The Employer Health Tax (EHT) is a payroll tax paid by employers based on their total annual Ontario remuneration, and has a top rate of 1.95 per cent.
Private-sector employers with total annual Ontario remuneration of less than $5 million are currently eligible for an EHT exemption on up to $490,000 of their payroll. As a result of the exemption, about 85 per cent of private-sector employers do not pay EHT.
Private-sector employers (except registered charities) with total annual Ontario remuneration over $5 million, and public-sector employers are not eligible for the exemption.
In order to provide immediate financial relief to employers during this time when their businesses are impacted by the COVID‑19 outbreak, the government proposes to retroactively raise the EHT exemption from $490,000 to $1 million for 2020. The exemption would return to its current level of $490,000 on January 1, 2021.
Increasing the exemption to $1 million would provide additional EHT relief of up to $9,945 per eligible employer. With this additional relief, eligible employers could benefit by up to $19,500 in total EHT relief. About 57,000 private-sector employers would pay less EHT, including about 30,000 who would not pay EHT in 2020.