Covid-19: Information and recommendations for employers and employees

The Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA) has prepared a very interesting and relevant document for employees and employers. Mrs. Marie-Hélène Jetté, Lawyer and Partner, and
Mr. Philippe Bélisle, Lawyer at Langlois lawyers, LLP, Ms. Marie-Krystel Ouellet, CHRP, Senior Associate at Norton Rose Fulbright and Mrs. Marie-Hélène Robert, CHRP participated in the drafting of this document. We are restating the main questions raised and answers to our clients and employees – Last updated March 27, 2020.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This content is up to date as of April 13, 2020 at 9 am. New facts or government directives which have occurred may invalidate certain information. Please take this factor into consideration.

A series of government measures have been advocated, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly:

  • The adoption, on March 13, 2020, of a decree declaring a state of health emergency throughout the Province of Québec;
  • The prohibition of indoor and outdoor gatherings, with some exceptions;
  • Physical distance of two meters from other people outside your home;
  • The closing, until May 1, 2020, of all establishments in the education network;
  • The closing of all non-priority businesses at least until May 4, 2020;
  • The closing on Sundays, at least until the end of April 2020, of grocery stores and shops, except for gas stations, pharmacies and convenience stores;
  • The obligation for any individual returning to the country to self-isolate for a period of 14 days;
  • People asked to stay at home and go out only when necessary, especially those aged 70 and over;
  • A ban on non-essential visits to hospitals, CHSLDs and private seniors’ residences;
  • The prohibition, for those presenting COVID-19 symptoms, of travelling by train or by plane;
  • People are asked not to move from one region to another or from one city to another, except when necessary, and roadside checks to limit entry and exit in several regions of Quebec.

THE CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY

The new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. 

The CEWS prevents further job losses, encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.

Eligible Employers

Eligible employers include:

  • Individuals;
  • Taxable corporations;
  • Partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non‑profit organizations and registered charities. Those that see a drop of at least 15% of their revenue in March 2020 and 30% for the following months.

Eligible Periods

Period

Claiming Period

Required Redution in Revenue

Reference Period for Eligibility

1

March 15 to April 11

15%

Mars 2020 over:

  • March 2019 or
  • Average of January and February 2020

2

April 12 to May 9

30%

Eligible for Period 1
OR
April 2020 over:

  • April 2019 or
  • Average of January and February 2020

3

May 10 to June 6

30%

Eligible for Period 2
OR
May 2020 over:

  • May 2019 or
  • Average of January and February 2020

How much will it amount to?

  • 75% of each employee's salary;
  • Applicable to the first $58,700 of the employee's annual salary;
  • up to $847 per week.

SEVERE CONSEQUENCES IN CASE OF ABUSE

The Government of Canada has appealed to the honesty of employers: the subsidy must be transferred entirely to employees' wages and warns those who attempt to abuse aid programs, citing severe consequences for offenders.

For more information:

Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

Bill C-14: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-1/bill/C-14/royal-assent

IMMEDIATE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR TRAINING

  • The Government of Québec is providing a budget of $100 million to encourage companies to provide training to their employees in the coming months.
  • This program is intended for businesses, regardless of their status, whose activities have been affected by the pandemic.
  • The aim is to take advantage of the current pause to help companies prepare for the recovery so that they emerge more productive from the crisis, while mitigating the negative impact of health measures that limit their activities.
  • The government will reimburse all eligible expenses, including trainers’ fees, direct and indirect training costs, and human resources work to organize them, up to a maximum of $100,000 (50% of expenses between $100,000 and $500,000 are eligible). The salaries of employees attending training will also be reimbursed by 25% up to 100% depending on the case, in addition to the federal Emergency Wage Subsidy and up to a maximum of $25 per hour.
  • Eligible training activities include basic employee training, as well as training in digital skills, business activities, training recommended by professional orders, skills needed to facilitate the resumption of
  • activities or a change in activities due to the pandemic, requalifying workers, and French language training.
  • Several human resource management activities are also eligible, such as HR diagnosis, HR management consulting mandates, and coaching and management skills development.
  • This training offer is ready. It was prepared by the Labour Market Partners Commission in collaboration with universities, colleges, school boards, professional colleges and labour sector committees. Other training courses may be added.
  • Distance training is encouraged, but in-room training may be conducted as required in accordance with current health rules.
  • The program is available now, until the $100 million envelope runs out and it ends September 30, 2020.

Click here for more information.

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Covid-19: Mazars by your side

The unprecedented health crisis we are facing creates new operational, economic and crisis management challenges for all. The federal and provincial governments have continuously altered regulations. What are the ramifications for your employees and your business? Below we share action steps and informational items that our teams have identified to assist you through these difficult times.

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