As you know, the situation with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been rapidly evolving in Canada and across the world.
Here is the link that should help with and Payroll questions that you may have while dealing with the COVID-19 crisis
March 23 update:
At a Glance:
- Positive COVID-19 Results: 41
- Negative COVID-19 Results: 2308
- A State of Emergency was declared on March 22, 2020.
- The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab is now certified to report positive and negative tests and are no longer required to be shipped to Winnipeg for results.
At 6 am on Monday March 23rd stop check points were put in place at the NB / NS border, Halifax Stanfield International Airport and all points of entry to inform those coming to or returning to NS that they must self-isolate for 14 days.
Exemptions for cross-border travel include:
- healthy workers in trades and transportation sectors who move goods and people (e.g. truck drivers); healthy people going to work (e.g. health-care workers);
- those who work in financial institutions and
- in the manufacturing of essential goods and
- people travelling into the province for essential health services (e.g. chemotherapy treatment).
- The premier has instructed all employers to encourage and support employees who are able to work from home stating it is incumbent on the employer to support employees concerned with exposure to Covid-19 and to take all measures possible to curb the spread.
- Police are now authorized to enforce orders under the Health Protection Act. If Nova Scotians and businesses do not practice social distancing and self-isolation, they will face fines of $1,000 for individuals and $7,500 for businesses.
- Multiple fines can be given each day an individual or business fails to comply. Police can also enforce offences under the Emergency Management Act. For example, fines for charging higher than fair market prices for goods and services
- On March 20, the Province announced a $161 million program to help small and medium-sized businesses with cash flow and credit.
Provincial trails remain open for exercise however gathering limits and social distancing guidelines (ie 6 ft.) must be followed. Provincial parks, beaches and tourist attractions are closed.
New orders in effect under the Health Protection Act include as of March 22:
- Effective immediately, social gatherings of more than five people are prohibited
- Any workplace or business that is not deemed essential may remain so long as a two-metre or six-foot distance can be maintained. Workspaces must also be cleaned and disinfected at a minimum of twice daily or as required and employees follow proper hygiene
- Dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless they deem it necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure in the best interest of the patient’s health (in effect since March 21)
At a Glance:
Positive COVID-19 Results: 17
Negative COVID-19 Results: 1079
New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of Covid-19 today.
All cases are related to international travel or to a confirmed case that has travelled outside the province.
The Rules of Travel:
In response to reporter’s questions, Premier Higgs indicated that he is open to closing the borders and requiring all entering the province to self-isolate but would like a standardized approach across the country. He is going to raise that on the call with the Prime Minister this evening.
- Dr. Russell announced that the laboratory at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton is now able to give final confirmation of any NB tests, which will speed up the testing and confirmation process in the province.
- Premier Higgs noted that the Department of Public Safety has been monitoring to see if business are complying with the State of Emergency order which includes: All businesses in retail sales will stop admitting patrons, except: grocery stores; pharmacies; repair garages; post offices; financial and lending institutions; retailers of fuel, hardware and automotive parts; convenience stores; animal and fish feed providers; and corporate and agency stores of NB Liquor and Cannabis NB. All businesses required to stop admitting patrons are permitted to sell online or over the phone and to arrange delivery or pick-up of purchases. They found that 94% of businesses were compliant and they would continue to monitor.
- The province also launched a toll-free information line and email address, which offers services in both languages, to help answer non-health related questions, including questions about compliance with the state of emergency.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
At a Glance:
Positive COVID-19 Results: 3
Negative COVID-19 Results: 231
Cases under investigation: 166
- A Public Health Emergency was declared on March 16, 2020.
- All non-essential services on Prince Edward Island are closed.
- Visitor restrictions were put in place for all Health PEI facilities on March 18, 2020.
- Fines of $1,000 (1st time), $2,000 (2nd time) and $10,000 (3rd time and every time after) will be enforced starting March 23rd, 2020 for those not following the requirement to self-isolate; including, both individuals and business-owners.
The Rules of Travel:
Effective, March 21, 2020, Prince Edward Island requires anyone travelling to Prince Edward Island from another province within Canada to self-isolate for 14 days.
Restrictions on international travel have been in place since March 13, 2020.
Screening measures are in place at all entry points into the province, including the Charlottetown Airport, Confederation Bridge and Magdalene Island Ferry dock in Souris.
Exceptions being made for individuals providing essential services.
Programs for Business:
Numerous programs have been put in place for businesses; including, working capital support and income relief for the self-employed and workers.
PEI has a strong and up-to-date Public Health Act, which has enabled the Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison to impose restrictions very quickly. The strength of the Act has allowed for PEI to proceed with significant measures without invoking a State of Emergency.
NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
At a Glance:
Positive COVID-19 Results: 24
Negative COVID-19 Results: 914
- A Public Health Emergency was declared on March, 18 2020.
- Hospitals and Care facilities have shut their doors to visitors.
The Rules of Travel:
Newfoundland and Labrador was the first jurisdiction to impose tightening of interprovincial travel between the province and its neighbors.
The rule, with some important exceptions, is that anyone entering the province, whether from an international destination or from another Canadian province or territory must self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
Workers who are so asymptomatic (i.e., with no flu-like symptoms) while travelling to and from the province to work in the trades, transportation, mining, hydroelectric as well as oil and gas sectors may be exempted.
