March 22, 2020
worker questions
staying healthy at work
general questions
partner faq resources

Employer questions

For more employer-related Frequently Asked Questions from other organizations, see also:
Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Frequently Asked Questions
Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) Provides Premium Relief Package FAQs
 

Question: How do I know if my business is considered to be an Essential Workplace?

Answer:
Review the list provided by the Ontario Government.
Please note: You do not need to stop operating if your employees can work remotely from home. Only non-essential physical workplaces need to close until at least April 7, 2020. This is in response to our temporary measures to stop the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).


Question: If you have reviewed the list of essential workplaces and did not see your line of business represented, what should I do?  

Answer:

  1. Call the toll free number​ at: Stop the Spread Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659
    and/or
  2. Fill out the application to explain why your business category should be added to the list.

After you apply: The government will review your application and contact you within two business days to let you know if the list of essential workplaces has been updated based on your submission. Submitting an application does not grant immediate permission to open your physical location.


Question 1:
How do I operate my business and still protect everyone?

Answer:
It is suggested that you implement the same measures as outlined by the provincial and government related to social distancing, providing all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and implementing measures to support recommended hygiene while at work, along with other measures to maintain worker Health & Safety (including wipe down of surfaces and social distancing, etc.) at all times while at work.
 
Resources:
Risk-informed decision-making for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
A framework for risk-informed decision making about public health actions for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Government of Canada
Resources for Canadian Businesses
 
BDC
COVID-19 health and safety updates

Question 2:
Where do I find information about what measures my staff need on the job site?

Answer: Refer to; Keep informed with the latest COVID-19 health and safety updates and click on “Prevention and Risk” for the most up to date information.        
   

Question: How can I take care of my staff?


Answer:
Take every precaution in terms of providing health and safety for all. Provide constant communications and updated information to all staff and clients. Seek out and share information from LO’s COVID-19 Resource Hub
 
Resources:
Risk-informed decision-making for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic
A framework for risk-informed decision making about public health actions for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Government of Canada
Resources for Canadian Businesses
 
To support communications with staff, take advantage of posters and infographic resources provided by the Federal and Provincial governments and presented on the LO COVID-19 Resource Hub.

Document all training undertaken as you normally would and keep records of employee attendance.

Question 3:
How can I help my employees if they are laid-off?

Answer:
There are temporary Employment Insurance (EI) measures made available by the government. Employees should be provided this information and encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible upon notice of lay off.
Employment Insurance (EI)

Question 3b:
Are there supports for employees who need to stay on EI due COVID-19 and their benefits are expected to end soon?

Answer:
Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION

Question 4:
What should I do if I suspect that I or one of my co-workers/ family members is ill?

Answer: 

Question 5:
How do I fill out a Record of Employment (ROE) for lay offs due to the COVID-19?

Answer:
There are 2 resources provided:
  1. Federal Government: Guidance for Employment Insurance- Record of Employment
  2. Canadian Payroll Association: Payroll and COVID-19

Question 6:
What should I do if a case does arise at our workplace?

Answer:
Follow the same protocols your company has in place when dealing with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and reportable incident with Workers Compensation (WSIB).

For more information about WSIB insurance, claims management, and the COVID-19 virus, CLICK HERE

Question 7:
Business/Corporations: What do I need to know about corporate tax returns and filing?

Answer:
There has been no change to the filing due dates for T2 corporate returns. CRA is allowing business to defer payment of income tax amounts that are owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020 until August 31, 2020. It is our understanding that any balances deferred (as described above) would not have any additional interest accrued until after August 31, 2020.

Question 8:
Has there been any change to GST/HST or payroll remittances?

Answer:
The 10% payroll subsidy is in effect immediately. Any eligible small employers may reduce their payroll remittances to the CRA equal to 10% of the gross wages paid to an employee up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. The subsidy applies to remuneration paid to employees on or after March 18th and before June 20th.

You are an eligible employer if you:
  • are a non-profit organization, registered charity, or a Canadian-controlled private corporation (CCPC);
  • have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
  • pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an employee.

CCPCs are only eligible for the subsidy if their associated group taxable capital in Canada for the preceding tax year is less than $15 million.)

