DURHAM REGION HOMEBUILDERS' ASSOCIATION
Clarington April 1, 2020 - The Municipality of Clarington has declared a local state of emergency as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our message to residents: stay home, maintain physical distancing, do your part to protect your family, friends, neighbours and the community.
“The health and safety of our residents is our number one priority. As we enter week three of the crisis, we cannot let our guard down. We continue to see residents ignoring physical distancing. This is no longer an ask—you must comply with physical distancing; it’s the only way to flatten the curve and stop this virus in its tracks,” said Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster.
Along with the local emergency declaration, Clarington is extending the closure of its buildings and facilities indefinitely.
Clarington’s declaration comes just days after the Province extended its emergency declaration on March 30. In that declaration, Ontario enacted several emergency measures closing all non-essential workplaces, prohibiting social gatherings of more than five people, and closing all outdoor recreational amenities, sports fields and playgrounds.
Clarington is working with Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) on enforcement. People caught violating any emergency measure could face fines ranging from $750 to $100,000 depending on the severity of the infraction. Residents can report violations to DRPS at www.drps.ca under Online Services - Community Concerns or by calling 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5802.
“We are working alongside the Region and the Province to protect our community. The decision to declare a local emergency was not made lightly. Clarington continues to follow public health guidelines,” said Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir.
In making this decision, the Municipality followed guidelines set out in the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. When declaring an emergency, the Municipality assesses a situation based on a list of key criteria focused on whether the event poses a risk to life, a strain on essential services and a threat to social order.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global emergency. We are facing an invisible enemy. If we don’t practise physical distancing, we are risking an increase in COVID-19 cases among our residents and prolonging this crisis. We are in this together, and if we make the right choices, we’ll get through it together,” added Mayor Foster.
In light of COVID-19 and new Ministry of Labour health and safety guidelines, the Ontario Home Builders' Association has released an employer information sheet to provide members with a list of key reporting and health and safety obligations under the MOL guidelines. Within this document is an employee intake information sheet to help track individuals coming onto sites.
Download the Employer Information Sheet
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is giving workers in the construction sector an extra year to renew their training if they work at heights.
The mandatory training of more than 120,000 workers was due to expire over the next six months. However, many training providers have either cancelled classes or shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The extension will apply to workers who successfully completed their working-at-heights training between February 28 and August 31, 2017. The validity period, normally three years, would have ended this year. It will now end in 2021.
The extension will ensure affected workers can continue to work when possible. Construction will move ahead without interruption.
More information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/training-working-heights
In response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice and sheriff's offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders. Tenants must pay rent while an eviction order is not being enforced.
How the eviction process works
The typical evictions process is explained below. Changes due to COVID-19 are in italics.
If the landlord gives a tenant notice to end the tenancy, the tenant does not have to move out. The landlord must apply for an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board (also known as "the Board"). The tenant has the right to go to a hearing and explain why they should not be evicted.
1. Notice: In most cases, the first step is for the landlord to give the tenant a notice in writing that they want the tenant to move out. Landlords must use an official notice from the Board. Sometimes a tenant can prevent the tenancy from ending by stopping the behaviour referred to in the notice, or by doing what the notice requests. This is called a tenant's remedy. The notice explains what this is and gives a deadline for the tenant to comply.
COVID-19 Update: Landlords can still give eviction notices, however, landlords are encouraged to work with tenants to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants in their homes, including deferring rent or other payment arrangements.
2. Application: If the tenant does not remedy the situation or move out, the landlord can file an application to the Board to end the tenancy. Most applications must be made within 30 days for the termination date set out in the notice. However, there is no deadline to apply to end a tenancy for non-payment of rent.
COVID-19 Update: Landlord and Tenant Board counter services are closed, but the most common types of applications can still be filed online.
3. Hearing: In most cases, the Board will schedule a hearing to decide the landlord's application. It will mail a Notice of Hearing to the landlord(s) and tenant(s) along with a copy of the application.
COVID-19 Update: All hearings related to eviction applications are suspended until further notice, except for urgent disputes such as those involving illegal acts or serious safety concerns.
4. Order: A Board member will make a decision about the landlord's application to end the tenancy and whether the tenant should be evicted or not. The member's decision is always put in writing. This written decision is called an order. The Board will mail a copy of the order to both the landlord and the tenant.
COVID-19 Update: No new eviction orders will be issued until further notice, unless the matter relates to an urgent issue such as an illegal act or serious safety concerns.
