COVID-19 Daily Bulletins: March 25

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 – Economic and Fiscal Update.

In addition to support for the health care system, the announcement also included $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow. These measures are said to be in part designed to help protect jobs and support employers.

This $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals includes:

  • Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
  • Over $1.8 billion by deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.
  • Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.

In addition, the government also announced a number of other measures including:

  • Helping families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools.
  • Proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months.
  • Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, which is an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget
  • Further supporting more affordable electricity bills by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.
  • Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
  • Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Providing emergency child care options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.
  • Expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works to provide financial support to people facing economic hardship and help more people meet basic needs such as food and rent during this public health emergency.
  • Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19, by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs.
  • Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students, leaving more money in people’s pockets.
  • Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax Credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.
  • Providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.

A number of other measures specifically relating to the healthcare system were also announced. The province also stated it would be holding a $2.5 billion reserve in 2020–21for contingency measures. The Government of Ontario is also expected to release a multi-year provincial Budget by November 15, 2020.

Manitoba Updates

The Manitoba trucking Association reports MPI will be implementing system changes to postpone any consequences that would otherwise result from a failure to comply with medical requirements for Class 1 drivers.  Dates and specifics are still being worked out, and we will advise members accordingly.

Due to COVID19, Manitoba Infrastructure has temporary relaxed the “Essential Commodities Provisions” to ease the transportation of the those commodities, support the essential food supply chains and to ensure food security. This measure is also expected to reduce the risk to the relevant Industry workers and thereby, to the general public. The following exemptions will apply for the 2020 Spring Road Restrictions season to the Essential Commodities Provisions:

Despite the imposition of Level 1 road restrictions on the highways listed in the “2020 SPRING ROAD RESTRICTIONS (SRR) ORDER # 3 (Special)”, a vehicle may transport essential commodities at normal loading on a highway that is subject to Level 1 road restrictions.

Despite the imposition of Level 2 road restrictions on the highways listed in the “2020 SPRING ROAD RESTRICTIONS (SRR) ORDER # 3 (Special)”, a vehicle may transport essential commodities at normal loading on a highway that is subject to Level 2 road restrictions.

The following items from the Permit Required List of essential commodities will be considered Permit Exempt essential commodities:

  • grain to satisfy grain quotas or contracts
  • potatoes or vegetables from producer to processor

All other conditions specified in the “2020 SPRING ROAD RESTRICTIONS (SRR) ORDER # 3 (Special)” and at the SRR website shall still apply, including the limitations on using the shortest amount of a Level 2 restricted road when hauling essential commodities.

Nothing in this concession authorizes the operation of a vehicle over a bridge or other structure in excess of posted weight restrictions

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