COVID-19 Industry Update April 24, 2020

Federal Update

New CEWS Details

The temporary Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will start accepting applications on Monday April 27, 2020, with payments rolling out the first week in May. Changes to the reference period (adding Jan/Feb 2020) and to allow cash method accounting are successfully enabling many more members to be eligible. Flexibility has been extended to use the average of January/February 2020 as a reference period, and to use the cash rather than accrual accounting method, to help prevent lay-offs and promote rehiring. The subsidy will be equal to 75% of remuneration for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. CHBA is continuing to push to have “fair value of contracts signed” as eligible revenue to better reflect drops in sales and allow more members to qualify.

Through CEWS, organizations participating in the Canada Summer Jobs Program will get a subsidy of up to 100% from the government to cover the cost of hiring students.

Check out the CEWS calculator to determine your subsidy amount, available on CEWS website

CHBA continues to inform the federal government regarding policy and program measures important to the residential construction industry regarding Canada’s COVID-19 response and national-in-nature responses to the crisis. Members can view all measures and their details here.

Other key measures or changes for businesses introduced recently include: 

  • Canada Emergency Business Account Loan (CEBA) minimum annual payroll qualifying threshold lowered from $50,000 to $20,000 – a positive step for smaller businesses, but not sufficient to address small businesses only drawing dividends; CHBA continues to push to eliminate the lower limit and/or allow dividends to count as payroll.
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has been expanded, which could help sole proprietors and those who are self-employed take on work where they can while still receiving benefits.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program for small businesses announced


Provincial Update

O.Reg 149/20 | Bill 189 – the COVID-19 Support and Protection Act, 2020

On April 14th, the Legislative Assembly convened to pass “Bill 189, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020”. For OHBA members, the Bill made amendments to three pieces of Legislation – the Development Charges Act, the Planning Act and the Education Act, that impact the industry. The Bill is helpful in addressing a number of member concerns. These are temporary measures to resolve an issue with expiring DCs and provide clarity and guidance to ensure that municipalities that choose to do so, can continue to process, hold virtual public meetings and ultimately approve planning applications.

On April 15th, the government then passed O. Reg 149/20, made under the Planning Act for the “Special Rules Relating to Declared Emergency”.  On Wednesday, OHBA, BILD and OPPI participated in a technical briefing on the regulation. This week, the Provincial Government has posted a “plain language” explanation of the regulation on the ERO.

The “plain language posting” should be reviewed immediately:

Amendments to the Planning Act and O. Reg 149/20 Special Rules Relating to Declared Emergency.

In the posting, MMAH explains how O. Reg 149/20 clarifies that O. Reg. 73/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act does not apply to land use planning timelines. The posting also makes it clear that municipalities may hold virtual public meetings and should they wish to make decisions on applications during this time, they are free to do so.

Members: Please note that we encourage each of you to consult with legal counsel as well as your respective municipality to determine how the new planning regulations may or may not affect your specific applications or appeals. 

WE HBA member Gowling WLG prepared a detailed resource for navigating O.Reg. 149/20: “The Implications of COVID-19 on Land Use Planning Timelines in Ontario” which reviews the new regulation that was adopted for the purpose of giving municipalities greater flexibility in the process for planning matters during the pandemic. Review the attached document for a better understanding of what these changes mean.


OHBA Update

Regional OHBA Conference Call

The OHBA is continuing to organize weekly regional conference calls to provide a general COVID-19 update based on regional groups.

The Southwest HBA & Central HBA “zoom” meetings will be held together this coming Monday April 27th at 10:00 AM. The short half hour meeting will be open to any interested members from the local HBA’s in the regional groupings of the Central HBAs and Southwest HBAs. WE HBA encourages our members to join in and stay up to date! For the Zoom meeting details please contact WE HBA Manager of Planning & Government Relations Kirstin Jensen at 


Enerquality Education

Better Built Homes Workshop Series | Free for Ontario Home Builders

EnerQuality are excited to announce that they are moving forward with their education series to an online virtual classroom!

EnerQuality’s 2020 training will help you build better, tighter, healthier and more comfortable and homes through their workshop series delivered for the first time online, and at a revolutionary price. Enbridge Gas has made it possible for Ontario homebuilding professionals to register for these high performance new construction workshops at no cost. Eligible participants will receive up to 3 complimentary registrations! All other participants will receive up to 95% off of the original price.

Register today for one or more of these acclaimed workshops. The Team Builder promotion offers every three paid registrants from your organization one registration at no charge!


May 7 & May 8 1pm – 4pm EST  

$0 / $19.95 (Regular Price $309)     


May 21 & May 22 1pm – 4pm EST   

$0 / $149 (Regular Price $309)       


June 1 & June 2 1pm – 4pm EST    

$0 / $249 (Regular Price $899)       

Many students are eligible for training grants; visit the Education page for more information. 

REGISTER NOW to get your spot in the Better Built Homes Workshop Series! Spaces are limited. 

Updates will be made on the EnerQuality social channels (follow #EQtraining) and in their e-newsletter. 


Hand Sanitizer & Face Masks

Hand Sanitizer & Face Masks from Crescent Oil

Best health and safety practices are of the utmost importance at this time. We understand from some of our members that their supplies of hand sanitizer and face masks are running low!

A supply of liquid hand sanitizer – 80% Ethyl Alcohol/ Hydrogen Peroxide/ Glycerin Blend that meets WHO (World Health Organization) standard; and face masks – KN95, surgical masks & face shields – are being offered in bulk for our members!

See the attached flyers for more from Crescent Oil:


Webinar Updates


BDO Real Estate & Construction Webinar Series – Part 2

Real Estate & Construction Industry | Tax, Insurance, Contractual & Digital Considerations amid COVID-19

BDO Canada invites you to join Part Two of their webinar series dedicated to the Real Estate and Construction Industry. For this session we will be joined by BDO professionals from our Canadian Tax, Strategy and Forensic Accounting teams to discuss strategies to adapt and successfully set-up your business for the new COVID reality. The BDO team is here to help and provide useful insights and tips that can be used immediately.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 29 | 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Register here now!


Missed Out?

Part 1 of BDO’s Real Estate & Construction Industry Webinar Series | Cash Flow & Tax Strategies

On Wednesday April 22nd, BDO Canada hosted Part 1 of their webinar series dedicated to the Real Estate & Construction Industry. This session covered how to manage cash flows, take advantage of government incentives, and ensure your business is compliant with the workforce changes amid the uncertainty of COVID-19.

Access Part 1 of this webinar series here.


Navigating Government Support During COVID-19 with MNP

On Wednesday, Kevin Lee, CHBA’s CEO, and Peter Bangs and Gavin Miranda, Partners in Taxation Services at MNP LLP, provided an interactive webinar to go over the several measures in place to support businesses and individuals through the economic realities during COVID-19.

For a PDF of the COVID-19 Federal Support Programs, access it here.

Log in at the CHBA Webinar website here for the full video and presentation deck!