The Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on business brought on by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.
“During this unprecedented period of uncertainty and hardship, our government is doing everything possible to support businesses and protect jobs,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “By making this change today, we are building upon the substantial financial help we are providing business owners and workers. The top priority is to keep people safe.”
All employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible for the provisions of the relief package and can defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. They will not be required to opt in to receive this benefit.
Additionally, the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments. They will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period. There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.
“We have worked closely with the Government of Ontario to help Ontario businesses as they face this unprecedented challenge,” said Elizabeth Witmer, Chair of the WSIB. “We’re here to help.”
The relief program is part of a $17 billion package included in Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
The government’s action plan will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.
Additionally, through the WSIB, the government reduced costs to employers by a new rate framework and the elimination of the unfunded liability charge, putting more than $2 billion back into the economy.
“Our government is working day and night to provide Ontarians with certainty and support during this difficult time. This Relief Package being implemented by the WSIB will help sustain businesses, protect our economy and save jobs,” said Minister McNaughton.
The new measure builds on the government’s previous actions to support business and protect jobs.