5. Enforcement: If a tenant doesn't leave the rental unit by the termination date in the eviction order, a landlord cannot personally enforce the order (remove a tenant from a rental unit or change the locks). An eviction order can only be enforced by the Court Enforcement Office (also known as the "Sheriff's Office"). The landlord must file a copy of the Board order with the Sheriff's Office to have the order enforced.
COVID-19 Update: Enforcement of residential eviction orders is suspended until further notice. By order of the Superior Court of Justice, enforcement of eviction orders is suspended during the suspension of regular court operations, unless the court orders otherwise.
Entering a rental unit and physical distancing
A landlord can only enter a tenant's unit in specific circumstances. In most cases, the landlord must:
There are some exceptions to this requirement, for example, in case of emergency. If the landlord has a valid reason for entering the unit, a tenant cannot refuse to let the landlord in.
COVID-19 Update: During this unusual time, patience and understanding from landlords and tenants is necessary to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Landlords are encouraged to request entry only in urgent situations and to follow physical distancing guidelines.
Landlords who are selling tenant-occupied homes are strongly advised to follow the guidance of the Real Estate Council of Ontario and avoid in-person showings. Landlords are subject to the Human Rights Code and have a duty to accommodate tenants under protected grounds, including people with disabilities. For example, conducting an in-person showing when a tenant has an immune-compromising condition could lead to a complaint under the Code.
People are encouraged to work together to protect the health and safety of tenants, landlords and the public at large.
Tenants who can pay their rent must do so, to the best of their abilities. Landlords are entitled to collect compensation from a tenant for each day that an eviction order is not enforced. However, tenants who are asked to self-isolate or who can't work may have difficulty paying their rent.
Landlords and tenants are encouraged landlords and tenants to work together during this difficult time to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants in their homes.
Tenants who are having challenges paying rent should speak with their landlords about possible deferring their rent or other payment arrangements.
Assistance for tenants
If you need financial help, you can:
Assistance for landlords
Landlords may wish to:
TORONTO — Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement today regarding health and safety on construction sites:
"The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe. We must do everything possible to fight the spread of this disease.
Today, Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer announced updated guidance to help employers better understand their responsibilities and what is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site.
The update follows an initial guidance document circulated on March 20, 2020, and addresses sector topics including:
Under Ontario law, employers must take every reasonable precaution to keep workers safe. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the ministry's Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
Ministry inspectors are inspecting job sites today and every day. Employers and constructors should know: failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations could result in a stop work order.
Keeping job sites open during the current pandemic requires a heightened focus on health and safety.
We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19."
At his daily press briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that the federal government will be increasing the federal wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19 to 75 per cent and that the wage subsidy will be backdated to March 15, 2020.
Last week, Trudeau announced a 10 per cent wage subsidy, but said today that it's not enough.
"It's becoming clear that we need to do more - much more - so we're bringing that percentage up to 75 per cent for qualifying businesses," said Trudeau. "This means people will continue to be paid even though their employers have to slow down or stop their businesses."
Trudeau said that more details are expected to be released on Monday.
"We are helping companies keep people on payroll so that workers are supported and the economy is positioned to recover from this," Trudeau said. "That is our priority."
The Government of Canada is making additional investments to support Canadian businesses from the economic impacts of COVID-19. These new investments provide support to financial institutions and allow them to quickly provide credit and liquidity options for a range of businesses.
These measures are a part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which provides direct support and tax deferrals to Canadian workers and businesses to help them in these difficult times.
Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments
Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers
New Loan Programs for Businesses
Canada Revenue Agency’s Additional Measures for Individuals and Businesses
In order to provide support for Canadian businesses during these unprecedented economic times, the Government is deferring Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020.
This measure could provide up to $30 billion in cash flow or liquidity assistance for Canadian businesses and self-employed individuals over the next three months
GST/HST Remittance Deferral
The GST/HST applies to sales of most goods and services in Canada and at each stage of the supply chain. Vendors must collect the GST/HST and remit it (net of input tax credits) with their GST/HST return for each reporting period.
Vendors with annual sales of more than $6 million remit and report monthly, and those with annual sales of $1.5 million to $6 million are able to remit and report on a quarterly basis (or monthly if they choose to). Small vendors can report annually.
The GST/HST amounts collected are generally due by the end of the month following the vendor’s reporting period: e.g., for a monthly filer, the GST/HST amounts collected on its February sales are due by the end of March.
To support Canadian businesses in the current extraordinary circumstances, the Minister of National Revenue will extend until June 30, 2020 the time that:
Businesses in need of information about their particular obligations may contact the Canada Revenue Agency or refer to its website.
