COVID Surcharges

As things start to slowly return to a new normal, we are seeing service such as massage, dental and other medical services start to open up.

I’ve polled my dental surgeon, dental hygenist and dentist friends and they are all back at it and ramping up pretty fast. Still, they are seeing fewer patients per day, and a long way from normal.

With this increased usage comes claims. With the claims, come questions and I am expecting lots in the coming months with most being about COVID surcharges.

Generally, extra charges over the Reasonable & Customary (R&C) fees, and over provincial dental fee guides are not eligible for reimbursement by plans. This is to protect benefit plans from abuse and overcharging and thereby keeping them affordable.  The Ontario Dental Association (ODA)(and presumably others) have added PPE codes to their fee guide in preparation for the expected increased costs. The problem we have is that we are still waiting for the CRA to see if the claims can be reimbursed by plans.

Currently personal protective equipment is NOT an eligible medical expense (think work boots, welding gloves & shields, non-prescription safety glasses, hard hats etc.) so we would need to have CRA make some changes before plans would be allowed to pay them (assuming employers wanted that).

I mention this issue as employees may ask their employers about this in the coming months. It is not as simple as us asking for an exception, as it could be offside and potentially make plans taxable. We are pushing for help on this from a variety of sources, but not getting any clear direction just yet.  Give us time, I’m working on it.

Tax Implications of Working from Home

I’ve had several clients reach out because staff have asked for T2200 forms to cover expenses while working remotely. I am not going to wade into this and suggest you speak to your accountant.  That said, I thought this was interesting and glad to see they are looking into it more..

As business environments shift in response to COVID-19, companies are managing employees remotely. Working from home (WFH) has become the “new normal” for a lot of organizations, as we all do our part to keep our communities healthy.

Crowe MacKay’s tax team suspects the next question that is on everyone’s mind is – what are the tax implications of working from home? How does having your employees work from home impact you as an employer as well as them from a tax standpoint? Here’s how you can begin to navigate this as it relates to your 2020 taxes.


100+ guidelines, plus tip sheets and posters, to promote working safely

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has provided a ton of resources to help employers returning staff to the workforce.  Take a look, some of the posters and checklists may save you the time of creating your own.

Resources for working safely during the COVID-19 outbreak, aimed at employers and workers, are available online. These include guidelines for numerous jobs and sectors, as well as downloadable workplace posters and graphic tip sheets.


WEBINAR – The New Reality: Stabilizing and Restoring your Workplace from COVID-19

My association (CGIB) is sponsoring this event intended for Ontario employers. If you are interested in attending, please review the info below and sign up ASAP.  We had over 560 for part 1 and expect more for this one.

The New Reality: Stabilizing and Restoring your Workplace from COVID-19—Part 2

During COVID-19, new government programs and legislative changes are being tabled at a dizzying pace. Coupled with dire economic circumstances and widespread uncertainty that are challenging employers at every turn, organizations are working overtime to adapt their products and transform services, all while developing return-to-work strategies designed to recalibrate the workplace, reintegrate employees and restore growth and productivity.

Join the Williams HR Law and Williams HR Consulting teams on June 4th at 9:30am EST for the second webinar in a special two-day virtual edition of the annual Williams HR Proactive Workplace Webinar. Part 2 will cover:

  • New developments related to layoffs, constructive dismissal and paid sick days
  • Accommodation requirements in light of COVID-19, with a focus on mental health, immunocompromised employees and employees’ childcare obligations
  • Anticipated conduct issues and investigation obligations
  • How to build a return-to-work plan for your organization

The  webinar will also include a live Q&A session where attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions to the Williams HR Law and Consulting teams. Click here to register.

Agenda – Part Two – June 4

MAJOR CHANGE – Ontario’s state of emergency does not constitute a layoff under the ESA

For those of you that had staff lay-offs without benefits, and were watching the 13 week mark fast approaching, where the Ontario ESA would normally require severance to be paid…you can relax a bit.

The Ontario government has made some changes to try and protect employers so there is a better likelihood of having a job to come back to. An article is below from Laura Williams and a government link with details.

Ontario Extending Infectious Disease Emergency Leave for Workers during COVID-19

New Regulation will protect employees from permanent layoffs and businesses from potential closures

On May 29, 2020, the Ontario government published a new Regulation, O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”).

The Regulation will have a dramatic impact on Ontario employers impacted by COVID-19. It is important to note, however, that the changes outlined below do not apply to unionized employees.