The federal government of Canada has taken certain broad and extraordinary measures already (which will be discussed later in context) to help stop the spread of COVID-19, support businesses and individuals, as well as the economy,
Here is a timeline and overview of other measures taken:
On March 11, 2020, the Canadian government announced a $1-billion package to help Canadians cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, with half of the money going to the provinces and territories. The package includes $275 million for additional research, such as vaccine development, and $200 million for federal medical supplies, supports for Indigenous communities and education efforts.
The federal government will waive the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance to assist workers and businesses affected by the novel coronavirus, and explore other measures to support affected Canadians, including income supports for those who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.
The federal government is also enhancing the Work-Sharing program to support employers and their employees who experience a downturn due to COVID-19 by extending the period during which the program can be used from 38 weeks to 76 weeks.
Other elements of the COVID-19 response package includes:
- $500 million for provinces and territories to fund critical healthcare system needs and to support mitigation efforts, including access to testing, equipment and enhanced surveillance and monitoring.
- $50 million for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 communications and public education efforts.
- $100 million to support federal public health measures such as enhanced surveillance and increased testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory.
- An additional $50 million to help vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to the virus, supporting efforts of the World Health Organization and other partners.
As of March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has requested Canadians avoid any travel outside of Canada.
In addition, on March 13, 2020, the federal government announced it is planning to increase screening measures at the airports and borders and asking Canadians to avoid travel outside of Canada. Canadians should cancel all non-essential overseas travel.
A small number of Canadian airports will be allowed to accept international flights.
The cruise ship season is being put on hold. Also, cruise ships with over 500 people cannot stop in Canada.
As of March 16, 2020, anyone, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who exhibit symptoms abroad will be restricted from returning to Canada.
Persons returning to Canada from international travel travelling have been requested to self-isolate on their return for 14 days.
On March 18, 2020, Canada and the United States will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the Canada-US border. Employees crossing the border to do “essential” work or for other “urgent reasons” will not be impacted. Supply chains including trucking will not be affected by this new measure.
The Government of Canada has also has posted active travel health notices for non-essential travel to areas of China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Spain due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
There were no new legislative announcements from the federal government on March 19, 2020. However, Prime Minister Trudeau made the following remarks in his now-daily press conference:
- the Canada-US border restrictions for non-essential travel are expected to come into force sometime overnight between Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21, 2020;
- social distancing measures could continue for weeks or months; and,
- the federal government is working to assist Canadians abroad to return home, including by providing financial assistance, and sending text messages about consular services to Canadians overseas.
Parliament is expected to be recalled next week for a brief sitting to pass emergency legislation in response to COVID-19. However, in keeping with the practice of social distancing, not all Members of Parliament will return.
On March 20, 2020, daily press briefing, the Government of Canada is taking immediate and significant action to support Canadian individuals and businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the economic impacts of the global COVID-19 outbreak. See section 5 federal and provincial corporate and tax measures below.
On March 20, 2020, Canada’s shared border with the United States officially closed to non-essential travel as part of a mutual effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, aircrew members and supply chains, including:
- Temporary foreign workers;
- Seasonal agricultural workers;
- Fish and seafood workers;
- Live-in caregivers;
- Foreign students (with approved or valid study permit);
- Applicants for permanent residence for whom the application for permanent residence has been approved.
will be permitted to cross. The movements of the people listed above will, therefore, be considered essential movements, in view of the new border crossing restrictions.
Anyone attempting to cross the border for tourism or recreational reasons will be turned away. The measure will be in place for 30 days.
All travellers coming from abroad will have to submit to medical verification protocols before travelling and they will have to isolate themselves during the 14 days following their arrival in Canada.
Notice to the Agricultural sector: Companies will be responsible for enforcing the 14-day isolation period among seasonal agricultural workers who will join their business in the coming weeks. The two-week recruitment period required in the agriculture and food processing sectors will be cancelled for the next six months. This is a temporary measure that will reduce the processing times for this type of request. The maximum allowable duration of employment will be reduced from one to two years.
On March 23, 2020, the federal government stated that there is no tolerance for those flouting orders to socially distance from others in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. If Canadians do not get the message and stay home, the government could act to force them.
The warning comes as provinces and territories over the weekend threatened to roll out fines and potentially even criminal enforcement measures, like arrests, in order to enforce social distancing. The Prime Minister of Canada said he will be speaking with premiers from across the country on Monday evening to discuss how they can coordinate cracking down on those ignoring social distancing.
In addition, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the House of Commons will reconvene on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, to pass legislation to support Canadians impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak. This will include an $82-billion aid package.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is spending $192 million on developing and producing vaccines for the novel coronavirus. He says being prepared to mass produce a vaccine, no matter who creates it, will be essential for suppressing COVID-19 in Canada in the long run.
Trudeau also said the government is working closely with provinces and territories in the fight against COVID-19 but that Canada is not yet at the point where the Emergencies Act needs to be invoked.
On March 24, 2020, the House of Commons reconvened at 12 p.m. in order to pass emergency legislation to help fight COVID-19. This will allow the government to “put their plan into motion,” including up to $82 billion in support for families, workers and businesses impacted by the pandemic. According to House of Commons procedure rules, there must be a minimum of 20 MPs in the House for business to proceed. The session is expected to last around 4.5 hours and will include time for members to ask questions.
