Human Capital and COVID-19 - Information for Clinic Owners, Leaders, and Managers
Updated March 23rd, 2020
Information for staff members an be found here.
Dear Clinic Owners, Leaders, and Managers:
We understand that this is a challenging time for you; the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. Restrictions on physical interaction to limit the spread of COVID-19 have led to a suspension of fertility services with no prediction for when services will resume. Many are transitioning from an office environment to working from home. Safeguarding financial security and considering safe options for resumption of services weigh heavily on our minds.
We have compiled the following resources to help you navigate your way through this very difficult time.
Federal Government Resources:
Direct Labour subsidies:
The federal government will provide eligible small businesses with a 10% 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 organisations and charities. You will be able to reduce your remittances of income tax withheld on your employees’ remuneration, and you will be able to keep a portion of your employees’ income tax instead of giving it all to CRA[i].
Please note that application information has not yet been made available but we will post when it does become available.
Individuals have until June 1, 2020, to submit their income tax return.
For trusts (having a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019), tax filing is deferred until May 1, 2020. Payment Deferral.
Individuals and businesses will be able to defer their income tax payment (for taxes owe between March 18, 2020 and September 2020) until after August 31, 2020[ii].
Emergency Care Benefit Plan:
The government is introducing an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to 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.
Taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19 but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.
Parents with children who require supervision due to school closures and are unable to earn employment income, regardless of whether they qualify for EI or not.
Application for the Benefit starts in April.
You can apply in one of three ways:
Access it on CRA MyAccount secure portal
Access it from secure My Service Canada Account
Call a toll-free number equipped with an automated application process. Please note that the phone number has not been announced yet.
Recipients will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. More details will be announced by the government on how to attest.
Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan:
Per the Government of Canada website, on March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures aim to provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.
The potential options for workers include temporary income support for workers and parents, longer-term income support for workers, income support for those who need it most, flexibility for taxpayers, encouraging flexibility of financial institutions, and mortgage default management tools.
The potential options for businesses include temporary wage subsidies to help businesses keep their workers, flexibility for businesses filing taxes, and ensuring businesses have access to credit.
COVID-19 Benefits and Services: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
Emergency Care and Emergency Support: not available until April 2020
Canada Child Benefit: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit-overview.html
Canada Student Loans: Effective March 30, 2020, all student loan borrowers will automatically have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. No need to apply.
I. Employment Insurance - Record of Employment:
If employees are directly affected by COVID-19 and are no longer working, a Record of Employment (ROE) must be issued
When the employee is sick or quarantined, code D (Illness or injury) must be used as the reason for separation (block 16). Do not add comments.
When the employee is no longer working due to a shortage of work because the business has closed or decreased operations due to COVID-19, use code A (Shortage of work). Do not add comments.
When the employee refuses to come to work but is not sick or quarantined, use code E (Quit) or code N (Leave of absence), as appropriate. Avoid adding comments unless absolutely necessary.
Regarding the EI sickness benefits:
The one-week waiting period is waived for 6 months for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate. Application may still take several weeks.
There is no need for a medical certificate to apply.
Note: This may take up to a month for your employee to receive their first EI payment due to the backlog. Ensure that your do not use the ROE code K for other as it will pull it out of automatic processing.
II. Work-Sharing Program
The Work-Sharing program is a temporary special measure to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19. The measures allows for eligible employers to retain skilled employees and workers to remain employed during the temporary downturn in business due to COVID-19.
Question and Answers:
What are the obligations of my employees?
Employees must take the necessary steps to protect their own health and well-being and that of their co-workers. Employees must comply with any preventive measures put in place by the employer (use of personal protective equipment, hygiene requirements, etc.), and they must report hazards to their employers. The possibility they may have been infected with COVID-19 is a hazard that must be reported to the employer.
What will happen to my Temporary Foreign Workers, workers on visas and international students?
Temporary foreign workers (including workers part of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)), international students and workers on visas will be allowed entry into Canada, despite restricted border measures, provided that they self-isolate for 14 days, according to a statement made by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
Employees working from home: How do I make this work?
For many leaders, the COVID-19 pandemic may be the first time they’ve had to consider having employees working from home. It may not be relevant for all leaders, but for those who have employees who can work from home, it is fairly easy to promote productivity even while the team is geographically separated.
Stay connected – Communication will be more important than ever. As well as e-mail, consider a cloud-based platform such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or Facebook Workplace to allow for instant messaging. You can create group chats so members of internal teams can have virtual meetings and conference calls without needing the telephone.
Be clear in your expectations – Is it more important that employees work a certain number of hours or that they complete a certain task? How often should employees check in? Be mindful that employees may have unavoidable distractions such as child-care due to school closures.
Make sure employees have what they need – Not everyone will be set up for working from home so ensure they have what they need to do their job. Don’t assume that employees have landlines, printers, fast internet connection, etc.
Be patient – This is a time of huge turmoil for everyone, and some employees will adapt better than others. Acknowledge the stress your employees are feeling and work with them to find solutions.
Leaders working from home: How do I maintain focus and productivity?
Determine realistic goals – for example, while you can't be in the lab, perhaps you can catch up on the data you are behind in processing or plotting.
Set boundaries and take breaks – alarms can serve to remind you to eat your lunch away from your computer or get outside for a walk.
If your kids are at home, explain that you have to focus on work but craft a schedule that balances your work and their entertainment.
(Adapted from TorStar)
Provincial Government Resources:
Employee Benefits: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/all-employees/pay-benefits/benefits
Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020:
The Ontario Legislature has passed the Bill 186 to provide unpaid job-protected emergency leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives.
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB):
Please note, while we are unable to determine whether our members are eligible for these support options, we encourage those who require assistance to explore these options.