What to Know
Globally there have been 1,464,852 reported cases of COVID-19, up from 1,407,123 at this time yesterday. Canada reported 19,162 cases today.
Ontario now reports 5,276 cases of COVID-19, an 11.6% increase over yesterday. The province has now tested 84,601 individuals and reports 1,102 tests are currently under investigation. More information here.
Some good news out of Air Canada today; the company announced it would immediately hire back 16,000 workers laid off as a result of COVID-19. Air Canada says the workers hired back will be brought back onto payroll, but will remain off-duty until it is safe for them to get back to work. CEO Calin Rovinescu, who also announced that he and the company’s CFO would give up 100% of their salary, said in a statement: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is an extremely important program to help employees and employers during this time of crisis, and as one of Canada’s largest employers most affected by COVID-19, we want to acknowledge the leadership of the Government of Canada in introducing it.
Deloitte has launched a COVID-19 information centre which includes useful information about the situation in Canada and the United States.
Prime Minster Trudeau has returned to the Hill today, after weeks in social isolation due to his wife Sophie’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
The federal government has made some changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, providing further flexibility to employers. The proposed CEWS would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week, per employee. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy would be eligible, with certain exceptions including public sector entities. An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to make best efforts to bring employees’ wages to their pre-crisis levels.
As well, the Government is proposing that employers eligible for the CEWS be entitled to receive a 100-per-cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund would apply to the entire amount of employer-paid contributions in respect of remuneration paid to furloughed employees in a period where the employer is eligible for the CEWS. The government is proposing additional flexibility to address the needs of the not-for-profit sector, high growth companies and new businesses.
As well, Prime Minister Trudeau said in his news conference this morning that a return to work will be gradual and likely still months away. While provinces like British Columbia show positive trends, other provinces continue to show spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases. The government will be looking to ease restrictions to allow for economic activity to take place, but not at the expense of Canadian’s health due to another outbreak.
The Ontario government is extending construction hours for essential construction projects, like critical projects in the health care sector, to 24 hours a day. Work on new hospital builds, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres will be able to continue any time of the night or day to help accelerate the construction of these important projects and enable employers to take additional steps to protect the health and safety of workers on these job sites.
Mayor Tory has a special message, thanking Toronto’s City workers who are continuing to deliver front-line services during the COVID-19 crisis. Watch the full video.
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