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February 9, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

New 2020 T4 Reporting Requirements for All Employers

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced new reporting requirements for all Canadian employers who issue T4 slips. In connection with the COVID-19 support programs launched in 2020, employers will have to submit more detailed T4 information, regardless of whether they applied for the various wage subsidy programs or not.

These additional reporting requirements will help the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) validate payments under the various COVID-19 government programs including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). These new reporting requirements apply to all employers, regardless of whether they applied for these programs or not. 

New T4 Slip Information Codes and Reporting

For the 2020 calendar year, in addition to reporting employment income in Box 14 or Code 71, the new information codes below should be used to report employment income and retroactive payments made in the following periods:

  • Code 57: Employment income – March 15 to May 9
  • Code 58: Employment income – May 10 to July 4
  • Code 59: Employment income – July 5 to August 29
  • Code 60: Employment income – August 30 to September 26

E.g. If you are reporting employment income for the period of April 25 to May 8, payable on May 14, use code 58.

10-percent Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS) and Form PD27 Requirement

Employers eligible for the TWS are required to complete and submit Form PD27, 10-percent TWS Self Identification Form for Employers, to the CRA. This includes employers who have already claimed the TWS and those who haven’t but still intend to, as well as employers who qualified for both the TWS and the CEWS but elected to claim a TWS of 10 percent or less (including a claim of zero). However, if an employer elected not to participate in both the CEWS and the TWS, Form PD27 does not need to be filed. Employers who did not qualify for the TWS will also not be required to complete Form PD27. 

The CRA will use this form to reconcile the TWS remittances to the amounts reported on the 2020 T4 Summary. Employers can also instruct the CRA on how they want to apply any balances of TWS available on the Form PD27.

Submission of Form PD27

The self-identification form can be submitted online, by mail or fax. The form requires the following information to be provided:

  • Gross remuneration per pay period
  • Income tax, Canada Pension Plan contributions (employer and employee portions), and Employment Insurance premiums (employer and employee portions) deducted from remuneration paid
  • TWS claimed in dollars and as a percentage
  • Total number of eligible employees employed from March 18 to June 19, 2020

There is currently no due date for Form PD27, however employers are encouraged to complete and submit this form as soon as possible to avoid receiving a discrepancy notice from the CRA. 

As the T4 reporting deadline approaches, it is important to be aware of the new reporting obligations associated with the various government wage subsidy programs introduced in response to COVID-19. These new reporting requirements will necessitate employers to spend additional time to gather information and ensure the proper disclosures are made for each employee. Detailed payroll information is needed and if not readily available could be an onerous task. 

Applications Open for Ontario's New Skills Development Fund

Applications are now open for the Ontario government's new two-year $115 million Skills Development Fund. The fund, which will support workers and apprentices, is specifically designed to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining while preparing workers for the province's economic recovery.

Applicants, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and others can now submit proposals beginning today, until February 28, 2021.

The fund, which will support workers and apprentices, is specifically designed to address the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining while preparing workers for the province's economic recovery.

Read the full release here

January job losses, unemployment rate hits 9.4%

Canada's labour market saw months of gains wiped out in a matter of weeks as widespread lockdowns and school closures erased 212,800 jobs in January, hitting mothers and youth particularly hard.

The monthly job declines were the worst seen since last April, sending the unemployment rate up 0.6 percentage points to 9.4 per cent, the highest rate since August.

The unemployment rate would have been 12 per cent in January had Statistics Canada included in its calculations Canadians who wanted to work but didn't search for a job.

Losses in January marked a second straight month that the labour market contracted after 63,000 positions disappeared in December to break a streak of monthly gains that began in May 2020.

After clawing back from an unprecedented drop of three million jobs over March and April, the country plunged backwards and is now short 858,300 jobs, or 4.5 per cent, of employment levels from last February before the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

January's losses were concentrated in Ontario and Quebec where lockdowns and restrictions closed businesses and schools to rein in rising COVID-19 case counts.

Steep declines in part-time work, particularly among teenagers, and in service-industry jobs, including retail, overshadowed small upticks in full-time workers and in goods-producing sectors.

Quebec reopens non-essential stores, salons and museums as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Non-essential stores, personal care salons and museums across Quebec will allowed to reopen today as the province eases some of the restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.

The province is also allowing universities and junior colleges to begin to gradually reopen their campuses to allow students to attend in-person classes and activities a few times a month.

But while the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has dropped in recent weeks, the government says it's still too early to remove measures such as a nighttime curfew.

Six of the province's less-populated regions are moving to the lower orange-alert level, allowing their residents to eat inside restaurant dining rooms, work out at gyms and stay out until 9:30 p.m., instead of 8 p.m. like the rest of the province.

The province is also allowing people across the province to participate in outdoor activities with people outside their households.

Residents will be able to meet outside with up to three people from other households, while in orange zones, the limit will be increased to eight.

Indoor gatherings are still prohibited, and bars remain closed. The government is also ordering anyone who can work from home to do so.

Restaurants in orange zones will only be allowed to seat two adults and their children at each table, and reservations will be mandatory to facilitate contact tracing and to prevent people from outside the region from visiting them.

Ontario will let more businesses reopen, gradually lift stay-at-home orders

Non-essential retailers in Ontario will be allowed to reopen at limited capacity when stay-at-home orders are lifted, the provincial government said Monday, as three public health units are set to see COVID-19 restrictions loosened.

Ontario has been in a provincewide "lockdown" since Dec. 26, and a stay-at-home order was added four weeks ago.

The following public health units will move into the green category — the least stringent in terms of COVID-19 restrictions — on Wednesday:

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health 
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit

The stay-at-home order will be lifted then in those health units as well.

