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  • March 27, 2020 1:03 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    There have been a lot of headlines lately concerning rent - whether or not tenants have to pay.  So where does that leave landlords?

    Currently, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) has suspended (until further notice):

    • All hearings related to eviction applications, unless the matter relates to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or serious impairment of safety; and
    • The issuance of eviction orders, unless the matter relates to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or serious impairment of safety.

    While there are groups and websites calling on people to not pay their rent, the provincial government is not in agreement.

    During the March 26 press briefing, Premier Doug Ford said, "I heard there was a petition going around (saying) 'just don't pay rent.'  That's wrong, that's hurting people across the board.  We're standing up here for the tenants here so please don't take advantage of it."

    Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Steve Clark echoed the Premier's sentiments in an op-ed published in today's Toronto Sun.

    "Tenants who can pay their rent must do so, to the best of their abilities.  But I want to be very clear - you cannot be forced to leave your home if you cannot pay your rent on April 1.  Period.  Today, I'm calling on landlords to be as flexible as possible when it comes to collecting rent, starting with April, at a time when many people are struggling.  The same goes for any planned rent increases landlords are contemplating, whether already approved by the Landlord and Tenant Board or not.

    Of course, some landlords are also facing challenges, especially small landlords.  While mortgage deferrals are available, some of you are waiting for news from your bank.  Everyone needs to do their part right now.

    To the tenants out there who are having challenges paying rent, please speak to your landlord about whether it can be postponed or if other payment arrangements can be agreed to.  And landlords, please be as flexible as you can..."

    According to a March 19, 2020 release on Tribunal Ontario's website, all incoming applications will continue to be processed.  Hearings for matters not relating to evictions will proceed by the most appropriate means (telephone or written hearing) and orders for these matters will be issued.

  • March 26, 2020 3:14 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    On March 25, the Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips delivered a 1-year fiscal updated entitled "Ontario's Action Plan 2020: Responding to COVID-19."

    The government will provide $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and provide direct support for people and jobs. It will also make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax credits and deferrals to improve their cash flow, protection of jobs and household budgets, while providing resources to protect their health. The fiscal update includes historic levels of prudence, including a dedicated $1.0 billion COVID‐19 contingency fund as part of the additional health care investments, an increased contingency fund of $1.3 billion and a reserve of $2.5 billion to provide continued flexibility.

    Fiscal Update Highlights:

    $3.7 billion to support people and jobs, including:

    • Making electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm & small business consumers through a $1.5 billion increase in electricity cost relief.  The government is also setting electricity pricing for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate (off-peak - 10.1 cents per KWH), 24 hours a day for 45 days;
    • Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption;
    • Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax credit - the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit;

    $10 billion in support for people and businesses to improve cash flows by:

    • Providing a five-month interest and penalty free period to making payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, providing $6 billion in relief to help support Ontario businesses
    • Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax  to school boards by 90 days. This will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses; and 
    • Providing $1.9 billion in new financial relief by the WSIB allowing employers to defer payments for a period of six months.  
    Fiscal prudence:  
    • A dedicated $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund as part of the additional health care investments;
    • An increased contingency fund of $1.3 billion; and
    • Reserve of $2.5 billion (largest in Ontario’s history).

    Key Business Sector Details:


    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. 
    • The exemption would return to its current level of $490,000 on January 1, 2021.  

    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. 

    Support for People and Businesses to Improve Cash Flow

    • Ontario is making $10 billion available to improve cash flows for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals over the coming months to provide relief during this challenging economic time, in coordination with the federal government. 

    $6 Billion in Tax Deferrals

    • To help support Ontario businesses, 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. 
    • 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. 
    • The initiative and relief period complement the relief from interest and penalties from not remitting Corporate Income Tax owing that was announced by the federal government on March 18, 2020.

    $1.8 Billion in Education Property Tax Deferrals

    • Many residents and businesses are facing challenges in making property tax payments. 
    • The government is working with municipalities as they introduce measures to provide property tax relief, by allowing taxpayers to defer property tax payments. 
    • To encourage these actions, the government is deferring the property tax payments municipalities make to school boards by 90 days. 
    • In addition to collecting municipal property taxes, municipalities collect and remit education property taxes to school boards on a quarterly basis. 
    • Deferring the June 30 quarterly remittance to school boards by 90 days will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide over $1.8 billion in property tax deferrals to residents and businesses. 
    • To ensure this does not have a financial impact on school boards, the Province will adjust payments to school boards to offset the deferral.  