Imported goods by businesses are generally subject to the GST, at a rate of 5 per cent, as well as applicable customs duties, which vary by product and country of origin. While the vast majority of imports enter Canada duty-free, some tariffs remain, especially on consumer goods.
The Customs Act, for which the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is responsible and which is administered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), governs the levying and payment of customs duties in Canada.
Typically, payments owing for customs duties and the GST on imports are due before the first day of the month following the month in which the Statements of Accounts are issued.
Section 33.7(1) of the Customs Act allows the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or an officer designated by the President of the CBSA to extend, in writing, the timeline for accounting or payment of amounts owing.
Under this authority, payment deadlines for statements of accounts for March, April, and May are being deferred to June 30, 2020.
Businesses in need of information about their particular accounting and payment obligations on imported goods may contact the Canada Border Services Agency for more details.
Canada Emergency Business Account
To ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges, the Government of Canada is announcing the launch of the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which will be implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC).
This $25 billion program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.
This will better position them to quickly return to providing services to their communities and creating employment.
Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
A New Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. To support their operations, EDC will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.
The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for export sector and domestic companies.
A New Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises
To provide additional liquidity support for Canadian businesses, the Co-Lending Program will bring the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) together with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. The potential for lending for this program will be $20 billion.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) understands that individuals and businesses might be dealing with difficulties filing their income and benefit returns, and could experience cash-flow challenges in the coming months. In response, the CRA will be applying these additional measures:
Administrative tax measures
In addition to the income tax filing and payment deadline extensions, unless otherwise noted, administrative income tax actions required of taxpayers by the CRA that are due after March 18, 2020, can be deferred to June 1, 2020. These administrative income tax actions include returns, elections, designations and information requests. Payroll deductions payments and all related activities are excluded.
Trusts, Partnerships and NR4 Information Returns
The deadlines for trusts, partnership and NR4 information returns are all extended to May 1, 2020. This is due to administrative requirements in advance of the June 1, 2020 deadline for filing individual income tax and benefit returns.
Any objections related to Canadians' entitlement to benefits and credits have been identified as a critical service and will continue to be processed during the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, there should not be any delays associated with the processing of these objections.
With respect to objections related to other tax matters filed by individuals and businesses, the CRA is currently holding these accounts in abeyance. No collection action will be taken with respect to these accounts during this period of time.
Extending the deadline for filing an objection
For any objection request due March 18 or later, the deadline is effectively extended until June 30, 2020.
Canada Pension Plan/Employment Insurance (CPP/EI) appeals to the Minister
In cases where taxpayers wish to file an appeal in relation to CPP/EI rulings decision, they are encouraged to do so through MyAccount to avoid potential delays.
The CPP/EI appeals program is currently only actioning appeals that are related to cases where EI benefits are pending. These cases will be treated on a priority basis. All other appeals will be actioned when normal services resume.
In addition, the CPP/EI Appeals to the Minister program will exercise discretion on a case by case basis when additional time is required to respond to a request.
Deadlines for charities
CRA is extending the filing deadline to December 31, 2020, for all charities with a Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return due between March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020. This will allow charities more time to complete and submit their T3010.
Suspending audit activities
CRA will not initiate contact with taxpayers for audits, with certain exceptions, This includes:
No audits should be finalized and no reassessments should be issued.
Suspending collections on new debt
Collections activities on new debts will be suspended until further notice, and flexible payment arrangements will be available.
Payment arrangements are also available on a case-by-case basis if you can’t pay your taxes, child and family benefit overpayments, Canada Student Loans, or other government program overpayments in full.
If you have concerns and require contact with a Collections Officer, please contact our toll free number 1-800-675-6184 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. your local time.
Requirement to pay (RTP)
Banks and employers do not need to comply or remit on existing RTPs during this time.
Taxpayer relief requests
Taxpayers who are unable to file a return or make a payment by the tax-filing and payment deadlines because of COVID-19 can request the cancellation of penalty and interest charged to their account. Penalties and interest will not be charged if the new deadlines that the government has announced to tax-filing and payments are met. For more information about deadlines, see Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
For more information about taxpayer relief and how to make a request to the CRA to have interest and/or penalties cancelled, please go to Canada.ca/taxpayer-relief.
For more information, visit Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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):
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.
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:
$10 billion in support for people and businesses to improve cash flows by:
Key Business Sector Details:
Employer Health Tax
Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit
Support for People and Businesses to Improve Cash Flow
$6 Billion in Tax Deferrals
$1.8 Billion in Education Property Tax Deferrals
$1.9 Billion in Workplace Safety Expenses
Responsibly Managing the Province’s Finances
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.
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