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Your Weekly Roundup of News 

November 23-27, 2020 
In This Issue:

Resources and Funding Opportunities

OPENING MONDAY! Applications for Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced that applications for the second Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) period (October 25 to November 21, 2020) will open on November 30. Qualifying organizations can apply through the CRA My Business Account or Represent a Client portals. If you don't have an account, visit CRA login services to create a My Business Account. The new rent subsidy supports businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses. Qualifying organizations that were required to shut down or significantly limit their activities under a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25%, meaning that they could receive rent or property expenses support of up to 90%. Eligible expenses include commercial rent, property taxes (including school taxes and municipal taxes), property insurance, and interest on commercial mortgages (subject to limits) for a qualifying property, less any subleasing revenues. Any sales tax (e.g., GST/HST) component of these costs is not be an eligible expense.

Do you…

  • Need assistance navigating the abundance of supports available?
  • Have questions about any of the support programs?
  • Need help filling out an application form to receive support?
  • Have a product or innovative solution you want to pitch to government?
  • Need assistance in connecting with the Ontario or federal government about a specific issue?
Whether you represent a business, organization, non-profit, or need help navigating COVID-19 related supports as an individual, Pathway Group is here to help

And don't forget to check out Pathway Group's COVID-19 Resource Hub - Updated regularly, this hub connects individuals, businesses, organizations and non-profits to Ontario and Federal Government supports and additional resources. 

Ontario Government News

Moving Regions to New Levels in COVID-19 Response Framework
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health, and other health experts, is moving five public health regions to new levels with stronger public health measures. Based on the latest data, the following public health regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 30, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Red - Control - Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.
  • Orange - Restrict - Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.
  • Yellow - Protect - Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Lambton Public Health; Northwestern Health Unit.

Ontario Deploys Rapid Testing to Support COVID-19 Response
The Ontario government has deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas. Ontario has received approximately 98,000 ID NOW tests that are initially being used in hospitals and assessment centres in rural and remote communities. Two hospitals are using ID NOW,  with 20 additional hospitals preparing to launch rapid testing. Hospitals will be able to test people, such as staff and patients, who are either symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. ID NOW tests continue to be distributed in Simcoe Muskoka, Southwestern Ontario and Eastern Ontario, and the program will be expanded to other areas of the province beginning in December. Continued rollout of this test is planned for in Toronto and Peel and work is underway with Ontario Health and local public health units to support rapid testing deployment across the province. Ontario also continues to work closely with Toronto Public Health and Peel Regional Health Unit to bring rapid testing into the regions' outbreak response, using rapid testing to help with early identification and investigation of outbreaks.

The province has also received 1.2 million Panbio rapid antigen tests that will support a screening program for long-term care homes and other workplaces. 
To date, Panbio tests have been deployed to six long-term care operators for potential deployment in over 30 long-term care homes, 27 retirement homes, eight hospitals, and 11 industry partners such as Ontario Power Generation, Air Canada and Magna, with plans to expand further across province. Ontario is expecting to receive up to 1.5 million more Panbio tests by the end of December. Over the next number of weeks, select long-term care homes will use the Abbott Panbio rapid antigen tests to help inform future deployment across the sector. Panbio tests will also be used in a broader eight-week pilot for participating employers in the private, public and non-profit sectors, prioritizing access for health care settings, essential frontline settings, and congregate settings. 

Ontario Calls on Ottawa for Certainty as COVID-19 Vaccine Preparation Continues
The Ontario government is calling on the federal government to immediately lay out its plan to allocate COVID-19 vaccines across the country as the province continues to prepare for the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccine doses, which will be the largest vaccine rollout in a generation. This federal plan will inform the work of the new Ministers' COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force being led by General (retired) Rick Hillier. The task force, chaired by retired General Rick Hillier, will support the government in the planning and execution of this historic logistical undertaking. This task includes ensuring the province is ready to receive, store, and administer the vaccines in an ethical, timely and effective manner as soon as they are available. As part of its initial work, the task force will be guiding the development of an ethical framework, develop a logistical roadmap, and identify the key risks and mitigation strategies for the rollout of the program. Additional members will be announced in the coming days.

Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season
The Ontario Government, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and input from the Public Health Measures Table, is providing preliminary guidance on how to safely celebrate this year. A new holiday web page will be launched shortly to provide more direct and up-to-date guidance on how individuals and families can plan for a safe holiday season. The overall message from the government is that "[n]o matter where you live in the province, the safest way to spend the holidays this year is by only celebrating in person with the people you live with and celebrating virtually with everyone else. If you live alone, consider exclusively celebrating with one additional household as a safe way to spend the holidays." And of course, Ontarians should adhere to the public health measures in their communities, especially when connecting with others. 

Ontario Auditor General Releases Special Report on COVID-19 Response
This week Ontario's Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, released her report on the province's response to COVID-19. The audit looked at three areas: emergency management and pandemic response; outbreak planning and decision-making; and laboratory testing, case management and contact tracing. In the report, the Auditor said the advice of public health experts has been sidelined by Premier Doug Ford and his government during the province’s response to COVID-19. “Public Health Ontario played a diminished role,” the report states. She also said Ontario was “slower and more reactive” than other provinces in dealing with the virus. A summary of the auditor's detailed findings are available online. The Office of the Auditor General is now working on a second Special Report on Ontario’s response to COVID-19. It will look at: management of health-related COVID-19 expenditures; personal protective equipment; and long-term-care issues. 

