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17 Mar 2020

COVID-19 Special Briefing

COVID-19 Special Briefing
This special bulletin is intended to assist members in dealing with issues related to COVID-19.  As you may know the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this a pandemic emergency.  Given that our industry is gearing up towards the start of the season and welcoming back many employees, it is crucial to be well informed.  COVID-19 protocols are rapidly changing, and we will endeavour to keep you informed as things change.
 
In the spirit of every challenge being an opportunity, the restrictions on international travel are like attitudes post 9/11.  In the year following that event there was a strong trend to staycation and people invested heavily in their outdoor living spaces instead of travel.  What a great time to garden or enjoy your backyard.
 

 

Table of Contents

Update April 7, 2020
How to Manage in the Workplace
Best Practices
Health Resources
Regional Resources
Economic Response Package - Gov't of Canada
Work Sharing
Payroll & ROE
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Allowable Business Services
Managing Staff and Leave
Provincial Sales Tax & Utilities
Self Isolation Support Program
Other Resources
 

 June 23, 2020

Beginning June 29, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres and live theatres will be able to re-open. The guidelines for these businesses and services are included in this week’s update to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.

The re-opening dates for the other activities in this part of Phase 4, including indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports and activities, casinos and bingo halls will be announced over the next two weeks. 

Other updates to Re-Open Saskatchewan include:

·          Effective June 26, parks and campgrounds are open to 100 per cent capacity for overnight stays and limited-term campsites. Along with this change, access can be provided to washroom and shower facilities; however, increased cleaning and disinfection must take place. 

·         If physical distancing can be maintained, sports and activities are now able to resume, including playing games. 

·         Staff in restaurants and licensed establishments, gyms and fitness facilities, and personal care services that cannot maintain two metres of distance from customers must wear a non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask, or a procedural/surgical mask. 

·         Locker rooms, shower facilities and change rooms are now permitted to open for a variety of businesses and activities; however, increased cleaning and disinfection of these facilities is required. 

·         Changes rooms in clothing and retail stores can now move to 100 percent occupancy.

As restrictions are gradually lifted in the province, additional information will continue to be added to the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan based on direction from public health officials and input from businesses and service providers. Saskatchewan residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the guidelines and follow their recommendations to ensure the province can continue to re-open in a safe manner without a significant increase in the transmission of COVID-19.

Find the most up-to-date version of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan at saskatchewan.ca/re-open


Government of Canada PPE Supply Hub
The Government of Canada has established a new PPE supply hub to help organizations sell and buy personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Update May 26, 2020

Read our weekly COVID-19 email update here.

Highlights include:

  • Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment
  • Update on Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)
  • Workplace Guidance for Sector Employers and Employees
  • Risk Informed Decision Making During COVID-19

 


Update May 12, 2020

Read our weekly COVID-19 email update here.

Highlights include:

  • Statement from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Survey for Growers to Support CNLA Advocacy for Financial Aid
  • Garden Centres Canada Getting a Pulse in How You Are Doing!

Update May 20, 2020

Read our weekly COVID-19 email update here.

Highlights include:

  • Reopening Saskatchewan: Phase 2
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extended Beyond June, 2020
  • Canada Emergency Business Account Expansion to include Owner-Operated Small Businesses

Update May 5, 2020

Read our weekly COVID-19 email update here.

Highlights include:

  • Updated Rules for Garden Centre & Landscape Suppliers
  • Occupation Health and Safety – May 1 Newsletter
  • Canadian Centre for Occupation Health and Safety (CCOHS)
  • PPE Order is in

Update May 4, 2020

Saskatchewan – Updated Rules for Garden Centre & Landscape Suppliers

The Government of Saskatchewan has moved to Phase 1 of their re-open plan.  For retail garden centres and landscape suppliers this means that the restriction of 10 people per facility maximum has been lifted.  Each company is now allowed to set their own customer limit based on their size and ability to maintain social distancing at 2 meters.

For general workplace guidelines, please refer to COVID-19 Workplace Information on P. 11. All businesses operating in Saskatchewan must be in compliance with these guidelines. The information below provides specific information for operators of greenhouses and landscaping businesses.

Greenhouse and landscaping retailers can be considered an allowable business under the following mandatory conditions:

  1. Operate with delivery or curbside pick-up only.

AND/OR

  1. Comply with the guidelines for retail operations as outlined on P. 30, including:

· Use physical line controls, such as crowd control cordons at entrances and checkout lines. Place markers (e.g. tape or cones) every two metres as visible cues to support physical distancing.

· Implement one-way aisles to promote physical distancing and communicate the information through signage and announcements.

· Post clear signs in multiple locations indicating the maximum number of customers and staff the store can accommodate at one time.

· Consider monitoring the number of customers and staff entering and leaving the store. Once the maximum number is reached, allow one person to enter for every one person who exits.

· Offer online or telephone orders with delivery or pick-up services as alternatives to in-person shopping.

· Glove use is not required. If staff are using gloves, they should be changed after every interaction and when changing tasks. Hand hygiene must be performed between every glove change - wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number).

· Ask customers who arrive with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough or breathing issues) to return home and use a delivery service instead.

· All workers, especially those in constant contact with the public, should self-monitor for symptoms and use the self-assessment tool available at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.

Full Re-open Saskatchewan plan can be found here - https://publications.saskatchewan.ca/api/v1/products/105097/formats/117566/download

For additional information, please call the Business Response Team at 1-844-800- 8688 or email supportforbusiness@gov.sk.ca.


Webinar: Top Business Priorities during COVID-19 - The 5 Cs of COVID with Jacki Hart

Watch the recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYQ6mkVM350


Advanced Payments Program Webinar (Recording)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF3dc_6scaA
 
 

Update April 28, 2020

Read our weekly COVID-19 email update here.

Highlights include:

  • The Saskatchewan Government has announced a plan to re-open Saskatchewan late last week
  • Bulk Ordering of Masks and Sanitizer 
  • Webinar: Top Business Priorities in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Guide To Thinking Differently
  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program Inspections
  • Canadian Payroll Association
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Update
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses
  • Agri-Programs Update
  • New Actions to Protect Canadian Jobs

 


Update April 27, 2020

The Saskatchewan Government has announced a plan to re-open Saskatchewan late last week

Re-Open Saskatchewan will consist of five phases. The timing and order of the businesses/workplaces included in each phase is subject to change throughout the process based on a continuous assessment oftransmission patterns and other factors.

Phase One: Re-opening previously restricted medical services Opening of golf courses, parks and campgrounds

Phase Two: Re-opening retail and select personal care services

Phase Three: Re-opening restaurants and food services, gyms and fitness centres, licensed establishments and child care facilities. Re-opening remaining personal care services, Increasing the size of public and private gatherings to 15 people

Phase Four: Re-opening indoor and outdoor recreation facilities
Increasing the size of public and private gatherings to 30 people

Phase Five: Consider lifting long-term restrictions

Each phase will still require business operations to be complaint with public health restrictions.  We will communicate changes or new information as it becomes available that is relevant to the landscape industry.

 

Full release: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/re-open-saskatchewan-plan/re-open-saskatchewan

Web resources for re-open plan:
https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/re-open-saskatchewan-plan

Guidelines for Garden Centres and Landscape Supply
https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/re-open-saskatchewan-plan/guidelines/greenhouse-and-landscaping-guidelines

 


Update April 22, 2020

The Government of Canada is accepting applications for the Innovation Assistance Program (IAP) wage subsidy. The IAP provides a wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks for small and medium-sized enterprises pursuing technology-driven innovation who have been unable to secure funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The call for applications will close Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Who can apply:

Your company must meet the following to be eligible:

  •  Be ineligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Be an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada
  • Be a company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
  • Plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada
  • Lack sufficient financial resources to sustain operations during the COVID-19 downturn period
  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Be incorporated by no later than March 1, 2020

 How to apply

  • If you meet all eligibility criteria listed above, please complete an application
  • The program will be accepting applications until April 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT

 Next steps

  •  Following the assessment and approval of applications, applicants will be notified in writing on the status of their application as early as the week of May 11, 2020
  • IAP will begin making payments to successful applicants starting the week of May 11, 2020

Further details on the program can be found here.


April 21, 2020

Read our COVID-19 email update here.

Highlights include:

  • Changes to the CERB eligibility Rules
  • Updated resource page for all Federal programs and supports
  • Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Update
  • Introducing Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program
  • SAWP Worker Isolation Update
  • Upcoming Webinars

Update April 13, 2020

The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) will begin accepting applications. You can find further information on the SSBEP and submit your application here.

If you have questions on how to complete the application or need some clarification on program eligibility after reviewing the SSBEP webpage, you can contact the SSBEP team by email at ssbep@gov.sk.ca or by calling 1-800-667-6102 or 306-787-6645 in Regina and selecting option #3.

A summary of the SSBEP, including program eligibility and a list of the information you will need to submit your application can be found below. 

What is the SSBEP?

 The SSBEP provides financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses or not-for- profits directly ordered to temporarily close or substantially curtail operations through a Public Health Order by the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan to help control transmission of COVID-19.

The program provides a payment to eligible businesses that can be used for any purpose such as paying fixed costs or reopening the business once the public health order is lifted. 

The payment is based on 15% of the business’s monthly revenue in either April 2019 or February 2020.  The business may select either of those months to calculate their payment. The maximum amount payable is $5,000 per business.

 Who is eligible for the SSBEP?

 To be eligible, a business must: 

·      Be a person, partnership, corporation, co-operative, or not-for-profit, registered under The Business Names Registration Act, The Business Corporations Act, The Non-profit Corporations Act, 1995, or The Co-operatives Act;

·      Have a permanent establishment in Saskatchewan;

·      Have fewer than 500 employees;

·      Have been carrying on business in Saskatchewan on February 29, 2020;

·      Apply on or before July 31st, 2020;

·      Have been ordered to temporarily close or significantly curtail operations through a public health orders to help control transmission of COVID-19;

·      Have experienced a loss of sales revenue that affects the applicant’s ability to pay for fixed costs;

·      Attest to reopen business operations within 90 days following the cancellation of the COVID-19 public health orders; and,

·      Have not received any payments or amounts from any other sources, including insurance, to replace or compensate for the loss of sales revenue other than amounts from other government assistance programs.

 What information will be needed to complete the application for SSBEP?

 In addition to details around the type of business operated and the business’ legal and operating names, the following details will be required order to complete the application:

·      Number of employees at the time Public Health Order;

·      Federal Business Number (mandatory if your business has one assigned);

·      WCB Registration Number (mandatory if your business has one assigned);

·      PST Number (mandatory if your business has one assigned);

·      Corporate Registry Number (mandatory if your business has one assigned);

·      The date business closed and complied with the order from Saskatchewan Public Health;

·      The date the business partially closed or limited the services it provides to customers;

·      March 2020 financial results;

·      April 2020 financial results;

·      Weekly sales reports for the weeks after the Public Health Order started affecting your business;

·      The banking details of the account that the SSBEP will be directly deposited into.

 

Emergency Leave Provisions during COVID-19 – Saskatchewan

Recording of the webinar can be found here - https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/4884866685531444491

 


Update April 9, 2020

The Saskatchewan Greenhouse Growers Association and Landscape Saskatchewan, along with the Saskatchewan Government have collaboratively identified regulations that deem Saskatchewan greenhouses and landscaping retailers an allowable business to operate - if the operation is following the mandatory regulations and exercising good judgement for the safety of all Saskatchewan residents.

Read more here.


Update April 7, 2020

Federal

Updated resource page for all Federal programs and supports - https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Today, the Canadian Government provided clarity on eligibility and the application process for the CERB program which can be found here.  Highlights included that Canadians will be able to begin applying for the CERB on April 6, 2020 and, if approved, should receive their first payment within 10 days. The CERB will provide approved applicants with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

The benefit will be available to workers:

  • - Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • - Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits:
  • - Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
  • - Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.

Applications for The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are now being accepted via the Canada Revenue Agency’s My CRA Account portal here or via telephone at 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Please note, to manage the high volume of applications, your month of birth determines which day you can apply on:

If you were born the month of:

Apply for CERB on:

Your best day to apply is:

January, February or March

Mondays

April 6

April, May or June

Tuesdays

April 7

July, August or September

Wednesdays

April 8

October, November of December

Thursdays

April 9

Any month

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

 

 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

The CEWS would enable employers to re-hire workers previously laid off, and to keep those who are already on payroll. Details of today’s announcement can be found here. Please note, the CEWS is currently only being proposed by the Canadian Government, it will need to be passed by Parliament before being launched. Details on the proposed subsidy announced today included:

·         That it would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

·         Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.

·         Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.

·         For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.

·         An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.

Eligible employers would be able to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy by applying through a Canada Revenue Agency online portal. If passed by Parliament, further details will be made available.

 

TFWP

Letter to Health Minister, Patty Hadju to Employers - https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/minister-letter-foreign-workers.html

New TFW FAQs - https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/employer-compliance/covid-faq.html


How to manage in the workplace


 
 
Best Practices for Cleaning and Prevention
 
General Cleaning
  • Increase daily cleaning and disinfection of common areas and surfaces. Pay particular attention to doorknobs, light switches, staff rooms, desktops, washrooms and other high touch surfaces.
  • Cleaning refers to the removal of visible dirt, grime and impurities. Cleaning does not kill germs but helps remove them from the surface.
  • Disinfecting refers to using chemical to kill germs on surfaces. This is most effective after surfaces are cleaned. Both steps are important to reduce the spread of infection.
  • Use a disinfectant that has a Drug Identification Number (DIN) and a virucidal claim. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to disinfect effectively. Alternatively, you can prepare a bleach water solution with 100 ml of unscented household bleach per 900 ml of water.
  • Be sure to use / take the appropriate precautions when using chemicals for cleaning and disinfecting. Consult the product Safety Data Sheets.
Prevention
  • Wash your hands often and well (at least 20 seconds)
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
  • When sick, cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands (sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue)
 
Links to Health Resources
 
Regional Resources
 

Update - March 18, 2020
 
Economic Response Package from Canadian Government for COVID-19
March 18, 2020 – The Government of Canada has announced details on the $82 billion aid package for Canadians and Businesses. This includes the information below that details how and when assistance will be arriving. We encourage all employers to share the resources below with employees. Each company will have to best decide how to achieve a contingency plan with help from these aid programs. Combined support for both employers and employees offers the best option to maintain health concerns with being able to have a business to return to. 
 
There is a potential as the pandemic progresses that all non-essential businesses will be forced to close.  Please ensure you are taking that possibility in to consideration when planning for the next weeks and months. 
 
Support for Businesses
Support for Individuals
The full details on the Government of Canada Economic Response Package can be found at the link below.  Please visit there directly for more details.  https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html
 

 
Update - March 19, 2020
 
Work Sharing
This Federal program allows for employees to remain working during times where there is a reduction in normal levels of business activity.  Employees wages are supplemented by EI payments.  This has been expanded to 76 weeks due to COVID-19 related issues.  Please note this does not apply to seasonal staff and must be by mutual agreement between employer and employees.
Full details here - https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/work-sharing.html
 
 
Q&A Document of ROEs and Payroll
The Canadian Payroll Association has made this resource available through ESDC.  It is a great resource to ensure through this crisis you as the employer are ensuring prompt access to EI for your employees as well as providing several options for alternative pay structures supplemented by EI.    Check it out HERE to ensure you are up to speed on the technical details around payroll and COVID-19.

 
Federal Economic Support
 
Support for people who are sick, quarantined, or in directed self-isolation
 
The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
 
We will provide 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.
 

Updates – March 27, 2020
 
Allowable Business Services
The SK government has publishing a list of businesses that continue to operate during the pandemic.  All the Allowable Business Services still need to update their business practices to ensure safety of employees and customers.  Nurseries, production greenhouses and sod farms (Agricultural service), and landscape contractors are both directly named.  Greenhouses and Garden Centres can continue to operate.  Retail sales are currently restricted to delivery and curbside pick-up. Landscape Saskatchewan is working with the Saskatchewan Greenhouse Growers Association and Government to set conditions for modifying this restriction by mid-April.  
 
More info at - https://publications.saskatchewan.ca/api/v1/products/104570/formats/116449/download
 
Managing Staffing and Leave
New rules allow for protected leave for employees dealing with COVID-19 related leaves.  More info here - https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-information-for-businesses-and-workers/managing-staffing-and-leave
 
Provincial Sales Tax
Saskatchewan businesses who are unable to remit their PST due to cashflow concerns will have three-month relief from penalty and interest charges.
For more information call the Saskatchewan tax inquiry line at 1-800-667-6102 or email us at SaskTaxInfo@gov.sk.ca

Provincial Utilities
All Crown utilities will implement bill-deferral programs allowing a zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months for Saskatchewan customers whose ability to make bill payments may be impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.
 

 
Self-Isolation Support Program
The Self-Isolation Support Program is targeted at Saskatchewan workers forced to self- isolate in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, and who are not covered by recent federally announced employment insurance programs and other supports. Administered by the Ministry of Finance, the program will provide $450 per week, for a maximum of two weeks or $900.
To be eligible, residents of Saskatchewan must meet these criteria:
  • They have contracted COVID-19 or are showing symptoms;or
  • They have been in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19; or
  • They have recently returned from international travel and have been required to self-isolate;
AND
  • They are not eligible for compensation including sick leave, vacation leave from their employer;
  • They do not have private insurance covering such disruptions;
  • They are not covered by other programs such as federal employment insurance that has been updated
 

Other Resources

People Corporation (broker to HortProtect) has offered a great resource page for employers and employees on health benefit programs and what it might mean to both.  https://www.peoplecorporation.com/covid-19/

ISA Prairie Chapter Resource link to file.  Please refer to provincial regulations for specifics in terms of compliance and standards.

Garden Centres Canada – Best Practices Guidelines

The Texas Nursery Landscape Association (TNLA) has created an amazing marketing campaign around the theme “Embrace your Space”.  In the spirit of us all being in this together, TNLA has agreed to share all the materials with our members as well.  https://www.tnlaonline.org/embrace-your-space.html

NICH has produced some great marketing for industry - https://www.consumerhort.org/resources-you-can-use-in-these-unusual-times/

Signage Templates for Greenhouse and Garden Centres