On March 25, 2020, the federal government ‘announced the passing of the $82 billion aid package and for a period of six months by the House of Commons. Bill C-13, An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 was approved by the Senate and received Royal Assent the same day.
In the Bill, to support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government will establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB will be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
The CERB will cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB will apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who will not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, will also qualify for the CERB. This will help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.
The aids package also introduced into the Canada Labour Code with a job-protected leave of absence for up to 16 weeks related to COVID-19. The COVID-19 leave is in place until October 1, 2020. A new 16-week quarantine leave is to be added to the Canada Labour Code also, effective October 1, 2020.
For more information on these employment/labour law related measures, see the Employment/labour standards and HR management section and the Corporate and individual tax measures and other matters section (we are currently updating these sections.)
On March 26, 2020, the federal government will be closing in person Service Canada Centres. Canadians will still be able to access their benefits. The best way to apply remains online at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Employees at Service Canada sites will turn their attention to serving Canadians over the phone.
In addition, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services outlined the details of the $305 million for the new distinctions-based Indigenous Community. More can be read here.
On March 27, 2020, the Bank of Canada reduced the interest rates to 0.25 percent. In a statement on its website, the central bank says its decision to lower rates is aimed at cushioning the economic shocks from COVID-19 and a sharp drop in oil prices by easing the cost of borrowing.
The federal government is in talks with banks to find ways to alleviate the burden of credit-card interest rates for Canadians facing financial stresses caused by COVID-19.
Effective April 1, 2020, the federal government added to the 10 percent wage subsidy, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75%) retroactive to March 15, 2020. More details on these measures are available on our blog FRTalks.
Furthermore, the federal government is launching a special emergency business account for small businesses that will see banks offer $40,000 government-guaranteed loans interest-free for the first year. If certain conditions are met, the first $10,000 will be forgiven.
As well, an additional $12.5 billion is being made available through federal programs, to help with “operational cash flow requirements,” and HST and GST payments are being deferred until June, giving businesses more time to make their payments.
The prime minister said he hopes these measures will allow employers to retain staff through this global pandemic, and help keep businesses afloat.
On April 1, 2020, during the daily press brief, the federal government indicated that additional details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be released later on April 1, 2020. The details were released, see our blog post on this development on FRtalks.
Also, on April 1, 2020, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, along with the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that Canadians will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as of April 6th at Canada.ca/coronavirus. The CERB is being jointly administered by Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency.
All eligible workers, whether or not they are eligible for Employment Insurance, will apply through a simplified application process. Applications will be accepted starting April 6, 2020. There is no waiting period and direct deposit payments will be delivered into accounts within three business days of applicants being eligible to receive it, and cheques within 10 days.
April 2, 2020: Public Safety Canada developed a set of functions deemed essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to help provinces/territories, Indigenous communities, and municipalities protect their communities while maintaining the reliable operation of critical infrastructure services and functions to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of the population. The guidance is not, nor should it be considered to be a federal directive or standard. Further information on Public Safety Canada’s guidance on essential services and functions in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
April 3, 2020: The Canadian Armed Forces will be dispatched to Nunavik in northern Québec to support the community during a regional lockdown.
In addition, the Government of Canada partnered with Amazon Canada for the distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies.
April 5, 2020: The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced new measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on commercial passenger vessels and ferries. The measures can be viewed here.
On April 6, 2020, the Government of Canada released additional details on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), applications for which begin on April 6, 2020.
In order to handle the expected volume of applications, the government is staggering the days workers can apply based on their month of birth. Applicants born in January, February or March can apply on Mondays starting April 6, 2020. Applicants born in April, May or June can apply on Tuesdays starting April 7, 2020. Applicants born in July, August or September can apply on Wednesdays starting April 8, 2020, and applicants born in October, November or December can apply on Thursdays starting April 9, 2020. Applicants can also apply, regardless of their month of birth, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Those who sign up to receive the CERB by direct deposit should receive the first CERB payment within 3-5 days of their application. For those who choose to receive the benefit by mail, payment should be received within 10 days of their application.
Important note: Workers must re-apply and confirm their eligibility for the CERB every 4 weeks. The maximum CERB entitlement is up to 16 weeks. Details on when and how to apply for the CERB are available here.
The Minister of Seniors announced the New Horizons for Seniors Program allowing for the reallocation of funding previously received by organizations to go towards COVID-19 supports.
The Canada Border Services Agency has temporarily changed the regulations for driving U.S.-plated vehicles in Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency will facilitate entry for residents driving U.S.-plated vehicles by permitting the temporary import of U.S. vehicles without paying duties and taxes for up to 60 days from the date of importation in accordance with the Temporary Importation of Conveyances by Residents of Canada.
On April 7, 2020, daily press conference, the Prime Minister said the government is looking into other measures to help both businesses and individuals including ways to assist individuals who are working reduced hours as a result of the pandemic and those who are still working but are making less than they would if collecting the CERB.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that legislative amendments must still be tabled to include the 75 percent wage subsidy and other measures into law.
