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November 17, 2020

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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Open Letter to Premiers: Canada needs Coherent and Consistent Approach to COVID-19

Today, several Canadian business organizations issued a join letter to Canada’s premiers urging them to work together to provide coherent and consistent direction and guidelines across all levels of government in the fight against COVID-19. 

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Ontario Commercial Eviction Ban is being extended

Cassels – Armen KhajetoorianRandy Bassi

Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020 (the Act), an omnibus budget bill, was introduced by the Ontario government on November 5, 2020. This Act is subject to change as it makes its way through the legislative process. If passed, Schedule 5 of the Act will provide protection for commercial tenants under Part IV of the Commercial Tenancies Act by establishing a Non-Enforcement Period (as defined below) in respect of certain commercial tenancies. During the Non-Enforcement Period, judges are prohibited from ordering a writ of possession if the basis for ordering the writ is an arrears of rent, and landlords are prohibited from exercising a right of re-entry and from seizing any goods or chattels as a distress for arrears of rent.

For more information

Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Released

Late last week, Statistics Canada released the results from a third wave of Canadian business surveying. Through the data, we now know that our economy will not recover until at least 2022; the most optimistic scenario assuming widespread vaccine deployment by then.

According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canada needs to carefully consider in the coming months those program supports that are put in place as Canada has a finite pool of money. Their comments on are available here.

CRA extends work-from-home reimbursement to cover office equipment, not just computers

According to an article in the Financial Post, the CRA provided some news at the recent Canadian Tax Foundation’s annual conference in late October. The news came as part of responses to several questions posed during their annual roundtable session.

Reimbursement of equipment

In April, the CRA issued a technical interpretation dealing with employee taxable benefits that employees may have received as a result of having to now work from home due to COVID-19.

At the CTF roundtable session in October, the CRA stated that there are no current plans to increase the $500 reimbursement amount, but that it would “continue to carefully monitor all developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and will take further action as necessary.”

The CRA also announced that it was extending its administrative position to employer reimbursements for home office equipment purchased by employees and clarified that the $500 reimbursement amount is the maximum for each employee, rather than for each piece of computer or office equipment that an employee may purchase.

Please contact your accountant or tax professional to clarify how this applies to your specific situation.

Bill to overhaul Canada's privacy laws released

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains introduced the Digital Charter Implementation Act today — officially called an "Act to enact the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act and to make consequential and related amendments to other Acts." It represents one of the biggest shakeups in Canada's privacy law in decades. 

This legislation takes a number of important steps to ensure that Canadians will be protected by a modern and responsive law and that innovative businesses will benefit from clear rules, even as technology continues to evolve, including:

  • increasing control and transparency when Canadians’ personal information is handled by companies;
  • giving Canadians the freedom to move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner;
  • ensuring that Canadians have the ability to demand that their information be destroyed;
  • providing the Privacy Commissioner with broad order-making powers, including the ability to force an organization to comply and the ability to order a company to stop collecting data or using personal information; and
  • ensuring the strongest fines among G7 privacy laws—with fines of up to 5% of revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater, for the most serious offences (the heaviest fines among the G7 nations' privacy laws).
  • companies would have to obtain consent from customers through plain language — not a long, jargon-filled legal document — before using their personal data.

Canada already has two privacy laws. The Privacy Act covers government agencies and federally regulated industries, while the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to private-sector organizations.

The proposed act is an initial step toward a comprehensive reform of Canada’s privacy framework. The Government of Canada is also proposing to modernize the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector and which the Privacy Commissioner of Canada also oversees. 

Many franchised and non-franchised business use apps and collect data about their customers. These changes will have an impact on business operations.  

Click here to access the text of the Bill

Sask. makes masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, reduces private gathering size to 5

Saskatchewan announced new COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, including expanding its mask mandate for indoor public spaces to include the entire province. Originally, a mask mandate was in place for Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. That was expanded last week to include communities surrounding those three urban centres and communities with populations of at least 5,000 people, which impacted roughly 65 per cent of the province. Tuesday's announcement put all Saskatchewan residents under the same restriction.

Capacity limits on private indoor gathering sizes have also been reduced to a five-person max from 10. Families of five or greater cannot have visitors inside their home, the province says. There are exceptions, however, such as allowing caregivers or tradespeople to enter, but physical distancing should be maintained and a mask should be worn at all times.

Manitoba may extend Christmas break for students by extra 2 weeks

The Manitoba government is thinking of extending the Christmas break at schools by an additional two weeks as it tries to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Premier Brian Pallister confirmed at a Tuesday morning news conference the province is considering the idea.

Other provinces, including B.C. and Quebec, have also said they are mulling a longer break over the holidays. 

Quebec premier mulls temporarily closing schools

Quebec Premier François Legault says schools might have to close this winter, extending the holiday break in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Schools and workplaces have the highest rates of transmission, Legault said during his Thursday news briefing.

The premier said 1,174 classes are currently shut down due to positive cases, 324 of those in the last two days alone. It is clear, he said, that schools are a vector for the virus in the province.

Closing schools in advance of the December holiday break, or extending the break after the holidays, may be a way to give the province a better shot at stopping the second wave. 

That could then mean extending the school year into the summer — as far as July, he said. He said the government has been in discussion with unions about this possibility as it would affect teachers and staff as well.

P.E.I. to make masks mandatory in indoor public places

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King says the province will make mask wearing mandatory in indoor public spaces in order to blunt the impact of COVID-19. As of 12:01 a.m. on Friday and continuing until Feb. 15, non-medical masks will be required in all indoor public places, King said at the Island's weekly public health briefing.


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COVID-19's impact on the world is creating waves across all sectors and industries.

Every member of the CFA community is dealing with an issue that is affecting the world, our industries, our communities, our businesses, and our people.

We would like to hear from you if you have any topics, issues or questions to navigate turbulent times in order to support you further: 


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