Example: For example, if you had 3 employees that earned a total of $1,500 of gross wages in a remittance period. The total remittance owing is $500, you would pay CRA $350 ($500 – ($1,500 x 10%).

Further details can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/covid-19-update/frequently-asked-questions-wage-subsidy-small-businesses.html


Question 9: Some of our employees have already run out of EI, or will run out of EI soon. What programs should our people be accessing?

Answer:
To support people facing unemployment, the Federal Government has established the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
  • workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
Link: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#new_canada_emergency_response_benefit

Question 10: I am trying to implement an employee contract where can I find a template for me to adapt and use?

Answer: LO HR Toolkit Current, up-to-date Toolkits provide a Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual and a Human Resources Employee Handbook developed for Landscape Ontario members to use in their business.

Question 11: Where do I find a Pandemic Policy and Checklist to adapt and implement in my business?

Answer: WSPS provides these Free Tools to Help Implement Pandemic Policies

Question 12: We are an independent garden centre and landscaping company, wondering if you have any clearer clarifications on whether we are an Essential Workplace?

Answer: There have been many interpretations, and as each business model can be unique, we have sought guidance from the government.

LO continues to await official response from the government as to where each sector fits. In the meantime, we are suggesting that you call in to the toll free number​ at: Stop the Spread Business Information Line Now Open at 1-888-444-3659

Question 13: Is there an effective disinfectant for workplaces and work surfaces?


Answer: 
Cleaning Products: Although there is lack of specific evidence for their effectiveness against COVID-19, cleaning with water and household detergents and use of common disinfectant products should be sufficient for cleaning and disinfection in non-healthcare settings.Footnote 8 If household or commercial disinfectant cleaning products are not readily available, hard surfaces can be disinfected using a mixture of 1 part bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) and 9 parts water, ensuring the dilute solution makes contact with the surface for 1 minute for disinfection. Footnote 9

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using antibacterial wipes or sprays (e.g. doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, light switches and desktops). It is still not known how long the COVID-19 virus survives on surfaces, although preliminary information suggests the virus may survive a few hours or more. Simple disinfectants, such as household antibacterial cleaning products (e.g. Lysol), are effective on non-porous surfaces when used as per the product directions. You can also use diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) to clean high-touch surfaces.

If they can withstand the use of liquids for disinfection, high-touch electronic devices (e.g., keyboards, tablets, smartboards) may be disinfected with 70% alcohol (e.g. alcohol prep wipes) ensuring the dilute solution makes contact with the surface for 1 minute for disinfection.Footnote 5

Even though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
 
Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.  Follow product labels/directions for any recommendations on PPE and safe handling. 

Thank you to Workplace Safety Prevention Services (WSPS) for providing this information

Worker questions

Question 1:
How can we best avoid catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus in our workplace?

Answer:

  • If you are sick, stay home. Ministry of Health: How To Protect Yourself
    1. General Guidance to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health includes:
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after touching any frequently used item or surfaces, after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. 
      • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
      • If there is no tissue available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
      • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
      • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
      • Stay home if you are sick.
      • Social Distancing: Maintain 6’ of personal space and particularly avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • Self-isolation/Stay at home.
      • Limit the number of visitors to your home.
      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray, disinfectant or wipe.
  • Poster: What you need to know to help you and your family stay healthy

Question 2:
I am sick and I’m not sure if I should come to work. What should I do?

Answer:

Question 3:
My child or family member is sick. What should I do?

Answer:
  • Err on the side of caution and stay home until you better understand their illness.
  • Contact your primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 to determine whether your family member may have COVID-19 and closely follow their instructions.
  • Notify your employer that you are caring for a sick family member.
  • Discuss alternate /temporary work and/or income support options with your employer.
  • Refer to: The Ontario Legislature has passed the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020 to provide job-protected leave to employees in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, or those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day care closures or to care for other relatives.
  • The Federal government has released financial supports for individuals impacted by COVID-19.

Question 4:
I think I’ve been exposed to COVID-19. What do I do?

Answer:

Question 5:
I am not sick, and my family members are not sick, but a member of my family has a chronic condition or has been deemed at heightened risk by a healthcare professional. I’ve been advised by a doctor or health official to stay home. What do I do?