Specifically, the exemptions cover:
- Truck and Transport drivers
- Military / Commercial aircraft crew
- Marine vessel crew (fishing, navy freighters, offshore supply ships, Coast Guard and Marine Atlantic
- Offshore oil workers,
- Mining workers Hydro – Electrical workers and,
- Contractors travelling to the province to maintain critical infrastructure
The Government continues to work on their programs for relief and/or support for business.
Once offshore oil workers come ashore from their working rotations on platforms, they must self-isolate for 14 days. Regulators have also ordered oil companies to take staff compliments on platforms down to ‘essential services’ only.
Government response to date
The federal government has committed to support businesses and workers in the face of the economic threat of COVID-19. Some steps the government has taken to date include:
- Waiving one-week EI sickness benefit waiting period for people off sick with coronavirus;
- Enhancing work-sharing program that allows employees to retain their jobs with reduced hours;
- Establishing a $10-billion credit facility program — delivered through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) — with a goal of helping small and medium-sized businesses meet cashflow requirements and keep exporting during these challenging times.
On Wednesday, March 18th, the Prime Minister announced a relief package — Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan — for individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. The package includes $27 billion in direct support to Canadians and businesses, and a further $55 billion to meet liquidity needs for businesses and households through tax deferrals. Some of the business-focused highlights include:
- Helping businesses with cash flow by deferring tax payments until August 31st;
- Essentially eliminating the payroll tax for three months by providing a 10% wage subsidy to small businesses, which will help keep people employed;
- Introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits;
- Further expand Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.
- Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
- Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. The Government will enable these measures by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each.
Further expected actions by government
Last week, the Canadian Parliament adjourned until April 20th. This means that the federal budget will likely be postponed until then, although Minister Morneau would not confirm a date when asked by reporters. However, the Minister did say parliament could reconvene before then to pass emergency measures to stimulate the economy and support Canadians.
Minister Morneau also signaled there would be more targeted supports announced in the days ahead for the tourism and hospitality sectors, which could be especially hard-hit by the quarantine measures being brought in by municipal, provincial and federal authorities.
Resources for your business
- The federal government has set up a dedicated website for businesses seeking information about the response to COVID-19. They will also be hosting regular conference calls to update businesses and entrepreneurs; if you would like to be included in these calls, please fill in this Google form with your name, email, and organization.
Operational Best Practices for Marine Business
As an outdoor activity boating is a great way to get away from the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic.
Here a few best practice recommendations :
Many marinas, dealerships and trade members are closing their retail store for the next couple of weeks (in line with government directives on public facilities). Now is a great opportunity to have staff take care of a project or two that have been at ‘the bottom of the list’. Get creative – Seek & communicate new / alternate means that you can introduce to sell your products. Look at options for online sales, pick-up or delivery service and more.
Have staff prepare on site facilities but do not open public spaces to the public currently – i.e. swimming pools, restaurants.
Your washroom facilities should be well stocked with sanitizing supplies, have recommendations posted, be cleaned thoroughly and frequently. If you have multiple stalls you may want to limit access/ number of users.
Consider ‘Risk Factors’ for your team – staff that have existing illnesses such as respiratory or diabetes should be supported appropriately to minimize their exposure.
Review Social distancing in your office environment. Staff need to be 3 – 6 feet apart as a minimum – get creative and make this a priority.
Consider your fuel dock staff, yard staff and make clear guidelines on how they too must respect social distancing in that environment – communicate this to your customers as well so they know what to expect when they approach the fuel dock or anyone in your facility.
Invite your clients to come to the marina to ‘Hug their boat’ – create a positive moment during a challenging time. While doing so remind them of your expectations for responsible Social Distancing (see below).
You are encouraged to ‘become your own media company’ and actively, openly and frequently act as a conduit to information while being sincerely willing to listen to the voices and concerns of your staff and clients.
Meet with your teams daily – provide updated info, hear their concerns, remind them of your policies regarding sanitizing – their own hands as well as your facilities and your expectations of guests. If any of your staff can work from home, then please encourage them to do so.
There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses. Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health:
- • wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- • sneeze and cough into your sleeve
- • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- • avoid contact with people who are sick
- • stay home if you are sick
Communicate with your clients – insist that they self-quarantine for 14 days if they have been out of the country. Respectfully suggest they stay home if they are sick. Advise them of your plans – for launch / opening / scheduled events and so on (HAPPY THOUGHTS!!). Many businesses are advising clients that they will no longer process any cash transactions but will still take credit or debit cards or e-transfers for payment.
Communicate frequently through your email database, social media platforms and any others you use regularly.
Social distancing includes, but is not limited to:
- Talking to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible.
- Avoiding non-essential trips in the community / If you must go into the community for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare, be sure to keep the windows down.
- If possible, limit or consider cancelling group gatherings.
- If you have meetings planned, consider doing them virtually instead of in person.
Whenever possible, spend time outside (Like maybe ON A BOAT!!) and in settings where people can maintain a 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) distance from each other.
- The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has put together an excellent Q&A and list of resources for businesses. In addition, they have also opened their Helpline to all business owners including non-CFIB members for advice on managing COVID-19 situations in the workplace. To talk to an expert, please call 1-888-234-2232.