New Health Measures for Travellers Entering Canada – COVID-19

Most people are aware of the testing required to re-enter Canada when travelling abroad, but this is a good reminder for family, friends or employees. I now know of several people that went away to warmer climates and tested positive when it was time to return and as a result they are not allowed to fly home.  They don’t know how long it will be until they test negative. Until then they will have to remain quarantined in their hotel rooms. No beaches, no restaurants or pools.

On January 6, 2021, Canada’s Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, announced that a negative COVID-19 test will now be required in order to enter the country by aircraft. Here is more information…

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Tax Tip – If your employees share the health and dental premium

As employers prepare T4’s, they can make like a bit easier for staff.  By reporting the employees contributions to the health and dental premium in Box 85, you are helping staff make sure they get the medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) where available.

This avoids employees being audited for proof of contributions (and you having to write out letters for them).  You can find more on the CRA site below or ask your accountant.


2020 HR Law Year in Review and Trends to Watch in 2021 – Jan. 19, 2021

Please see the webinar invite on a topic that may be of interest.

Laura Williams & Williams HR are a local (Markham) HR & Employment Law practice that does great educational events.

If you’re looking for help with employment issues, look no further. Lauras contact info can also be found on our website under NEED HELP

Registration info and details are below.

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges for employers in 2020, and it continues to do so into 2021. That said, there were also numerous, non-pandemic-related developments that occurred in 2020 that employers need to be aware of to avoid risks and proactively meet new and evolving HR law obligations.

Join the Williams HR Law team on January 19, 2021 at 1pm ET for a free 90-minute webinar on 2020 HR Law Year in Review and Trends to Watch in 2021. This session will:

  • Review the key developments in labour and employment law in 2020, both pandemic and non-pandemic-related;
  • Identify the trends that must be on employers’ radars for 2021; and
  • Explore actionable strategies for HR and business leaders to ensure legal compliance, minimize workplace exposures and make the changes necessary to adapt to the realities of the “new workplace”.

This interactive webinar will include Q&A time for attendees to pose questions which Williams HR Law’s lawyers will answer live during the webinar.

We look forward to you joining us!


Date And Time

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST

Add to Calendar

Infectious Disease Emergency Leave extended to July 3, 2021

An update that applies to non-unionized provincially regulated employers in Ontario.

The IDEL has been extended once again.  This does provide some protection for employers that have had to remain closed or have extended lay-offs.

This piece from Williams HR Law provides more info

On December 17, 2020, the Ontario government announced that it will extend the current temporary rules relating to layoffs until July 3, 2021. This is a major development that will give many Ontario employers struggling to recover from the business impact of COVID-19 more time before recalling their employees to work.

As many employers know and as addressed in our blog, in late May the provincial government temporarily changed the rules relating to temporary layoffs under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Generally, the ESA provides that employees can be temporarily laid off for up to 13 weeks in a 20-week period or 35 weeks in a 52-week period, depending on the circumstances, after which time their employment is deemed to be terminated if the layoff continues. However, the government effectively “paused” layoffs when it enacted the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave regulation (the “Regulation”) in late May. This new change will extend this “pause” until July 3, 2021.

The Regulation temporarily deems employees who had been laid off to instead be on a statutory Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”), rather than on layoff. This means that during the period when the Regulation is in effect, legally, employees who had been laid off since March are no longer considered to be on a temporary layoff under the ESA, and the usual rules pertaining to the duration of layoffs temporarily do not apply.

The temporary rules discussed above were scheduled to end on January 2, 2021, after which the usual rules related to layoff durations were scheduled to come into effect. However, if the government amends the Regulation as it has announced that it will, then the temporary rules will be extended until July 3, 2021.

For more information on what the planned extension would mean for employers, please read our blog regarding the previous extension of the temporary rules.

CRA Extends Work-From-Home Reimbursement To Home Office Equipment

More clarification on covering employee expenses while working from home.  Click on the title in the post at the bottom of this page to see the full article.

Who is eligible to deduct home office expenses?

An employee can deduct home office expenses if he or she is required to maintain a home office that was not reimbursed under an employment contract, and the home office must meet either of the following conditions:

  1. It must be the employee’s principle place of employment, or
  2. The space must be used by the employee exclusively for the purpose of earning income from employment and used on a regular and continuous basis for meeting customers or other persons in the ordinary course of performing the employment duties.

To deduct home office expenses, an employee would generally need

  1. a formal work-from-home written agreement under the employment contract, and
  2. Form 2200 – Declaration of Conditions of Employment, signed and prepared by the employer.

CRA Extends Work-From-Home Reimbursement to Home Office Equipment

Everything you need to know about the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine

There are a lot of questions on the COVID vaccine from both employer and employees. Although this publication is UK based, I found their Q&A quite good.

The first takeaway…

How effective is the vaccine?
About 95 per cent. The phase 3 trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine involved 42,000 people, about half of whom got the experimental vaccine and the rest a placebo. In total, 170 people fell ill with covid-19. Only eight of them were in the vaccine group; 162 had received the placebo. So around 5 per cent of cases were in the vaccine group, which is where the 95 per cent figure comes from. That is a very healthy number: the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it would be happy with 50 per cent.

Read more:

As a note, the influenza vaccine in Canada is about 58% effect

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Ontario Dental Fee Guide up 4.6% for 2021

Each year the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) sets their dental fee guide for the coming year. This guide is used by many dentists to set their prices (though they can charge above or below this). Insurers tend to use these numbers as the “reasonable & customary” limitation for claims.

Last year the Ontario average increase was 1.27% and this year the increase has jumped 4.6% higher. The average over that the past decade has been about 2.2% per year, so this is much higher than normal increase and is in good part due to COVID expenses.

What this means to employers is that if your employees submitted the exact same claims this year, as they did last year, then the cost charged in 2021 would be 4.6% higher. In reality, there are also trend and utilization numbers that are added (because we don’t really do the same thing every year, we tend to do more, and higher cost treatments), so the end result is even higher.

Depending on your renewal date, many clients may not see this affect rates until much later in the year (or even next year) and depending on the utilization of dental services, we may see the cost of claims rise, while the number decreases. That could result in premium costs staying stable.  Time will tell.