In the April 8, 2020, daily press briefing the Prime Minister announced more changes and clarification to the wage subsidies program. As a reminder, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is to help businesses retain employees during COVID-19. Employers will now only have to show that they have experienced a 15% reduction in revenue in March 2020 to claim the subsidy (instead of a 30% reduction), and indicated that employers can also choose to use an average of revenue for January 2020 and February 2020 to compare to their revenue for March, April and May 2020, instead of the equivalent month from 2019, among other changes.
The government also noted that it will offer additional flexibility for the revenue loss calculation to registered charities and non-profit organizations. As well, the government announced that employers eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be entitled to receive a 100% refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. The legislation to enact the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is not yet publicly available, but it is expected soon. More information will come later, on this page, when legislation is tabled. In the meantime, information can be found here.
The Prime Minister also announced that a wage subsidy under the Canada Summer Job Program would increase to 100 percent to help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to jobs in the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors.
April 8, 2020: The Government of Canada announced that it will invest $3 million in several organizations through the Digital Citizen Initiative’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program to help combat false and misleading COVID-19 information as well as the racism and stigmatization that are often the result.
April 9, 2020: Prime Minister Trudeau announced that more than 4.5 million applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit had been processed since the application system opened on April 6, 2020.
April 10, 2020: The Government of Canada established the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group to ensure that the interests and needs of persons with a disability are being taken into account in response measures to COVID-19.
April 11, 2020: On April 11, 2020, the federal government enacted legislation confirming how the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will work. More information can be found here.
The Public Health Agency of Canada released its national COVID-19 projections. Prime Minister Trudeau explained that these projections anticipate that Canada may reach the initial peak of the pandemic curve by late spring, with the end of the first wave in the summer, and smaller outbreaks to follow after that.
April 13, 2020: The Government of Canada granted an exemption for temporary foreign workers from the travel restrictions to Canada, along with other foreigners with student and work visas, provided they adhere to a strict 14-day isolation protocol upon arrival. The federal government will provide $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not violating the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order.
April 14, 2020: The Government of Canada ordered that travellers arriving in Canada cannot isolate or quarantine in a place where they would be in contact with people who are vulnerable. Upon arrival, travellers must confirm they have a suitable place to isolate or quarantine. If they cannot do so, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a place.
In addition, Regulatory amendments to the Contraventions Act came into force. These amendments allow law enforcement agencies to ticket individuals who do not comply with the federal Quarantine Act. Offences may result in fines ranging from $275 to $1000, or criminal proceedings.
April 15, 2020: During his daily briefing, the Prime Minister announced that the government will be expanding access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) and will be offering wage support to low-income essential workers. To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government will be changing the eligibility rules. More information can be found here.
Further, in order to assist essential workers who are making a salary that is less than or similar to what they would receive from the CERB, the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up for the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19 and who make less than $2,500 a month. Details as to the application and delivery of this measure will be released shortly. While the government has not yet confirmed which employees will be deemed essential for the purposes of this wage boost, the government’s backgrounder specifically mentions workers who are “front-line in hospitals and nursing homes, those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail services to Canadians.” Quebec and British Columbia have already implemented direct wage support for low-income workers in the essential service sectors; therefore, the federal government will be sharing the cost of this wage support with these provinces through the new transfer.
In addition, Canada Border Services Agency reduced service hours at 27 Canadian land border locations. Parks Canada extended the suspension of camping reservations and events until May 31, 2020, at the earliest.
The Canadian Minister of Health launched the Wellness Together Canada portal to connect Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls. This is also intended to make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues. More information can be found here.
On April 16, 2020, the federal government announced that in light of the current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and around the world, our government has decided to celebrate Canada Day differently this year, in a way that will allow us to come together virtually to share our pride in being Canadian.
For Canada Day 2020, the government is working with Canadian artists and artisans to put together a virtual program, reflecting Canada’s diversity and values, and showcasing the immense talent the country has to offer. On July 1, Canadians will be able to tune into virtual Canada Day celebrations.
Starting April 17, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) liaison and reconnaissance elements will be dispatched to Quebec to gather information in support to the upcoming deployment of CAF medical personnel and resources to help ease the ongoing situation in long-term care facilities (LTCF). This is in response to the most recent request for assistance that CAF has received from Quebec. These teams, known as Augmented Civilian Care (ACC) Teams, will be comprised of nursing officers, medical technicians and support personnel. They will assist local doctors and nurses by providing civilian patient management, including the medical care of those in LTCF, assist in the coordination of nursing and logistical requirements as well as with the delivery of federally or provincially-sourced essential protective equipment to those working in LTCFs.
On April 17, 2020, the federal Minister of Transport announced new measures requiring all air passengers to have a removable, non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel. Non-medical masks or face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face, be secured with ties or ear loops and cover your mouth and nose. It should be easy to put on and take off when necessary (e.g., identity verification check).
Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering over the mouth and nose can help reduce the inadvertent spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets spread by asymptomatic people. Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering has not been proven to protect the person wearing it; however, it is an important additional measure that all travellers can take to protect those around them, even if they have no symptoms. Passengers can meet these requirements by following the information that Public Health Agency of Canada has published on how to wear, and if necessary make at home, a non-medical mask or face covering.