    $1.9 Billion in Workplace Safety Expenses

    • The 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.  

    Responsibly Managing the Province’s Finances 

    • Through its action plan, Ontario is immediately allocating the necessary resources to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, while continuing to invest in people. 
    • The 2020–21 deficit is projected to be $20.5 billion.  

  • March 26, 2020 1:58 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    New financial measure will allow insurance premium payment deferrals for six months.

    Toronto -  The Ontario government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on business brought on by COVID-19.  The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.

    "During this unprecedented period of uncertainty and hardship, our government is doing everything possible to support businesses and protect jobs," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.  "By making this change today, we are building upon the substantial financial help we are providing business owners and workers.  The top priority is to keep people safe."

    All employers covered by the WSIB's workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020.  They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.

    Additionally, the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments.  They will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period.  There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments.  The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.

    "We have worked closely with the Government of Ontario to help Ontario businesses as they face this unprecedented challenge," said Elizabeth Witmer, Chair of the WSIB.  "We're here to help."

    The relief program is in addition to a $17 billion package included in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.

    The government's action plan will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.

    Additionally, through the WSIB, the government reduced costs to employers by a new rate framework and the elimination of the unfunded liability charge, putting more than $2 billion back into the economy.

    "Our government is working day and night to provide Ontarians with certainty and support during this difficult time.  This Relief Package being implemented by the WSIB will help sustain businesses, protect our economy and save jobs," said Minister McNaughton.

    The new measure builds on the government's previous actions to support business and protect jobs.

    Quick Facts

    • WSIB covers over 5 million people in more than 300,000 workplaces across Ontario.
    • Businesses are not required to inform the WSIB that they will be taking advantage of this financial relief package.
    • The deferred premiums will amount to an average $1,760 for approximately 275,000 Ontario businesses.

  • March 26, 2020 9:59 AM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    The City of Pickering remains committed to working with the development community during these uncertain times and evolving business operations.

    Although their facilities are currently closed to the public, they are "open for business" via telephone, email, and other digital means.

    View/Download Service Level Update 

  • March 25, 2020 5:31 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    Dear OHBA Members,

    Premier Doug Ford made it clear, the construction industry has been put on notice regarding health and safety standards on jobsites during the COVID-19 State of Emergency with residential construction being included as an essential workplace under that order.

    The Premier stated that Ministry of Labour inspectors will be active on jobsites to assess sanitary conditions and to confirm that enhanced precautions are being taken.  Premier noted that while the majority of businesses, general contractors, renovators and builders are taking extra precautions, there remain a few bad actors in the sector.

    In Ontario, workers have always had the right to refuse work if the deem conditions unsafe.

    Premier Ford has been absolutely crystal clear: if the industry does not take every step necessary to look after the health and safety of workers, jobsites will be shut down. 

    If businesses are not meeting the health and safety standards of the Ministry of Labour, jobsites will be shut down.

    It is NOT business as usual - take enhanced health and safety seriously and implement new measures or be shut down.

    OHBA leadership agrees with the Premier.  If jobsites are not safe, they should be shut down.  Worker safety is the top priority during this COVID-19 State of Emergency.

    There have been public calls to "suspend" or "pause" construction sites for up to 2 weeks by various groups and now the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

    It is important that members immediately enhance health and safety on their sites and implement COVID-19 protocols if they want to keep their sites open.  We know many of our homebuilders and renovators are on the tools, working with their employers and trade partners, so let's keep each other safe.

    As the Ministry of Labour and Chief Prevention Officer work to provide more direction, we encourage you to consult our industry guide on enhanced health and safety precautions and implement them as soon as possible.

    This document has been approved for circulation by the respective Co-chairs of the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee - Section 21 Construction and the Provincial Labour Management Safety Committee - Section 21 Electrical Utility.

    Let's keep each other safe.  We are all in this together. #OntarioSpirit


  • March 25, 2020 1:17 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    March 25, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

    The Government of Canada is taking strong, immediate and effective action to protect Canadians and the economy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health, putting food on the table, paying for their medication or caring for a family member.

    To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

    The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

    Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

    The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week. Given this situation, all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are EI-eligible or not, would be able to receive the CERB to ensure they have timely access to the income support they need.

    Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

    The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible. The portal for accessing the CERB would be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.

    Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.

    This benefit would be one part of the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, to support Canadian workers and businesses and help stabilize the economy by helping Canadians pay for essentials like housing and groceries, and helping businesses pay their employees and bills during this unprecedented time of global uncertainty.

