FREE Webinar – Stabilizing & Restoring Your Workplace From COVID-19

As we look ahead on the Road to Recovery, I thought this webinar may be of interest.

Laura Williams is both an interesting and dynamic speaker that leaves you with lots of take-aways you can put to use in your firm.  An employment lawyer that lives in the HR space, her practice is local and is set up for firms just like yours.

Details are below.

The New Reality: Stabilizing & Restoring Your Workplace From COVID-19


To sign up:

Reopening Ontario after COVID-19

Ontario is starting to lay out the “Reopening of Ontario” framework.  The model follows what European cities are doing, and what the western provinces are starting to communicate. My son Matt is teaching in Vienna Austria and they have relaxed restrictions and the entire world is watching with fingers crossed to see where their numbers go.

The framework has no dates yet, but allows them to lay out the path as the health numbers start to improve.

Ontario is planning for the next phase of responding to the coronavirus (COVID‑19) outbreak – reopening our province. As a first step, we have developed a framework to guide our approach. This framework outlines the method and principles we will use to reopen businesses, services and public spaces to responsibly lead Ontario’s economy back to a strong position.


Good News for a Friday

I just wanted to share some good news to end the week.

#1  Almost every insurer and TPA has announced short term reductions in premium to offset the lack of dental and many paramedical claims.  Nothing for you to do, just watch for it on upcoming billing statements. We initially reported this when the first companies offered it but it has continued to the majority. READ POST

#2 Saskatchewan has announced they are starting to re-open things starting with medical services like dentists, chiropractors and optometrists being allowed to resume May 4th, READ ARTICLE

#3  Ontario says an announcement is expected early next week regarding Ontario’s action plan for re-opening the economy.   READ ARTICLE

Have a great weekend.  We ARE getting through this together!

Insurers providing premium relief to clients

You may have seen (or will see) that several insurers are reducing premiums for our clients with insured health and dental plans.  Each insurer will be offering these reductions in response to the reduced paramed, vision and dental claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far Sun and Canada Life (nee GWL) have announced this, but we expect others to follow with something similar to this…

• Dental: A 50% premium reduction adjustment will be applied.
• Vision: A 20% premium reduction adjustment will be applied.
• Healthcare:
• With PayDirect Drugs: A 20% premium reduction adjustment applied to the Healthcare rate.

This will likely last for a couple months (April and May) to start, and be extended as or when necessary.  These changes will be implemented automatically by the applicable insurers according to their formula.

This may mean your deductions to your staff will also need to be reduced if you share the health and dental portion of the premium.

Help to keep your employees on payroll and benefits

Welcome back.  I hope you had a good long weekend, and maybe a bit of an extended break from work.  We had a fun virtual Easter family get together through Zoom (security concerns have been addressed, and no one wants to listen to our family drama any way 🙂 I hope you could connect with your loved ones.

A few items today.  Just to remind you that the Wage subsidy is available to employers in an attempt to keep your staff at work, or at least on the payroll. The loan can be used to cover benefits and other expenses interest-free and $10,000 of it can be forgiven (kind of like a taxable grant?).  If you are eligible, I’ve included the links below.

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.


The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

CEBA provides much needed credit for small businesses to pay for immediate operating costs such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax, or debt service.  It is 100 per cent funded by the Government of Canada.

  • It is available to Canadian employers with $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019, and operating as of March 1, 2020. This includes smaller (i.e., micro) businesses and other eligible employers such as not-for-profits.
  • Under CEBA, financial institutions will be able to provide interest-free credit facilities of up to $40,000 to eligible businesses.
  • If the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, 25 per cent (up to $10,000) will be forgiven.
  • If the loan is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the remaining balance will be converted to a three-year term loan at 5 per cent interest.


Wage subsidy reduced to 15% loss – Details below

Thanks for hanging in there.  It feels like just making it through the week is a win these days.  I have been speaking to lots of you over the past couple of weeks to check in, or to handle issues like lay-offs etc. I’m glad to see so many of you adapting and continuing along.  I hope you, your staff and families continue to stay healthy as we go into this long Easter weekend.  use it as a chance to recharge.  We are in a marathon, not a sprint.

I wanted to remind everyone that we have options for you if you need help with your plan.  Many are working from home and staying status quo, some are cutting and a few may be forced to terminate staff and their plan. We are here to help with any changes you need to make to ensure your survival (we’ll also have to let insurers know what you are doing).

I know there are a lot of competing advisors calling clients.  They are offering to cut dental and massage benefits to get some savings.  In most cases this is short term gain with long term pain.  Cutting benefits like massage usually means services such as psychologists and social workers are also removed at a time when people need them more than ever.  Not mentioned and not good.  Just because people can’t use dental services today, does not mean they won’t as things ease up.  A 3 month premium savings could mean you are severely underfunded at renewal causing MUCH larger than usual rate increases for the next 12-15 months.  Not great during recovery. If you’re approached and want to talk about the “too good to be true” offer, just reach out.  We’re here for you.

Some good news below…

Employers to have easier time accessing coronavirus wage subsidy program

The federal government will now only require employers to demonstrate a 15 per cent drop in revenue during the month of March due to the coronavirus to be able to access the new 75 per cent emergency wage subsidy


Employer Workshare and SUB programs – (Easy to understand)

I have been getting a lot of calls from clients about some of the other well established government programs.  I’ve been sharing info individually in order to avoid overwhelming people with e-mails up until now.  This article is from a national law firm and provides great questions and answers to how the SUB and Workshare plans work and may be of assistance or an option for your firm.

As they contend with the global crisis caused by COVID-19, employers are increasingly welcoming such support mechanisms as the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan (SUBP) and the Work-Sharing special measures. But making sense of it all isn’t easy. To help guide you, here are four (4) frequently asked questions regarding these support mechanisms and our team’s answers.


1) Can employers pay unemployment benefits to their employees in addition to those paid under employment insurance? If so, how? 

2) How are supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) paid under a plan?

3) What is the maximum amount of unemployment insurance that can be paid to an employee under the SUBP without that employee’s employment insurance benefits being reduced? 

4) Can an employee be forced to reimburse employment insurance benefits received? 


1) What are the new Work-Sharing special measures? 

2) Which employers and employees may benefit from the temporary Work-Sharing special measures and how? 

3) What benefits are employees entitled to under a Work-Sharing program? 

4) How can you apply for the Work-Sharing program and within what timeframe? 


Want a night off from cooking? (something a bit different)

Clients and Friends,

I’m trying to think of ways that I can add a bit more value to our relationship in these challenging times.  Most of you are in the Greater Toronto Area, so have I got an idea for you.

Peter and Pauls is the catering company that supplies the CGIB events that I run (educating advisors in the benefits space).  They also run and supply GTA hotels banquet halls and restaurants around the GTA. Their business has obviously suffered as there are no events being held until the end of June and the restaurants are closed except for take out.  That said, they DO have lots of chefs and kitchens and are willing to do the cooking (and shopping) for you.  So why not let them do the hard work?

You can order large frozen trays of meals such as; veggie lasagna, veal parmesan, chicken scallopini, meatballs and much more.  They are also selling from their stock of wine, groceries, toilet paper and sanitizer.  You can pick up in Vaughan and get delivery if you’re in their “delivery zone”.

Don’t let the larger size throw you off (because you can’t have people in).  Share with neighbours, or save for the next meal (⅓ pan feeds  4-6 people & ½ pan feeds 8-10 people)

Our order went in today and you can check out all the details here…