The order will remain in place in the rest of Ontario until Feb. 16, when it could be lifted in 28 more public health units depending upon COVID-19 trends at the time, the government said. In Toronto and Peel and York regions, however, the order is set to stay in effect until at least Feb. 22.

As part of today's announcement, the province detailed some changes to the set of restrictions that apply to areas in lockdown once stay-at-home orders expire. Chief among them is that non-essential retailers in the grey zones will be allowed to open their doors with a 25 per cent capacity limit. The province said the move is to "support the province's economic recovery."

The same applies to some other businesses, including discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres. Retailers will also need to have a system in place for "patron screening.

The 50 per cent capacity limit for in-person shopping at essential retailers, such as supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, as well as convenience stores and pharmacies, will stay in place. 

Personal care services, however, are to remain closed. 

Gatherings at residences are still prohibited, but outdoor events and social gatherings of up to 10 people with two metres of distance are allowed, with masks strongly encouraged.

Funerals, weddings and baptisms are also allowed, with 10 people either indoors or outdoors, with two metres of distance between them.

Religious gatherings are similarly capped at 10 people indoors with two metres between them, and masks are mandatory. Virtual and drive-in religious services are also allowed.

Indoor recreational fitness facilities remain closed, but outdoor recreational amenities like rinks and trails are allowed to open with restrictions. Ski hills were initially listed in the province's news release as allowed, but a government spokesperson sent out a statement saying that was a mistake, and they would not be permitted to open.

Manitoba to reopen restaurants, gyms, places of worship with limited capacity

Manitobans will be able to eat inside a restaurant, work out at the gym and worship with others beginning on Friday.

The province is easing some COVID-19 restrictions in response to low case counts following three months of near-lockdown.

The new orders will permit restaurants, tattoo parlours, gyms, nail salons and libraries to reopen at 25 per cent capacity.

The province will loosen restrictions on recreational activities beyond the ideas floated last week. 

Facilities such as rinks, gymnastics clubs and martial arts studios may reopen at 25 per cent capacity for individual instruction only. Outdoor rinks will be available for casual sports as well as organized practices and games, but no multi-team tournaments.

Museums, galleries, gyms and yoga studios also have been granted permission to reopen at 25 per cent capacity. 

Negative COVID-19 test will soon be required at land border:

Non-essential travellers entering Canada through the land border will soon need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today.

"As of Feb.15, when you return to Canada through a land border, you'll need to show a 72-hour PCR test, just like air travel."

Self-employed Canadians caught up in CERB confusion won't have to repay

The Prime Minister announced today that self-employed Canadians who applied for CERB, and who would have qualified based on their gross income, will no longer be required to repay — provided they met all the other eligibility requirements. This policy applies regardless of whether applicants accessed CERB through the Canada Revenue Agency or through Service Canada.

B.C. extending pandemic restrictions indefinitely

The current orders restricting daily life and socialization in B.C. are going to stay in place indefinitely, the province announced Friday.

The orders had been set to expire on Friday at midnight. In announcing the extension, officials said B.C has made "encouraging" progress in reducing the spread of COVID-19, but the situation isn't stable enough to allow people to start getting together again.

The orders state that, with a few small exceptions, social gatherings must be restricted to the members of your immediate household. All events are banned, along with in-person religious services, and masks must be worn in indoor public spaces.

Alberta restaurants, bars reopen for dine-in customers in next step of relaunch

Alberta restaurants can reopen today for in-person dining as part of the province's four-step plan to reopen the economy. Restaurants had been closed to in-person dining after a resurgence of COVID-19 late last year sent case numbers soaring.

Premier Jason Kenney says reduced case numbers have made it possible to ease some restrictions, but he has also criticized some restaurants for ignoring public health orders by opening their doors prematurely.

Fitness training can also resume today but only for one-on-one workouts — individual workouts without a trainer are not permitted.

Sports and entertainment-related activities can resume in schools, and the province also said over the weekend that youth will be able to take part in lessons and practices for team-based minor sports and athletics, although games are still prohibited.

Indoor gatherings are still banned and outdoor get-togethers are capped at 10.

Manitoba relaxing COVID-19 rules 

Manitobans can soon visit restaurants, gyms and places of worship again, but the province announced Tuesday it would loosen restrictions more than planned by reopening museums, galleries and some recreational activities as well.

The new orders in the entire province will reopen a sweeping range of businesses, services and activities at a strict 25 per cent capacity, beginning on Friday.

Restaurants, gyms, tattoo parlours, nail salons and libraries can all welcome people inside, starting on Friday. Places of worship also can invite their parishioners back, but with stricter capacity limits — 10 per cent or 50 people, whichever is lower.

Restrictions are being eased beyond the ideas floated last week, when the province sought public input on the proposal.

Museums, art galleries and yoga studios now have permission to open their doors under the same 25 per cent cap.

More recreational activities can go ahead. Indoor facilities may operate, including rinks, gymnastics clubs and martial arts studios, but only for one-on-one instruction. 

Organized practices and games will be permitted outdoors, as well as casual sports, but no multi-team tournaments.

The ban on indoor group training or classes now covers all athletic instruction, like yoga studios, not only gyms.

Iain Rankin will be next premier of Nova Scotia

Iain Rankin will be the next premier of Nova Scotia. Rankin was elected following a vote by Nova Scotia Liberal Party delegates. He instantly becomes leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and is now premier-designate. Stephen McNeil remains premier of the province until Rankin and his cabinet are sworn in, likely in a few weeks, although Rankin could not say for sure when he expected an event to take place.

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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.

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