On April 17, 2020, the federal government has launched the Small Business and Community Support Measures. The government will provide $675 million to support Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs)’s work, and the businesses and workers they help. This will enable the RDAs to provide equivalent bridge financing support to businesses unable to access the government’s broader support measures.
In response to the effect that COVID-19 may have on rural communities and businesses, the government is also providing $287 million for the Community Futures Network, funded through the RDAs, to support rural businesses and communities, including through access to capital.
The new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will provide $500 million to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors. The fund will be administered by Canadian Heritage via contribution agreements.
Support will be provided in a manner consistent with other COVID-19 supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
To support ongoing lending to young entrepreneurs, the government is also injecting $20.1 million through Futurpreneur Canada and $250 million to the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
To support Canadians working in the energy sector through these challenges the government will take new targeted actions totalling more than $2 billion to create and protect jobs and important environmental benefits, as well as make available new tailored credit solutions for small and medium-sized companies in the sector. The targeted actions are expected to retain and create approximately 10,000 well-paying jobs in the sector.
The Government of Canada will also provide funding to sustain jobs in the energy sector while cleaning up the environment. This includes:
- Up to $1 billion to the Government of Alberta to support the province’s work to clean up inactive oil and gas wells across the province;
- Up to $400 million to the Government of Saskatchewan to support work to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells across the province;
- Up to $120 million to the Government of British Columbia to support work to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells across the province; and
- $200 million to the Alberta Orphan Wells Association (OWA) to support its work to clean up orphan oil and gas wells and well sites across Alberta. The OWA will fully repay this amount.
$750 million is allocated to Natural Resources Canada over two years, starting in 2020-21, to create a new repayable loan program to work with conventional and offshore oil and gas companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Of this amount, $75 million will be allocated to investments in the offshore sector. A portion of these loans will be convertible to grants.
In the near term, additional broad-based credit solutions will be made available for small and medium-sized firms in other sectors, such as forestry, retail and others, whose financing needs are similarly larger than the current solutions available under the BCAP.
On April 21, 2020, the federal government announced that applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will start on Monday, April 27, 2020. They are also providing you with a tool to help you calculated how much you are able to obtain. For more information see What are the wages subsidies program the federal government has implemented to curb temporarily layoffs? under Employment/labour standards and HR management.
Further, the government announced an investment of $35-million to support charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to rapidly distribute the funds to local organizations.
On April 22, 2020, the federal government announced the creation of the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. This part of a $9 billion package of new measures aimed at helping young people. College and university students currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019 are eligible. Student who are also resuming studies from a break are eligible. Working students earning less than $1,000 per month can also apply.
Postsecondary students who have seen their education and job prospects hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for the CESB by receiving $1,250 a month from May to August, and if the student is taking care of someone else or has a disability, that amount increases to $1,750 monthly.
The federal government said the benefit will require additional legislation and talks are now underway about how quickly a bill to implement this new program can be brought forward.
The Canada Revenue Agency will handle payments for the program.
The government also said other measures are on their way which includes:
- Creating an additional 76,000 jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand right now, or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic;
- Investing more than $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants for three or four months;
- Launching a new Canada Student Service Grant of between $1,000 and $5,000 for students volunteering in the COVID-19 fight;
- Providing more than $75 million to specifically increase support for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation students; and
- Doubling the student grants that the government gives out for the 2020-21 school year.
- The government announced that these programs will be coordinated with the provinces and territories that will not be using the federal programs.
April 22, 2020: The Government of Canada removed the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.
On April 24, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (“CECRA”) program for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for eligible small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.
On April 25, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $62.5-million in funding to support fish and seafood processors so that they can purchase personal protective equipment for workers, adapt to health protocols, and support other social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 27, 2020, applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”) opened as previously announced. Employers can now submit a claim for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency. Employers are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit to receive any CEWS payment as soon as possible. The first payments should begin to arrive on May 7, 2020. The Prime Minister stated that almost 10,000 businesses had already applied for the CEWS in the first few hours that applications were open.
The Prime Minister also reminded Canadians that they will not be able to receive both the CEWS and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (the “CERB”). Employees can receive either CEWS subsidized income from their employer or the CERB, but not both.
On April 27, 2020, applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”) opened as previously announced. Employers can now submit a claim for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency at this link. Employers are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit to receive any CEWS payment as soon as possible. The first payments should begin to arrive on May 7, 2020. The Prime Minister stated that almost 10,000 businesses had already applied for the CEWS in the first few hours that applications were open.
The Prime Minister also reminded Canadians that they will not be able to receive both the CEWS and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (the “CERB”). Employees can receive either CEWS subsidized income from their employer or the CERB, but not both.
On April 28, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the federal, provincial, and territorial governments have agreed to a set of common principles for gradually restarting the Canadian economy. More on the framework can be found under Governments re-opening plan and workplace issues to think of.
On April 29, 2020, Parliament convened to debate the legislation required for the government’s previously announced emergency support measures for students, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
The legislation was passed by the House of Commons late yesterday. The Senate will convene tomorrow (May 1, 2020) to finalize the Bill.
