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January 20, 2022

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

Ontario to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions on Jan. 31, with plan to lift most measures by mid-March

Ontario will begin easing COVID-19 public health restrictions at the end of January, the government said Thursday, with a plan to lift most remaining measures by mid-March.

January 31, 2022

Effective January 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Ontario will begin the process of gradually easing restrictions, while maintaining protective measures, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
  • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
  • Shopping malls;
  • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
  • Cinemas;
  • Meeting and event spaces;
  • Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
  • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.

Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.

February 21, 2022

Effective February 21, 2022, Ontario will lift public health measures, including:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Removing capacity limits in indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to restaurants, indoor sports and recreational facilities, cinemas, as well as other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Permitting spectator capacity at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Limiting capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres of physical distance, with no limit if proof of vaccination is required.
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.

Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.

March 14, 2022

Effective March 14, 2022, Ontario will take additional steps to ease public health measures, including:

  • Lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings. Proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures.
  • Lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
  • Increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors with no limits for outdoor gatherings.

To manage COVID-19 over the long-term, local and regional responses by public health units may be deployed based on local context and conditions.

Click here for the full release and additional details

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B.C. doubling relief funding for eligible businesses still closed due to COVID-19

In a release Wednesday, the province announced it is extending the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant and doubling financial supports for eligible businesses that were ordered on Tuesday to remain closed until Feb. 16.

These businesses include bars, nightclubs and lounges that do not serve full meals, as well as event venues that had to close because of cancellations.

To help keep these businesses afloat, owners are now eligible for up to $20,000 in total funding, based on staffing levels at the time of closure.

A business with no employees can receive $2,000, a business with between five and 99 employees can receive up to $10,000 and those with 100 or more people on staff can receive $20,000.

Businesses that have applied for a COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant do not need to reapply. To apply for a grant, click here. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 28.

In December, the grant was estimated to cost the province $10 million. The new extension adds $4 million to the price tag.

Financial support offered to P.E.I. workers, businesses impacted by COVID-19

The PEI government is launching a new COVID-19 support program for industries impacted by the latest public health restrictions.

The Wage Rebate for Impacted Industries provides a 25 per cent wage rebate on payroll for businesses of impacted industries, such as full-service restaurants and fitness centers, for the period of January 19 to 31, 2022. To review eligibility criteria and apply, visit: COVID-19 Wage Rebate for Impacted Industries. The Wage Rebate for Impacted Industries can be used in addition to Federal Government COVID-19 supports. For a list of supports, visit: COVID-19 wage and hiring support for businesses(link is external).

The COVID-19 Emergency Payment for Workers and Emergency Income for Self-Employed program have added a new eligibility period extending to January 31, 2022. Individuals who have previously applied for the programs earlier this month may be eligible to apply again. Anyone who received the Emergency Payment for Workers between December 17, 2021 – January 17, 2022, and continues to meet eligibility criteria can now reapply for the second eligibility period that includes January 18, 2022 – January 31, 2022.

The Emergency Payment for Workers program provides a $500 payment to workers and self-employed individuals who have lost income due to the public health restrictions announced since December 17, 2021 and show they have been laid off completely or had their hours reduced by at least 25 per cent. The Emergency Income for Self-Employed provides up to $300 a week for self-employed Islanders who are unable to access federal support programs.

For details on both programs and other provincial COVID-19 supports, visit: Workers and Business.

Canada's inflation rate rises to new 30-year high of 4.8%

The Consumer Price Index increased at an annual pace of 4.8 per cent in December, as sharply higher prices for food led to the cost of living going up at its fastest rate since 1991.

CPI grew at a faster pace compared with November, due in part to higher prices for food (+5.2%), passenger vehicles (+7.2%) and homeowners' home and mortgage insurance (+9.3%). Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose 4.0% year over year.

On a monthly basis, the CPI fell 0.1% in December, following a 0.2% increase in November. This was the first monthly decline since December 2020.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI was up 0.3%.

Prices rose in all eight major components on a year-over-year basis in December. Transportation and shelter prices contributed the most to the increase in the CPI.

Year over year, prices for services (+3.4%) rose at a faster pace in December compared with November (+2.9%). Prices for goods (+6.8%) grew at a slightly slower pace than in November (+6.9%), moderating the price growth in the CPI. Gasoline prices rose to a lesser extent in December (+33.3%) than in November (+43.6%), contributing to the slowdown in goods prices.

Prices for groceries continue to climb

Grocery prices continued to climb in December, rising 5.7% year over year, the largest yearly increase since November 2011. Prices for fresh fruit (+5.6%), including apples (+6.7%), oranges (+6.6%) and bananas (+2.5%), increased on a year-over-year basis. Unfavourable weather conditions in growing regions, as well as supply chain disruptions, led to higher prices for households.

In addition, prices for bakery products rose 4.7% year over year, as drought during the summer months reduced wheat crop yields, in turn raising prices for shoppers.

Prices for durable goods increase at a faster pace

On a yearly basis, prices for durable goods rose at a faster pace in December (+5.7%) than in November (+5.5%). A durable good is a product that can be used repeatedly or continuously over a period of more than one year. Consumers who purchased a new vehicle in December paid 7.2% more than those who did so in December 2020, as the global shortage of semiconductor chips continued to elevate prices.

Consumers who purchased household appliances, like refrigerators and freezers (+13.9%) and laundry and dishwashing appliances (+10.4%), paid 8.9% more in December 2021 compared with December 2020. This was the largest yearly gain since June 1982. The movement is largely attributable to an increase in demand amid global supply chain disruptions.

Homeowners pay more for home and mortgage insurance

With the recent increases in construction costs, mainly due to higher prices for building supplies, Canadian homeowners paid 9.3% more for home and mortgage insurance in December 2021 compared with December 2020. An increase in the frequency and severity of weather-related claims, such as those related to fires and flooding, may have also contributed to higher rates.

Gasoline prices increase at a slower rate year over year

Year over year, gasoline prices rose to a lesser extent in December (+33.3%) than in November (+43.6%).

On a monthly basis, Canadian drivers paid less at the pumps as gasoline prices fell 4.1%, the largest monthly decline since April 2020. The tightening of public health restrictions in response to the new Omicron variant weighed on demand for gasoline.

Prices for air transportation rise amid strong demand for air travel

Month over month, Canadians paid 24.7% more for airfare in December, after a 3.1% drop in November. Strong demand for air travel during the holiday season contributed to the monthly price increase, which was similar to the movement in December 2019 (+23.4%), before the pandemic.

Regional highlights

Year over year, prices rose at a faster pace in December than in November in four provinces. The increase in Alberta (+4.8%) was largely attributable to higher prices for natural gas (+35.5%) and electricity (+33.8%). Ontarians paid more for household appliances (+11.8%), contributing to the price growth in Ontario (+5.2%) in December.

Click here for the full report from Statistics Canada

Quebec will not be easing public health measures

Premier François Legault said Thursday it's still too early to ease restrictions imposed during this fifth wave of the pandemic. 

"For the moment, we can't afford to lift public health measures," he said. Doing so would pose a significant risk of once again increasing transmission and hospitalizations, "which we can't do," he said.

The premier said Quebec's health-care network remains too fragile, with 12,000 health workers still absent from their jobs. 

GRANT: Ontario’s Small Business Health and Safety Training Program (SBHSTP)

Ontario’s Small Business Health and Safety Training Program will reimburse eligible employers for health and safety representative training for a selected employee in an Ontario workplace. The program will cover the course registration cost of $25 for the representative and $150 toward the cost of the representative’s training time, for a total reimbursement of $175.

Click here for more details and to apply


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

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