Posted by on Mar 24, 2020 in Featured | Comments Off on PAYROLL RELIEF & ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS


Two critical programs that have an impact on our members as presented by the federal government as part of their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, you should be aware of the following:

A 10% payroll subsidy will be available to small to medium sized businesses and not-for-profits that will be available through reduced federal payroll taxes. The government will provide information this week on how to administer this program that will encourage employers to keep employee’s working rather than laying them off to apply for Employment Insurance.

If laying off employees is unavoidable, quick action for your employees to apply and receive EI is encouraged and you will have to issue a Record of Employment. Employees who wish to apply online will need to obtain by mail an access code from them. Please note the following:

Due to the exceptional COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, we are aware that several businesses will have to issue records of employment for their employees. Please find below the latest Service Canada instructions:

  • If your employee is sick or quarantined due to COVID-19, enter in Box 16 – Reason for issuing this ROE: “Code D – Illness or injury”.
  • If your employee stops working due to shortage of work or shutdown due to COVID-19, enter in Box 16 – Reason for issuing this ROE: “Code A – Shortage of work”.
  • If your employee is not working due to other COVID-19 related reasons, enter in Box 16 – Reason for issuing this ROE: “Code E: Quit” or “Code N: Leave of absence”.
  • NB: In any case, do not add comments. Comments should be added only when absolutely necessary. Adding comments causes the ROE to be pulled from the automatic processing queue for review by a Service Canada agent, thus slowing down the process.

The Ontario Emergency Essential Businesses include:

  • Hardware stores and stores that provide hardware products necessary to the essential operations of residences and businesses;
  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate.

Although there is no specific mention of building supply stores, they do carry products and supply hardware and services for the essential operation of residences and buildings so they would be included as well as the supply chain to our sector.  From the point of view of our association, I interpret the legislation to include us as a service to the sector as we are providing a level of training and communication to our members in health and safety, driver training etc.

Websites to obtain immediate information on the Covid-19 epidemic and information on government relief programs:

We will continue to communicate to our members information that will help them mitigate the impact of this crisis on your business and employees.

David Campbell
The Lumber and Building Materials Association of Ontario