Federal Government News


Feds to Provide Updated Fiscal and Economic Picture on Monday
The federal government will be releasing a fall economic statement on Monday, November 30th at approximately 4:00 p.m. (ET), providing a revised look at the state of federal finances amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is promising the statement—first committed to in the September throne speech— will include an update on the cost of COVID-19 aid, which has already been compared to wartime spending and is set to grow as the second wave hits the country hard, prompting more shutdowns. It remains to be seen how detailed this update will be, but it won’t be a full budget, with that promised sometime in 2021.

Health Canada Expects First COVID-19 Vaccine to be Approved Next Month
The first COVID-19 vaccine could be approved for use in Canada within two weeks, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser said Thursday. As reported in the Toronto Star "[t]he department’s medicine review team is currently reviewing three COVID-19 vaccines — one from Pfizer and BioNtech, a second from Moderna and a third from AstraZeneca. Dr. Supriya Sharma said at a briefing to reporters in Ottawa that the Pfizer review is the most advanced of the three and that Health Canada is working alongside similar review teams in the United States and Europe...The FDA is to meet Dec. 10 to decide on approving the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer is set to ship more than six million doses as soon as that happens. Sharma was less definitive about when Canadians will start getting vaccinated. She said it is possible the first doses could arrive before the end of December but seemed to think it more realistic for them to start shipping here in January. Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses from Pfizer and the option to buy another 56 million. The first four million are supposed to arrive between January and March."

Report Released to Help Prepare Canadians for a Changing and Modern Labour Market
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the release of the Future Skills Council’s report, Canada – A Learning Nation: A Skilled, Agile Workforce Ready to Shape the Future. The report underlines the importance the Government places on growing a thriving and dynamic workforce where everyone has a chance to succeed. It frames lifelong skills development as key to building a skilled, agile workforce that will fuel Canada’s long-term economic competitiveness and prosperity.  The report identifies five priority areas for building a country that supports ongoing learning, and proposes concrete actions that require participation from all levels of government, private sector, labour, non-profit and Indigenous partners, and educational/training institutions. The five priorities are:
  1. Helping Canadians make informed choices
  2. Equality of opportunity for lifelong learning
  3. Skills development to support Indigenous self-determination
  4. New and innovative approaches to skills development and validation
  5. Skills development for sustainable futures

Upcoming Events

November Events

Hospitality & Alcohol Industry Survival & Competitiveness through COVID-19
Hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce 
November 30, 2020 - 11:00 a.m. (ET)

Canadian restaurants, pubs and bars have been devastated by the impacts of COVID-19 with more of these businesses closing their doors permanently every day. The impacts of lockdowns and closures extend far beyond these businesses as Canada’s beverage alcohol industry has seen a collapse in bar and restaurant sales of their products. While restaurants and bars fight for their survival, they must also contend with Canada’s increasing alcohol taxes, which are some of the highest in the world. This tax burden is scheduled to increase again next year due to the alcohol escalator tax which increases alcohol taxes on April 1 every year.

Please join the discussion with Industry leaders:

  • Larry Isaacs, President, Firkin Group of Pubs
  • Peter Watts, Managing Director, Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre
  • Michael Brennan, Chief Executive Officer, Great Western Brewing Company
  • Marc Valencia, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Vice President, Public Affairs, Corby Spirit and Wine Limited

The discussion will focus on what the industry is doing to survive the pandemic and what Canada can do mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our restaurants and bars while improving the competitiveness of its breweries, wineries, distilleries and all of the agricultural and other supply chain members that contribute to this industry.

MaRS Impact Week
November 30 - December 4, 2020

With the goal of finding and adopting viable solutions, MaRS Discovery District is hosting the first-ever MaRS Impact Week - five days of immersive online events, can’t-miss conversations, informative breakouts and more. MaRS Impact Week brings two streams together — Social Finance and Cleantech — for one comprehensive online experience. Learn more and register now.

December Events

Successfully Managing Your Workplace During a Global Pandemic
Hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
December 1, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. (ET)

Canadian businesses are facing unique challenges in managing through COVID-19. Including issues related to:   

  • Health and safety   
  • Increased absenteeism   
  • Work refusals   
  • Accommodating human rights   
  • Implications of a vaccine 
  • Workplace restructuring   

This session will provide employers with practical tips and tools to address these issues when they arise and to minimize related legal liability as they move into 2021. This webinar will be led by Priya Sarin, Partner at Sherrard Kuzz LLP, a leading Canadian employment and labour law firm. Register online here. 

Tourism HR Canada: Workforce Power Session
December 9, 2020 - 2:00 p.m. (ET)

This webinar will help employers navigate challenging staffing issues, exploring ways to recalibrate the staffing structure, plans to help employees transition back to work or new roles, and best practices to support employees with managing difficult circumstances such as transitioning to different jobs or coping with mental health needs. Register here to join this session.

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