Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19

March 26, 2020

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19 outlines the first steps in the Provinces plan to tackle the COVID19 outbreak. The action plan will provide $3.3 billion in additional health care resources, $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, and measures that will make available up to $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flows, helping protect jobs and household budgets.  Read it here.

Ontario Provincial Measures & Subsidies

Ontario's List of Essential Workplaces
The full list of essential workplaces is available from the Ontario website.  Please be aware that this list may continue to evolve.  We’ll attempt to update links  to keep you as current as possible.

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.     Learn more about this.

Locally, the Thunder Bay District Health Unit is responsible for the interpretation of these Orders.  To register a complaint or request specific information about your business call the TBDHU’s enforcement line at 625-5900 and ask to speak with an Inspector.

For the purposes of this order, businesses include any-for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described herein.  This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery.  Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.

Read the full list here.

Employer Health Tax

The government is cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers by proposing a temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption from $490,000 to $1 million for 2020. With this plan, more than 90 per cent of private-sector employers would not pay EHT in 2020. 

Eligible private-sector employers with annual payrolls up to $5 million would be exempt from EHT on the first $1 million of total Ontario remuneration in 2020. The maximum EHT relief from the exemption would increase by $9,945 to $19,500 for 2020 for eligible employers. About 57,000 private-sector employers would pay less EHT, including about 30,000 who would not pay any EHT for 2020, effectively eliminating EHT for these employers for one year. The exemption would return to its current level of $490,000 on January 1, 2021.  

Learn more: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/action-plan.html#section-4

Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

To support business investment in regions of the province where employment growth has been significantly below the provincial average, Ontario is proposing a new 10 per cent refundable Corporate Income Tax credit.

The Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit would be available to eligible businesses that construct, renovate or acquire qualifying commercial and industrial buildings in designated regions of the province, saving them up to $45,000 in the year.

Learn more:https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/action-plan.html#section-3

$6 Billion in Tax Deferrals

To help support Ontario businesses when they need it most, the government is providing a five-month interest and penalty-free period for businesses to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.

Beginning April 1, 2020, the Province is providing flexibility to about 100,000 businesses in Ontario to help manage their cash flows during this challenging time. This will continue for a period of five months, up until August 31, 2020, and is expected to make available $6 billion to improve the cash flows of Ontario businesses.

For this period, the Province will not apply any penalty or interest on any late-filed returns or incomplete or late tax payments under select provincially administered taxes, such as the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gas Tax.

Learn more: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/action-plan.html#section-4

Payment Deferral on WSIB

Working in conjunction with the government of Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will allow employers to defer payments for a period of six months. This will provide employers with $1.9 billion in financial relief.

All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the financial relief package. Schedule 1 employers with premiums owed to the WSIB will be allowed to defer reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. The deferral will also apply to Schedule 2 businesses that pay WSIB for the cost related to their workplace injury and illness claims. In addition, no interest will be accrued on outstanding premium payments and no penalties will be charged during this six-month deferral period.

Learn more: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/marchupdate/action-plan.html#section-4

Electricity Relief

The Ontario Government is suspending time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour until May 31. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.

More information…

Supply Opportunities

Ontario needs supplies.  If your business or organization can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks and eye protection, fill out this online form to tell them what you have.

Ontario needs innovation.  If your business or organization can help communities withstand the pandemic and you have a solution for:

  • virtual mental health services for people who are vulnerable or living in remote communities
  • supply chain resiliency monitoring
  • financial planning and advising for small businesses that can be delivered online at low-cost including advice about relief programs and how to apply
  • fill out this online form to tell them what you can do.

Ontario needs your ideas.  If your business, research institution or organization has ideas, other products or services that could help Ontarians, share your idea here.