Reopening guidanceSkip to more guidance for employers
For businesses with fewer than 100 employeesVisit small business recovery resources for more tailored information, including:
- Small Business Enterprise Centres near you
- Taking your business digital
- Learning opportunities and free advice
- Support and resources from Canada and national organizations
Affordable electricity bills
Until October 31, 2020 time-of-use Regulated Price Plan customers will pay a covid 19 Recovery Rate of 12.8¢/kWh 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
From March 24 to May 31, 2020, residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers were charged the lowest rate — also known as the off-peak price — 24 hours a day. This means you were charged 10.1¢/kWh no matter what time of day you use electricity. This rate has automatically been applied to your bill.
Pausing commercial evictions
We are temporarily stopping or reversing evictions of commercial tenants and protecting them from being locked out or having their assets seized during covid 19. This applies to businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance, for evictions from May 1, 2020.
It does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses.
Pension contribution deferral and extension
If you're an employer who sponsers certain defined benefit pension plans, you can defer pension contributions due between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. You must file an application (called an "election") and pay deferred contributions, with interest and following a set schedule, by March 31, 2022.
For contributions to be eligible for deferral, plans must:
- be single-employer, private-sector defined benefit pension plans
- not already benefit from existing special relief measures
You can only defer contributions if they are up to date with any existing contribution requirements.
To ensure you use the funds made available by deferring contributions to maintain your business operations, you will be restricted from:
- paying out dividends or buying back shares
- increasing previously established debt repayments
- increasing executive compensation or paying executive bonuses
- making loans or advances to shareholders or executives or entities related to them
- engaging in business that provides advantageous terms to a related party, such as a parent company
These restrictions will no longer apply after you've made all deferred contributions.
Catch-up contribution extension
As in any year, you may be required to make a catch-up contribution after a valuation report is filed for your pension plan, depending on how much was contributed to the plan before the report was filed.
You have 120 days (instead of the usual 60 days) to pay any catch-up contributions on valuation reports filed on or before April 1, 2020. You do not need to submit an election (application) to get the extension.
Employer Health Tax relief
We increased the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption for 2020 from $490,000 to $1 million.
What this means for you
As an employer, this means relief of up to $9,945.
The annual tax return form is not changing. Only the amount for the exemption claimed will change. Eligibility for the tax exemption, tax rates and everything else remains the same.
You will begin making your instalment payments after your payroll has exceeded the new $1 million exemption level.
If your business no longer needs to make instalment payments as a result of the increased exemption amount, you do not need to notify the Ministry of Finance.
If you have already filed a final or special return for 2020
The ministry will be reviewing all 2020 Employer Health Tax relief returns and correcting the returns for the new exemption level.
Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit
If your corporation is building, renovating or acquiring an eligible commercial or industrial building in a designated region in Ontario, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit of up to $45,000 in a year.
The tax credit will be available to claim on your corporate income tax return.
Guidance for employers
Your responsibilities and employee protections
Learn about employers' responsibilities, and get information about job protections available to employees including:
- leaves of absence
- taking vacation time
- temporary layoffs
- filing a claim
Show your commitment to safety
Consider making the POST Promise – a self-declaration that your business is working to help prevent the spread of covid 19 as restrictions ease. Once completed, you’ll get tools to help educate employees on workplace safety. You can also display the POST Promise logo, which is a nationally recognized symbol of a business’s commitment to doing their part.
Find PPE suppliers
Access the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory to find personal protective equipment for your business.
Sector-specific guidance and posters
Develop your covid 19 workplace safety plan
Learn how you can create a plan to help protect your workers and others from covid 19.
Work with us on a Stage 3 reopening plan
Based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is pausing any further loosening of public health measures or reopening additional businesses, facilities and organizations.
During this pause, we are continuing to work with businesses and sectors that are either not able to reopen in Stage 3 or who are experiencing significant challenges opening with restrictions in Stage 3, so they will be ready to reopen when it is safe to do so.Tell us about your reopening plan
Request a temporary rule or regulation change
Learn how to request a temporary rule or regulation change to help your business respond to covid 19.
Other helpful resources
- From the Government of Canada:
- Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses: covid 19 Small Business Help Centre
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce: Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for covid 19 (PDF)
- Retail Council of Canada: Road to Retail Recovery Playbook
Help from the federal government
The Canadian government has made available supports for business during covid 19.
Mental health and addictions supports
If you or your employees are feeling anxious, experiencing other mental health or addiction challenges or you can’t access your regular in-person counselling support, there are services you can access online or by phone, including self-led support, peer support and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy.Find mental health support
If you are currently receiving mental health and addictions services and supports, please contact your current service provider, including community-based mental health and addictions agencies. Many of these providers are modifying their services to move towards virtual care, meeting clients by phone or secure video-conferencing.