- those earning up to $1,000 per month;
- seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak; and
- workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
The expanded eligibility is retroactive to March 15, 2020.
The Senate is expected to consider Bill C-15, An Act respecting Canada emergency student benefits (coronavirus disease 2019) on Friday, May 1, 2020. The legislation, which was passed by the House of Commons late in the evening of April 29, 2020, is required to implement the government’s previously-announced Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
On May 1, 2020, the Senate convened to consider Bill C-15: An Act respecting Canada emergency student benefits (coronavirus disease 2019), the legislation required to implement the government’s financial assistance measures for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. And the Bill received royal assent and is now law. Under the CESB, eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates will receive $1,250 a month from May to August 2020, while those with dependents or disabilities will receive $2,000 per month (an increase from the originally announced $1,750). Applications for the benefit are expected to be available by mid-May 2020.
During the weekend of May 2 to 3, 2020, the Prime Minister announced an investment of $240.5-million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians. This investment will be used to create digital platforms and applications, improve access to virtual mental health supports, and expand capacity to deliver health care virtually.
On May 5, 2020, the Prime Minister announced an aid package of more than $252-million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors, including:
- more than $77-million for food processors to adapt hygiene and health protocols, purchase more personal protective equipment, maintain physical distancing measures, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19; and
- a $50-million Surplus Food Purchase Program, to allow the government to bulk buy certain perishable products and redistribute them to organization addressing food insecurity.
On May 6, 2020, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal published a Practice Direction for Electronic Conduct of Mediations and Hearings During the COVID-19 Emergency confirming new processes for electronic filings, mediations and hearings as a result of COVID-19.
On May 7, 2020, the federal government announced an agreement with all provinces and territories to share the cost of wage top-ups for essential workers. The federal government will provide up to $3-billion for this new benefit, and the provinces and territories will contribute up to $1-billion. Each provincial and territorial government will determine the eligibility criteria for essential workers and how the benefit will be distributed in their respective jurisdictions.
On May 8, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended beyond June 2020. The government has not confirmed how much longer the subsidy will be available to employers. Details are pending. The Prime Minister reported that since the CEWS launched on April 27, 2020, employers have applied for subsidies for almost 2 million workers.
Trudeau also announced the creation of the Industry Strategy Council, chaired by prominent finance leader Monique Leroux (with other members who are also senior business leaders to be named “in the near future”). The advisory board will meet regularly over the next 90 days to assess the scope and depth of COVID-19’s impact on various industries, with the aim of advising the federal government about specific pressures in different sectors.
Trudeau said the council will build on partnerships between government and industry in Ottawa’s existing “Economic Strategy Tables.”
Given the specific pressures of the pandemic, the government said it is adding two new discussion tables to represent the retail and transportation sectors to the existing tables, which are chaired by industry leaders in: advanced manufacturing; agri-food; clean technology; digital industries; health and biosciences; resources of the future; and tourism and hospitality.
Trudeau said the new Industry Strategy Council “will take a deeper dive into how the pandemic is affecting specific sectors and how to best support them. … This will be a dedicated forum for industry and government to come together on tackling the effects of COVID-19 and it builds on what we’ve already done for workers in everything from energy to agriculture.”
The government also unveiled on May 8 details about how it is rolling out its $500-million aid package for arts, culture and amateur sport that was announced April 17.
“This investment will help people access wage support and help organizations access funding,” Trudeau said.
The government said in background documents that it will distribute the fund in two phases, with the moneys to be divided among certain government departmental programs agencies, “as well as key delivery organizations.”
Up to $326.8 million will be distributed by Canadian Heritage, of which:
- $198.3 million will go to the beneficiaries of arts and culture funding via existing programs, as well as to other organizations with “demonstrated needs”;
- $72 million will go to the sport sector;
- $53 million will go to the heritage sector, via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program; and,
- $3.5 million will be provided for COVID-19-related projects under the “digital citizen initiative.”
- $55 million will be distributed by the Canada Council for the Arts to help arts organizations that support artists;
- $115.8 million will go to support the Canadian audiovisual sector, to be distributed by the Canada Media Fund ($88.8 million) and Telefilm Canada ($27 million).
The use of the remaining funds will be assessed based on needs, the government said.
The government noted that a streamlined process has been created that should minimize the application burden. However, in order to receive support, eligible organizations will be required to attest, at minimum, that they:
- Are in need of funding to ensure the continuity of their operations and to safeguard jobs;
- Remain in operation at the time of application and plan to continue contributing to their sector in the future;
- Are not receiving funding from multiple sources to cover the same costs (e.g., Canada Emergency Response Benefit, CEWS, Canada Emergency Business Account, and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Businesses); and,
- Will use the money (where relevant) to support workers, such as people who are self-employed and freelance workers, artists, and creators.
On May 11, 2020, the federal government announced new measures to support businesses impacted by COVID-19, by expanding the Business Credit Availability Program to mid-sized companies with significant financing needs and establishing a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (“LEEFF”) to provide bridge financing to eligible large employers whose needs are not being met through conventional financing mechanisms. More can be found under Corporate and individual tax measures and other matters.