Answer:
  • Follow the guidance of your healthcare professional and stay home.
  • Work with your employer to determine if temporary work from home arrangements can be made.
  • If no temporary work from home arrangements are available, the worker will be directed to apply for: Employment Insurance of Emergency Care and Emergency Support.

Question 6:
I have a confirmed case of Coronavirus. What do I do?

Answer:

Question 7:
I am an employee and a fellow employee has been notified they are with a confirmed case of Coronavirus. What do I do?

Answer:
  • Contact your employer immediately so that risk can be assessed and appropriate steps can be taken to minimize/eliminate additional exposures.

Question 8: I have already run out of EI, or will run out of soon. What programs should I be accessing? 

Answer:
To support people facing unemployment, the Federal Government has established the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
Link: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#new_canada_emergency_response_benefit

Staying Healthy at Work

Question 1:
I have a worker that I pick up everyday to work, with the social distancing and with the recommendations that we limit that kind of proximity, can I tell him that I cannot pick him up for the time being?

Answer:
It is our duty to maintain the 2m social distancing so unless you can support that then my suggestion is you need to provide other means of transportation and if no possible lay him off. There are EI supports for workers currently. See the COVID-19 Resource Hub.

Some firms are having staff drive separate vehicles/personal vehicles to stay safe between clients etc. and the business is paying time and mileage... There are strategies possible if you want to continue to serve clients.

Question 2:
Are we allowed to have 1 extra worker in our trucks?

Answer:
Social distancing rules prevail, so to answer your question, as long as that distance is maintained within the truck/vehicle then the answer is yes. (Depends on the size of the vehicle).

Question 3:
Can we still meet customers (obviously practicing social distancing?)

Answer:
Yes, many of our members are meeting clients with social distancing measures in play that include:
  • 2 metre distance
  • Video and telephone conference meetings
  • Exchanging communications via e-mail, etc.

General Questions

Question 1:
I just returned from a personal trip from outside of Canada. Can I come to work?

Answer:
  • Federal and provincial public health leaders have recommended that all travellers from outside of Canada self-isolate for 14 days. These efforts will contribute to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
  • The following travel guidance is provided by the Federal Government.

Question 2:
My child’s school system is closed, and I don’t have childcare. What do I do?

Answer:
  • Employees should notify their employer as soon as possible.
  • The government of Canada has made provisions for parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income.
    Announcement from March 25.
  • This benefit will be open for application in April 2020. More information.

Question 3:
I am working from home. Please provide tips on how to effectively work from home.

Answer:
  • Unsurprisingly, there are more people working from home than ever before. If you're new to working remotely, these tips can certainly help you stay productive and maintain balance.
    • Set Up a Schedule & Maintain Regular Hours: 
    • Setting a schedule and sticking to it will help your production and maintain a healthy work-life balance. We all love the flexibility of working from home but try to keep a schedule that separates work and life.
    • Create a Morning Routine: 
    • A routine can be very powerful in starting the day off right. Rolling out of bed and going straight to your workstation will only cause you to disrupt your workflow more than usual. Get cleaned up, dressed and start the coffee machine before you even look at your desk.
    • Include Scheduled Breaks Into your Day: 
    • Getting up and for a walk is an excellent way to keep your energy levels high for the latter part of the day. Staring at a screen for 8 hours straight will kill your production. Also, don't forget to eat!
    • Keep a Dedicated Office Space:
    • In a perfect world, remote employees would have a dedicated office but for some that's not always the case. Try your best to set up your workstation in a light traffic zone. Distractions at home come easy so try to get ahead of them.
    • Check in Constantly: This might be the most important tip we have. Over-Communication: update your team frequently and keep everyone on the same page. When everyone’s working remotely, it’s very easy to end up trapped in your own world. Use tech like video communication tools to keep out of isolation.
  • In addition to the above general guidance provide you with the following resources that will help both you and your teams navigate working remote – topics include: Working Remotely, Leading at a Distancehttps://learning.linkedin.com/blog/productivity-tips/new-to-working-remotely--these-resources-can-help
Answer 2: (From President Dave Wright
Dr Alan Weiss by way of Jeffery Scott
  • Work hard, play hard, but do them separately!
  • Set up a work schedule, allowing for breaks and lunch. Ask your family to follow the schedule, as if you’re “going to the office.”
  • Dress decently. You’ll feel better about yourself. Clean up, as if you were meeting people personally.
  • Close the door if you have one. Arrange a “do not disturb” with your kids.
  • Don’t turn on TV for any updates. Don’t surf the web. Don’t respond to personal email during work time.
  • Make a list of priorities each morning (or end of day) to accomplish.
  • “Chunk” thinks down, and time block them on your schedule. Try to do sprints (working fast through one thing), and don’t work on any one thing for more than about 45 minutes.
  • Remove distractions from your room: musical instruments, crossword puzzles, and so forth.
  • No music (with words) playing in the background. It’s a distraction for most people.
  • Don’t multi-task or you’ll do three things poorly at once.
  • Don’t plan a full day. Leave time for things that pop up, with time to do it.
  • Go outside during your lunch break. Don’t eat at your desk. Get some fresh air.
  • Explain to callers you’re working at home if need be, if they can hear dogs and kids in the background.
  • Invest in good cameras and microphones for zoom meetings.
  • End the day with a clean desk. Don’t allow clutter or disorganization. When you “show up” for work, your physical desk should be clean, and your virtual desktop should also be clean.
  • Use healthy snacks and drinks during the day, no sugar junk foods that make you go up and down. Avoid over consumption of coffee and caffeine drinks; you may get jittery and restless.
  • Set expectations for your family so that they can be supportive.
  • If you’re alone, be prepared to not respond to UPS, FedEx, and other deliveries. Try to create “no signature required".
  • Postpone personal time / socializing until the end of the day. Don’t try to mix fun and work, do it in breaks if need be.

