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January 5, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

New rules and regulations coming to Canada in 2021

A number of new rules and regulations are set to take effect this upcoming year. Changes include minimum wage increases, bans on single-use plastics, and free vaccines.

Click Here for some of the new rules and regulations set to come into effect federally and provincially in 2021

Vacationers will not be able to claim sickness benefit to quarantine: PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is making changes to the $1,000 sickness benefit, closing a loophole to make sure anyone who travels for non-essential reasons will not be able to access it to cover the cost of their quarantine upon return to Canada.

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CSRB) was designed to provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19, or have underlying conditions that would make them more susceptible to the novel coronavirus.

However, concerns have been raised about Canadians claiming this benefit to cover time off work while completing a 14-day mandatory self-isolation following their return to Canada.

“It is not intended for travellers who are quarantining when they return from holiday. This program was created to give people sick leave if they needed it and otherwise wouldn't have one from their employer. It’s not there to pay for someone's post-vacation quarantine,” said Trudeau.

It remains unclear whether this change is something that can happen before Parliament resumes at the end of the month. 

Ontario Government Extends the “COVID-19 Period” Under the Employment Standards Act to July 2021

In December, the Ontario government passed a new Regulation that further extends the timeline for when temporary lay-offs are deemed permanent job losses.

During the COVID-19 period (March 1, 2020 to July 3, 2021):

• A non-unionized employee is deemed to be on a job-protected infectious disease emergency leave under the ESA any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced or temporarily eliminated by their employer for reasons related to COVID-19.  

• A non-unionized employee is not considered to be laid off under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or temporarily eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19. 

• A non-unionized employee is not considered to be constructively dismissed under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or temporarily eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.

Beginning on July 4, 2021:

• Non-unionized employees will no longer be deemed to be on infectious disease emergency leave.

• The ESA’s regular rules around constructive dismissal will resume. This means a significant reduction or elimination of an employee’s • hours of work or wages may be considered a constructive dismissal, even if it was done for reasons related to COVID-19. 

• The ESA’s regular rules around temporary layoff For practical purposes, a non-unionized employee’s temporary layoff clock re-sets on July 4, 2021.  

Learn more about these COVID-19: Temporary changes to ESA rules or read the regulation (O. Reg. 228/20). 

Manitoba Cabinet Shuffle

On January 5, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has expanded his cabinet and split the health minister's job in two as the province battles a pandemic that has sunk the popularity of his government.

In terms of the Ministers most relevant to the CFA

  • Ralph Eichler is responsible for economic development and jobs, a slight change from his former title as minister of economic development and training.
  • Wayne Ewasko, MLA for Lac du Bonnet, enters cabinet as minister for advanced education, skills and immigration. This new stand-alone ministry will help ensuring greater linkages and alignment between the offerings of Manitoba’s advanced education institutions and the skills needed to equip the labour force of the future

Ontario has a new Finance Minister

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips has resigned after returning from a controversial Caribbean vacation while the province is under strict lockdown measures that discourage non-essential travel, Premier Doug Ford announced on January 1.

Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board has assumed the role of Minister of Finance and will deliver the Ontario government's 2021 budget.

Decision on Cannabis NB put off till the new year

The New Brunswick government has again delayed a final decision on whether to privatize Cannabis NB.

Last November, following Cannabis NB's dismal performance in the first half of 2019, the Higgs government said it could not tolerate multimillion-dollar losses. It launched a country-wide search for a private sector operator to take the agency over.

Eight companies submitted proposals, and a final decision was expected by spring.

Since then, a pandemic has thrown the economic landscape into disarray, Cannabis NB has seen record sales, its CEO has resigned for undisclosed reasons, and a final decision on its fate — which had been given a new soft deadline of the end of 2020 — has once again been moved forward.

The Crown corporation, which operates 20 stores in 15 communities across the province, has had a turbulent few months leading up to the end of the year.

Business Recovery Summits On-Demand Videos Now Available for Purchase!

Session recordings from the Business Recovery Summit Series are now available for purchase! Choose from the Franchisee Recovery Summit, Franchise Recruitment Summit, Operations & Franchisee Support Summit, and Franchise Marketing Summit! View On-Demand Library

Purchase Access to On-Demand Videos Now!


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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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