On May 13, 2020, the federal government announced a temporary policy that a temporary foreign worker already in Canada who has secured a new job will not need to wait until their work permit application has been fully processed before starting that job. The government expects this will temporarily decrease the wait time from 10 weeks or more to 10 days or less.
Also a date to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit has been announced and more information on the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund provided. See Corporate and individual tax measures and other matters for more details.
On May 14, 2020, the Prime Minister announced up to $469.4-million in new measures to support certain fish harvesters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government also announced the launch of a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund, backed by Farm Credit Canada. The fund is to support a wide range of enterprises in the agribusiness and agri-food sector, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution.
On May 15, 2020, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment will:
- Provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes, so they can retain research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. This would apply even if their work has been temporarily suspended. The government will provide up to 75 percent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week.
- Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are lifted. This will cover up to 75 percent of total eligible costs, and will support activities such as the safe storage of dangerous substances, and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic.
This investment is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also says the 75 percent federal wage subsidy program is being expanded by three months, to the end of August. He said that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will have more to say about coming expansions to the eligibility criteria.
On May 15, 2020, the federal government announced that the 75 percent federal wage subsidy program will be extended for another 3 months to August 29, 2020, and substantial changes will occur. See Employment/labour standards and HR management for more information.
On May 19, 2020, the federal government announced the extension of the closure of the Canada-US border for a 30 day period. Moreover, an agreement has been reached between Canada and the United States to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel for another month. He is cautioning that it could be months still before non-essential travel is allowed. This is the second time the agreement has been extended, after first being imposed in March, with the current extension on border restrictions set to expire May 21.
The extension on the existing agreement means that the border restrictions will stay in place until June 21, even as parts of both countries begin gradually reopening. The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also says that the government is once again expanding the eligibility for emergency business loans, and has entered into new agreements to expand domestic production of emergency medical supplies needed in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
The government has been offering companies government-guaranteed loans of up to $40,000 to cover the costs of keeping their enterprises afloat during the COVID-19 crisis, and now, with more businesses pushing towards reopening, the prime minister said additional types of businesses will now qualify. “If you are the sole owner-operator of a business, if your business relies on contractors, or if you have a family-owned business and you pay employees though dividends, you will now qualify,” Trudeau said. The prime minister said that to date more than 600,000 businesses have taken up the government’s offer of these loans, but that he knows more business owners could use the help.
Trudeau said that over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment will be delivered to provinces and territories, as demand increases with more and more aspects of society beginning to reopen.
On May 20, 2020, the federal government announced proposed legislative changes to suspend certain time limits, including those regarding temporary lay-offs under the Canada Labour Code (section 30 of the Canada Labour Standards Regulations). The draft legislative proposals will be online for 10 days. Employers are invited to share their comments with the government.
The federal government also announced that applications and updated criteria for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses are now available, and that the program will be opened for applications on May 25, 2020.
On May 22, 2020, the federal government announced a new online tool, “Find financial help during COVID-19”, to help individuals and businesses determine which government benefits programs best meet their needs.
During the Monday, May 25, 2020, daily press briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the federal government is in talks with the provinces and territories about ensuring every worker across Canada has 10 days of paid sick leave so that they won’t be financially pressured to leave home for work when they know or suspect that they have COVID-19 or any other type of infectious diseases like the flu.
The Prime Minister also announced that applications are now open for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses and is encouraging landlords and tenants across Canada to apply.
The federal government also started a consultation on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The consultation opened on May 25, 2020 and will close to input on June 5, 2020. This consultation will help inform potential changes to the CEWS to help maximize employment and best meet the needs of businesses and workers during these challenging times. More information can be found here.
On May 26, 2020, the federal government announced an additional $9.2-million fund for the Youth Employment and Skills Program (“YESP”) to fund up to 700 new positions for youth (ages 15 to 30) in the agriculture industry. Eligible employers include producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations, and research facilities. Employers may apply for this funding retroactive to April 1, 2020, with projects to be completed by March 31, 2021.
On May 27, 2020: The federal Minister of Health authorized certain changes for clinical trials related to COVID-19 in order to accelerate efforts and create a more flexible process.
On May 28, 2020, the federal government published additional details on its Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) consultations. The government is seeking information and feedback from businesses, labour representatives, not-for-profits, and charities on eight questions. For more see What are the wages subsidies program the federal government has implemented to curb temporarily layoffs, CEWS etc.? (Updated May 28, 2020) on this page. Comments must be submitted by June 5, 2020.
The Government of Canada also announced that cruise ships with the capability of providing overnight accommodations to 100 or more people are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020 and that passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations starting July 1, 2020.
On May 29, 2020, the federal government announced that the Solvency Special Payment Relief Regulations, 2020are now in force. The Regulations provide temporary relief for federally regulated defined benefit pension plan sponsors in the form of a moratorium on solvency special payments from May 27 until December 30, 2020. The regulations also provide accommodations for solvency special payments made since April 1, 2020. More information is available here.
On June 2, 2020, the federal government announced a call for proposals under the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) small projects component. The EAF provides funding for projects that make Canadian communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. The application process has been streamlined, and flat rates have been introduced to reduce the burden on applicants and expedite the process. Applications are due by July 13, 2020.