Question 4: Is there an effective disinfectant for workplaces and work surfaces?


Answer
Cleaning Products: Although there is lack of specific evidence for their effectiveness against COVID-19, cleaning with water and household detergents and use of common disinfectant products should be sufficient for cleaning and disinfection in non-healthcare settings.Footnote 8 If household or commercial disinfectant cleaning products are not readily available, hard surfaces can be disinfected using a mixture of 1 part bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) and 9 parts water, ensuring the dilute solution makes contact with the surface for 1 minute for disinfection. Footnote 9

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using antibacterial wipes or sprays (e.g. doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, light switches and desktops). It is still not known how long the COVID-19 virus survives on surfaces, although preliminary information suggests the virus may survive a few hours or more. Simple disinfectants, such as household antibacterial cleaning products (e.g. Lysol), are effective on non-porous surfaces when used as per the product directions. You can also use diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) to clean high-touch surfaces.

If they can withstand the use of liquids for disinfection, high-touch electronic devices (e.g., keyboards, tablets, smartboards) may be disinfected with 70% alcohol (e.g. alcohol prep wipes) ensuring the dilute solution makes contact with the surface for 1 minute for disinfection.Footnote 5

Even though the new coronavirus can stay on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (depending on the type of surface), it is very unlikely that the virus will persist on a surface after being moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it. After touching it, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

 
Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations. Follow product labels/directions for any recommendations on PPE and safe handling. 

Thank you to Workplace Safety Prevention Services (WSPS) for providing this information

Partner FAQ Resources

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for Employers, from SHERRARD KUZZ LLP | Employment & Labour Lawyers

Deloitte: Economics, Finance, Human Capital, Legal, Operations, Strategy, Supply Chain, Tax for businesses

Deloitte: COVID-19 Managing cash flow during a period of crisis

COVID-19 Employee Rights (Ontario) provided by Dutton Employment Law (March 20, 2020)

HR Downloads Q&A about Employment and ROEs (March 20, 2020)

Globe & Mail provides: Layoffs, salary, EI and more: Your coronavirus and employment questions answered (March 19, 2020)

SB Partners offers Financial Guidance for Business and Canadians during COVID-19

Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

Greenius: COVID-19 Tips for Best Practices


LO COVID-19 Resource Hub

message from the board, ed, president 
LO task force and ask a question 
FAQs 
upcoming webinars 
posters and signage 
federal resources 
provincial resources 
staying healthy  
for employers 
for employees 
practical tips 
sample member communications to clients 

READ MORE ABOUT: