COVID-19 Industry Update April 28, 2020

OHBA Update

Call to Members – Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee – Membership Ideas and Perspectives

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 State of Emergency in Ontario, OHBA members have been stepping up to help flatten the curve and do our industry’s part to defeat the virus. Whether it is donating masks and other PPE to front-line healthcare workers, or leading the way in enhanced health, safety and sanitation on job sites, our members have championed the Ontario Spirit and now there is another way our members can support the fight against COVID-19.

On April 9th, the Ontario government launched the new “Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee” which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. This Cabinet Committee is composed of 12 Ministers and headed by Finance Minister Rod Phillips. The Committee will be consulting with a wide range of stakeholders on the economic impact of COVID-19 including business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs, with the goal of developing an action plan to move forward.

On April 24th, the provincial government indicated that a framework for resuming economic activities would be coming the week of April 27th. This is the prime opportunity for stakeholder engagement and that is why OHBA is making this call to members.

Key Ministers on this Committee who directly impact our sector include:

  • Rod Phillips, Chair, Minister of Finance 
  • Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade 
  • Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board
  • Laurie Scott, Minister of Infrastructure
  • Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development 
  • Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

OHBA is calling on our members to feed their ideas and perspectives into their local HBA’s so that we can provide the best possible policy options to the government on restarting our sector. The contributions you can make today will help build and stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead. We appreciate the time and work that members contribute and look forward to hearing your first hand perspectives on how our industry can build jobs, prosperity and of course homes, for awaiting families and communities across Ontario.

Please provide any comments, feedback or ideas to Kirstin Jensen at WE HBA ( or directly to Alex Piccini, Manager of Government Relations at OHBA ( so that OHBA can provide a submission to the OJRC!

Read the News Release from the Ontario Government here: Ontario Starts Planning for Economic Recovery


Federal Updates

Provincial Plans for Re-Opening the Economy

Provinces have begun considering how they will reopen and restore their economies, which have been devastated by COVID-19 and related containment efforts, as cases begin to stabilize and public pressure mounts. Attached you will find a CHBA Summary Table of provincial plans (as of April 27th) so far for re-opening the economy.

Each province will take their own approach, with Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI having put forward plans or taken initial steps to loosen restrictions. All provinces have agreed to develop some national principles with the federal government to guide the reopening process. CHBA expects these principles will be released next week.

Applications Open for CEWS

Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) opened on Monday April 27, 2020. The temporary CEWS payments are planned to roll out the first week in May. Changes to the reference period 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. Also 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

The Federal Government also introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses. CECRA would lower rent by 75 percent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and meet the government’s eligibility criteria.

MNP has prepared a Tax Update – Response to COVID-19 to answer questions you may have regarding some of the programs recently introduced by the Federal Government.


Provincial Update

Ontario Framework for Re-Opening the Economy

Yesterday afternoon, Premier Ford, along with members of Cabinet released the framework for reopening Ontario.

The Premier and Ministers were explicitly clear that the framework is not a calendar – it’s a roadmap – and as such, it has no firm dates or timelines. The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to re-opening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health. The government’s approach is driven by public health and the decisions are being made based on the safety and well-being of workers, customers, employers and the general public.

Please have a look at the attached – A Framework for Reopening our Province.

Page 11 is specifically important for our sector as it outlines health, safety and sanitation as the key factor in reopening/lifting limitations on our industry. Please review this section – this is the key factor being considered by government moving forward. As the government releases new information or resources, OHBA will continue to dissect and share these to members.

Ontario health and safety associations will also play a role in providing guidance to government on best practices for job-sites. OHBA will continue to take part in those conversations.

Also, please see the attached letter from OHBA to Finance Minister and Chair of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, Rod Phillips sent April 22 (alongside the OSWCA letter also attached). This letter indicates our sector’s desire to play a role in relaunching the Ontario economy and also spells out several early COVID friendly work activities to be considered by the Committee.

Please see the OHBA UPDATE above for the call to action on how our industry can help restart the economy. 

Emergency Order for Virtual Meetings and Annual Meetings

On April 24, 2020, the Government of Ontario took further action to support corporations, including condo corporations, co-operative corporations, businesses, and not-for-profits during the COVID-19 outbreak with amendments to Emergency Order O. Reg. 107/20.

The Emergency Order is in effect province-wide and retroactive to March 17, 2020, the day the Declaration of Emergency came into effect. The Emergency Order can be accessed here and will be available on e-laws shortly. 

The Emergency Order was amended to: 

  1. Permit corporations governed under the Co-operative Corporations Act (CCA) and Condominium Act, 1998 (Condo Act) to hold meetings virtually, notwithstanding current requirements or restrictions;
  2. Extend the time period in which corporations governed under the CCA and Condo Act must hold annual meetings; and
  3. Address additional matters related to meetings for corporations under the Corporations Act (CA), Business Corporations Act (OBCA), Condo Act and CCA, such as the re-issuing of notices to hold a meeting virtually after a notice of meeting has already been sent, in certain circumstances, and, as applicable, the requirement to present financial statements at annual meetings within a specified period. 

The order applies to requirements under the CA, OBCA, CCA, and Condo Act. Questions related to Emergency Order O. Reg. 107/20 can be directed to Victoria Walker, Manager, Policy and Business Law Unit at


Enbridge Update

Enbridge Gas Communication to Residential New Construction Builders & Local Home Builder Associations

Enbridge is now accepting requests from Residential New Construction (RNC) builders for gas services on homes with occupancy dates up to May 8th. Enbridge Gas has confirmed that homes with closings requiring occupancy by the homeowners up to May 8th will be now be considered a priority. Enbridge has also updated their Q&A’s to reflect more current info on site safety precautions.

Please review the attached document for more information!

Due to the requirement to be classified as an emergency service, Enbridge also requests that builders provide their regional territory representative with a list of civic/lot addresses that fall into this category. The most up to date contact list can be found here.  


Offer from Reliance Home Comfort

Water Heaters for Hand Washing Stations on Work Sites

Reliance Home Comfort would like to help your businesses during this time of uncertainty, to make sure

collectively we can stay safe while keeping our projects moving along.

To help with improving on site hand washing facilities, Reliance can provide you with small electric water

heaters to supply hot water to your hand washing stations. These space saver four gallon water heaters

are easy to install and can be located wherever a standard 120 volt power source is available.

Have a look at the attached document and reach out to the team at Reliance to learn more!


Webinar Updates


Social Media Webinar with Intrigue

Navigating Social Media As An Entrepreneurs

Join Intrigue’s Content Marketing Specialists, Andrew & Rachel, and Social Media Coordinator, Matt, for this exclusive online workshop. They’ll discuss how entrepreneurs can best use social media in today’s environment as well as share ideas on how to scale and grow your business.

FRIDAY MAY 1 | 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Click here to register!



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 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!