On June 3, 2020, Transport Canada announced expanded requirements for the use of face coverings in the transportation sector. These measures will be implemented through a combination of mandatory orders and guidance, across the aviation, marine, rail, and road transportation fields.
On June 5, 2020, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a National Workplace Accessibility Stream through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (the Opportunities Fund), among other COVID-19 supports for Canadians with disabilities. The Opportunities Fund will provide community organizations with resources to improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs, including helping employers set up accessible and effective work-from-home arrangements.
On June 8, 2020, the federal government announced an exemption to the US-Canada border closure effective at 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. Foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or who do not have reason to believe they have COVID-19, will be permitted to enter Canada if they are entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.
On June 9, 2020, the federal government announced it has signed a contract with GL Chemtec in Oakville to ensure the supply of chemical products that are essential to testing.
The federal government has also signed two new contracts to make sure our frontline workers can continue to do their jobs safely.
Joseph Ribkoff, a clothing manufacturer based out of Dorval, will be providing us with 1.2 million made-in-Canada medical gowns, with deliveries starting in July.
And the Stevens Company, a medical supply distributor in Brampton, will be supplying 15 million shoe covers as well as 5 million disinfectant wipes, all made in Canada.
The prime minister confirmed that his government is till working on making CERB payments more flexible, while making sure that those who knowingly and wrongfully claim the CERB face consequences.
The federal government also reminded businesses the launch of a hotline service to help entrepreneurs and small business owners, including not-for-profit organizations and charities, navigate these uncertain times. People with pressing financial needs can now call 1-866-989-1080 to speak with an accountant or a business advisor.
On June 10, 2020, the federal government introduced Bill C-17 in the House of Commons. If enacted, the legislation would among other things:
- create Ministerial powers to suspend certain time limits, including the time limits for temporary layoffs under the Canada Labour Code;
- change the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program by creating a second baseline remuneration period, meant to capture seasonal employees and those employees who did not have remuneration between January and March 2020 (i.e. those who were on an unpaid leave);
- suspend certain Federal Court time limits;
- amend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB): are no longer entitled to the CERB if they don’t return to work when recalled); and to create penalties for accessing the CERB on false or misleading pretences, or knowingly receiving the CERB when ineligible, up to a fine of $5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.
As there was no opposition party support to “fast track” Bill C-17, it will be going through the normal process and changes may be delayed. That said, the government has said they will find other platforms to implement certain of the changes such as amending regulations.
On June 10, 2020, the Canada Revenu Agency sent out a press release that the Government is introducing regulations to maintain the same Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) eligibility criteria. The press release stated that the Government of Canada has recently completed consultations with business and labour representatives on potential adjustments to the CEWS program to continue to protect jobs and promote growth, including the 30 percent revenue decline threshold. The key objectives of any potential changes will be to maximize employment, to ensure that the CEWS reflects the immediate needs of businesses and to support the post-crisis economic recovery. Any potential changes would commence as of periods 5 (July 5 to August 1) and/or 6 (August 2 to August 29). Further details on this will be forthcoming.
On June 12, 2020, the government announced that temperature screening is now required for all air passengers flying within or to Canada. Temperature screening will be introduced through a phased approach. The three phases are aimed at arriving international travellers, and departures from Canadian airports which serve the vast majority of air travellers in Canada. In addition, all employees and personnel that enter or work in restricted areas of applicable airports, and are screened through a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority point, will be subject to temperature screening. More information is available here.
The government also announced a $77.5-million Emergency Processing Fund for food producers, processors, and manufacturers, with two stated objectives:
- “Emergency COVID Response” to assist companies to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers. This funding will assist with:
- plant retrofits or adjustments to existing operations to accommodate changes to processes and production; and
- increasing capacity for herd management.
- “Strategic Investments” to assist companies to improve, automate, and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity.
Eligible applicants include for-profit organizations, cooperatives, and indigenous groups. Information on the application process is available here.
On June 15, 2020, the federal government announced that as of June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted for the Canada Emergency Business Account under expanded eligibility rules.
On June 16, 2020, the federal government announced that it will be extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) eligibility period by eight weeks for recipients who can’t yet go back to work, as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Making the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks. This means those who will soon run out will have until the end of the summer to keep claiming the benefit while they try to find work.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced the Canada-US border restrictions are being extended for another 30 days. The restrictions will now be in place until at least July 21st.
On June 18, 2020, the federal government announced that starting July 2, 2020, it plans to roll out for testing a “completely voluntary, anonymous and secure” mobile contact tracing application for COVID-19 that will also be offered to everyone across the country. Note that buy-in from the other provinces and territories must still be obtained to make the app fully operational nationally.
The app called “COVID Alert” was developed using open-source code, in co-operation with Shopify, BlackBerry and the province of Ontario Digital Service. Since Ontario was part of its development, they have already partnered with the federal government to launch the app in the province on July 2nd. The purpose of the COVID Alert is to help better track people who may have been exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days. The intellectual property for the app will be owned by the federal government.
The app is meant to supplement contact tracing efforts already in place by public health authorities. The aim is to reduce the amount of time it takes to notify all the people who have been potentially exposed to a positive case of COVID-19.
On June 22, 2020, the federal government published new pandemic-related guidance and information on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website.
On June 23, 2020, the government announced changes to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations which temporarily extend the permitted temporary layoff period for federally regulated employees laid off due to the pandemic. According to a government press release, the amendments temporarily extend these time periods by up to 6 months. More information can be read under Employment/labour standards and HR management.
On June 25, 2020, the federal government announced the Canada Student Service Grant (“CSSG”) to support post-secondary students and recent graduates as they volunteer in response to COVID-19. The CSSG will provide these volunteers with a one-time payment of between $1,000 and $5,000 based on the number of hours they serve.
The government also announced additional support for students, as well as new opportunities to gain paid work experience, including the creation of new job placements and internships.
On June 30, 2020, the government announced that travel restrictions at Canadian international border crossings will remain in place until at least July 21, 2020. All travel of an optional or discretionary nature, including tourism, recreation, and entertainment, is covered by these measures across all ports of entry and all modes of transportation, including land, marine, air, and rail.
On July 2, 2020, the federal government announced proposed amendments to the Income Tax Regulations related to employers who sponsor a Registered Pension Plan (“RPP”) or salary deferral leave plan for their employees. According to the government press release, the draft regulations provide temporary relief from various registration rules and other conditions that must be complied with under the Income Tax Regulations.
On July 8, 2020, Service Canada announced the gradual and safe reopening of in-person locations across the country.
In addition, Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented an economic and fiscal snapshot. Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes more than $230 billion in measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians and provide direct support to Canadians, businesses and other employers, and up to $85 billion in tax and customs duty payment deferrals to meet liquidity needs of businesses and Canadian families.
On July 9, 2020, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontagne, the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Pierre Dufour, as well as the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, are announcing that the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec will join forces to financially support Quebec fish farmers in the exceptional context created by COVID-19.
The financial contribution from the Quebec government and the federal government is in the order of $408,000 and $612,000 respectively. This financial support will therefore make it possible to minimize the fish mortalities related to surpluses and to limit financial losses by supporting the stocking of public water bodies.
On July 10, 2020, the federal government announced $30-million in funding to offset the costs of COVID-19 safety measures for small and medium-sized enterprises in the forest sector, including tree planting operations. Subsidized measures may include sanitizing stations, additional accommodations and/or transportation, facilities and services to maintain social distancing, and personal protective equipment.
On July 13, 2020, the federal government announced an intention to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until December 2020. More details on the extension are expected this week. Read more here.
On July 14, 2020, Canadian and U.S. officials have agreed to keep the border between the two countries closed to non-essential travel until August 21, 2020. The agreement, as it stands, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as temporary foreign workers and vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that a decision on the border would be coming later in the week.
On July 16, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $19-billion in funding for the provinces and territories under the “Safe Restart Agreement.” The funding allocation is based on seven priority areas, including testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment. Approximately $1.1-billion will be used to fund a temporary national sick leave program providing 10 days of paid sick leave to employees who do not already have paid sick leave.
On July 17, 2020, the federal government introduced changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) that would open the program to more Canadian businesses. Proposed changes include eliminating the 30-percent revenue decline requirement; offering a base subsidy based on drop in revenue; adding a top-up subsidy to an additional 25 percent; extending the deadline to December 19, retroactive to July 5, 2020.
The estimated total fiscal cost in 2020-21 for the CEWS program that is being announced July 17 is $83.6 billion. The changes still need to be approved through Parliament when it reconvenes next week. A draft of the proposals outlined below can be found here.
On July 20, 2020, the federal government announced that further to the government’s earlier announcement on July 17, 2020 regarding proposed changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”), the government introduced Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures. According to the government press release, the changes proposed in Bill C-20 would:
- Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020;
- Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues;
- Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
- Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules;
- Address technical issues with the CEWS identified by stakeholders, including by providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity’s business assets; and
- Make the proposed amendments to the CEWS previously introduced in Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures.
Subject to the legislation being passed, the government intends to provide a one-time payment of up to $600 to holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and proposes to extend it to include persons with disabilities who as of July 1, 2020 are beneficiaries of Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, Quebec Pension Plan disability, or one of the disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.
Further, Part 3 of Bill C-20 would enact the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19), which would automatically suspend time limits relating to civil litigation and allow federal ministers to make orders to suspend other time limits in some federal legislation and regulations. More specifically:
• Regarding civil litigation, this proposed legislation would automatically suspend time limits established under federal legislation for starting a legal proceeding or doing something in a legal proceeding. This suspension would be valid for a maximum of 6 months, retroactive to March 13, 2020 and ending on September 13, 2020, or on an earlier date fixed by order of the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.
• Regarding regulatory matters, the proposed legislation would allow federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend other time limits identified in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible, where failure to meet those time limits could have a significant impact on individuals, businesses, and the government. Orders made under this provision could be retroactive to March 13, 2020 and valid for a maximum of 6 months, but would not have effect beyond December 31, 2020. Such orders could not be made after September 30, 2020.