    “We know that people are worried about their health, their jobs and their financial situations. Our government is doing whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and to support workers, families and businesses. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit would make sure that money gets in the hands of workers as quickly as possible to support them in their time of need, and would help businesses keep their employees during this difficult period. Canadians can rest assured that the government stands ready to take any and all necessary actions as we continue to confront these challenging times together.” - Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

    “Through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Government of Canada would be helping support those Canadians who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is during these difficult times that Canadians should not have to choose between protecting their health and continuing to support their families. We recognize this, and are there for them.”
    Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

    “The government understands that the outbreak of COVID-19 is having a significant impact on all Canadians. Through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, we would provide much-needed financial support to those who have lost their income because of COVID-19. The Canada Revenue Agency is playing an important role by getting benefit payments to Canadians quickly and efficiently.”  - Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

  • March 25, 2020 12:20 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

    On Monday, the province issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces and encourage non-essential businesses to find ways to help their employees work from home.  The government also reminded businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.

    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.

    Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    A complete list of essential services is available on the Government of Ontario's website.

  • March 24, 2020 7:49 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    Today, during Premier Doug Ford's announcement, he mentioned that the Ministry of Labour and the Chief Prevention Officer would be releasing new health and safety measures soon.

    DRHBA will forward that information to members as soon as it becomes available.  In the meantime, please review the industry statement released on March 20, that outlines some best practices for construction sites.

    View/download the document 

  • March 24, 2020 7:42 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    Pickering, ON, March 24, 2020 – In support of the Province of Ontario’s and Region of Durham’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Deputy Mayor, Kevin Ashe has declared a state of emergency in the City of Pickering to ensure that the municipal government continues to be agile and responsive in managing this rapidly evolving crisis.

    Over the past 10 days, the City has closed all of its facilities to the public; suspended all City-run programs, events, and meetings; activated its Emergency Operations Centre; waived property tax penalties and interest charges for 60 days; and closed all municipal playgrounds and play structures. While not open to the public, Pickering City Hall and the Operations Centre remain minimally staffed to ensure the continued delivery of essential and critical services. The Customer Care Centre is still operating Monday to Friday between 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and can be reached at 905.683.7575, customercare@pickering.ca, or through live chat at pickering.ca/livechat.

    For the most up-to date COVID-19 information including news releases, property taxes, service level delivery, and safety tips, visit pickering.ca/covid19 or follow the City’s corporate social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    “We have declared a state of emergency to send the strongest message possible to residents and businesses that everyone must align their attitudes and actions if we are to be successful in flattening the curve and protecting our healthcare system. Members of Council and staff have been working around the clock to manage this emergency, and we need everyone to do their part by staying at home.”

    -      Deputy Mayor, Kevin Ashe

  • March 24, 2020 5:47 PM | Durham Region Home Builders' Association (Administrator)

    On March 24, the Region of Durham declared a state of emergency to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Regional Chair John Henry released the following statement:

    “Today, based on information collected over the last few days and in consultation with the Chief Administrative Officer, Regional Emergency Control Group, Regional Medical Officer of Health and Durham Emergency Management, I am declaring a State of Emergency in the Region of Durham.

    This is a critical time in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Cases are climbing across Durham Region. We must all do everything we can to keep our community safe and flatten the curve.

    In making today’s declaration, this is a message to our entire community: stay home, stay safe and follow the advice of our public health professionals.

    I am also ensuring that we, as your Regional Government, can continue to act and respond quickly to the situation we face today, and to any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.

    This is not a step we took lightly. It reflects the seriousness of our response to COVID-19 and the tremendous co-ordination and communication that is required from all levels of government.

    While I thank our many residents and businesses who are taking every precaution to protect themselves and others, there is still some complacency in our community. I am urging you to do your part: to self-isolate, practise social distancing, and only go outside for essentials. If you are returning from travel, self-isolate in your home for 14 days and ask family, friends or neighbours to drop off supplies for you.

    We are all in this together. The Region of Durham is here for you. The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority. We are and will continue to work out of the Emergency Operations Centre to maintain the essential social services, public works and health-care services you rely on.

    This is an incredibly tough time in our history, and there will be more difficult days ahead. But we must not lose sight of why we are doing this and why such extreme measures are needed. Only by working together over the coming days and weeks can we change the course of this virus and protect the health and safety of everyone in Durham. I know we can do this. Please help us by doing your part.”

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Durham Region Home Builders' Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 1-1255 Terwillegar Avenue Oshawa, Ontario L1J 7A4

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