COVID-19: Government of Canada Makes Changes to Legislation

Updated: Jun 23, 2020



In response to the current pandemic of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has made several adjustments to assist federal employees, businesses and individuals in various Acts:


Income Tax Act and Income Tax Regulations

  • Temporarily increasing Canada Child Benefit payment in order to provide additional assistance to families with children.

  • Individuals and families with low/modest incomes will receive one extra payment of GST/HST (Goods and Sales Tax) credit.

  • For 2020 reducing minimum requirement for withdrawals by 25 percent from Registered Retirement Income Funds for seniors.

  • Providing eligible small employers (would include small businesses – including co-operative corporations, unincorporated employers, certain partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities) keep their workers by providing a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months.


Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Act

  • Providing a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for 4 months up to 6 months in order to support workers’ loss of income as a result to COVID-19.

  • Eligible Canadians are those who have lost their job, are sick, in isolation, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, including working parents required to stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.

  • Furthermore, workers who are still employed, but due to the disruption to their work situation related to COVID-19 are not receiving income qualify for CERB.

  • Even if workers do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), CERB is available to Canadian workers affected by the current situation. Exclusion of CERB eligibility are for workers who voluntarily quit.

  • For updates regarding CERB, please visit: CERB Application


Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act

  • In relation to public health events of national concerns it authorizes payments to be made from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

  • It also provides for the repeal of the Act on September 30, 2020.


Canada Labour Code

  • It amends and creates a legislation in which it provides a leave of up to 16 weeks related to COVID-19. Medical certificate issued by health practitioners is not required for entitlement of this leave.

  • Employees may defer/interrupt their vacations if they are going on this leave due to COVID-19 related reasons.

  • An employer is not permitted any of the following: dismissing, suspending, laying off, demoting or penalizing an employee if the employee intends to take or has taken a leave of absence due to COVID-19.

  • An employee’s employment is deemed to be continuous and there is no break of employment while on this leave; and the pension, health and disability benefits and the seniority of an employee and as such will continue. Contributions (of both employee and employer) of benefits and pension should continue as if the employee is still working, unless the employee has stated they do not want them.

  • The Act is also amended to provide for the repeal and to provide for a quarantine leave under the medical leave regime.


Employment Insurance Act

  • For the purpose of mitigating the economic effects of COVID-19, an amendment was made to give the Minister of Employment and Social Development the power to create interim orders.

  • For every reference in any provision of the Employment Insurance Act and of regulations made under it to ‘a certificate issued by a medical doctor or other medical professional or medical practitioner or by a nurse practitioner’ is deemed to not be in effect and that any benefit which would have been payable to a claimant had such a certificate been issued is payable to the claimant if the Canada Employment Insurance Commission is satisfied that the claimant is entitled to the benefit.


Financial Administration Act

  • By amending the Financial Administration Act to temporarily remove the requirement for the Minister of Finance to receive Governor in Council’s authorization in order to use emergency powers, it grants the Minister of Finance with flexibility to respond quickly and efficiently to COVID-19 developments.


Bill C-13 – An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, is in effect as of March 25, 2020, and Bill C-14 – A second Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, is effect as of April 11, both bills are retroactive to March 15, 2020 and remains in effect until September 30, 2020, unless specified individually and may change as per circumstance.

More legislation may be amended or created depending on the situation of the current COVID-19 pandemic.


For full details on Bill C-13 please visit: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-1/bill/C-13/royal-assent?fbclid=IwAR1AAl60bx3Q4-5Ap2qBD-Q_fY25EESDLYkQ_YJnk2gvMYVZIs9gbf0jcJE#ID0EEAA

For full details on Bill C-14 please visit: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-1/bill/C-14/royal-assent#ID0ERAA


Updated information regarding CERB please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Visit our website regularly to view the latest “News and Updates” on issues that impact you, your business and the industry.


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