COVID 19: Ontario Extends Emergency Orders as the Federal Government Expands COVID-19 Benefits

COVID-19: Government Extends Emergency Orders until September 22, 2020

Under the new Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Approach to COVID-19 Act, 2020, the Province announced today that it would be extending the emergency orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, another 30 days – until September 22, 2020.  At the same time, the federal government announced expansion of COVID-19 related benefit programs.

Emergency Orders Extended

The government announced that it would not be extending the following two orders:

  • The Education Sector order will end on August 31, 2020 – this order allowed school board’s to redeploy staff to congregate care settings.
  • The Limitation Periods order will end and suspended time periods will resume running on September 14, 2020.

All other orders have been extended. You can see the list of orders that have been extended here.

Some important implications of this extension are:

  • The single employer rule under 177/20 for service agencies in the developmental services (DS) sector and intervenor services sector remains in effect;
  • All guidance, advice and recommendations from the Ministry of Health or Chief Medical Officer of Health continue to be binding on agencies in the DS sector and intervenor services agencies;
  • The work deployment and staffing powers of DS sector and intervenor services agencies provided under regulation 121/20 remain in effect;
  • The exceptions applicable to temporary COVID-19 related payments to employees and temporary pandemic pay program restrictions remain in effect. To be clear, the Ontario Pandemic Pay Program has not been extended, but the restrictions on expansion of that program have been.

Finally, the Province also announced a newly formed “Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.”

CERB Extension, Employment Insurance Boost, and New Benefits Announced

Today, the Federal Government announced a range of new and amended benefits for workers who have suffered economically as a result of COVID-19. To briefly summarize, these changes include:

  • A four-week extension of the maximum CERB benefits a worker can claim (taking the total to 28 weeks).
  • EI premium rates will be frozen for a two year period to protect businesses and workers from additional expense.
  • Expansion of employment insurance (“EI”) eligibility to encompass 400,000 new Canadians.
  • Providing a guarantee that those on regular EI will receive a minimum taxable benefit of $400.00 per week (or $240.00 per week for extended parental benefits).
  • EI regular benefits will now provide a minimum of 26 weeks of benefits.
  • Announcement of several New Benefit Programs (which will be implemented with supporting legislation eventually):
    • A new Canada Recovery Benefit (“CRB”) of $400.00 per week for up to 26 weeks for self-employed workers or those who are not eligible for EI but still require support and are available and looking for work.
    • A new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (“CRSB”) of $500.00 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for COVID-19 related reasons.
    • Announcement of a new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) that provides $500.00 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for eligible Canadians who are unable to work because they are caring for eligible dependents.

This extension of emergency orders and expansion of benefits will certainly have an impact on DS sector agencies working on reopening plans. If you require legal assistance, we encourage you to reach out to your regular PooranLaw lawyer, or any member of our team.

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.