or labour matters.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice, which in all circumstances must be tailored to the specific facts of any problem. You should obtain a proper legal consultation in order to determine how this article applies to your specific situation. Please feel free to contact Israel Foulon LLP to learn more at 416-640-1550.