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We have created a dedicated page on our site to provide you with current and relevant information and resources to help Ontario's co-operatives through this difficult time, and will continue to provide updates as they become available. You can also access the links to our Member-Owner COVID-19 Information & Resources here. There is also a great resource called "Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health" by Rehab 4 Addiction, an online resource to people dealing with substance abuse. 


A MESSAGE FROM OCA

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION

ONTARIO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INFORMATION

A MESSAGE FROM CMC

A MESSAGE FROM CCUA

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION

 


A MESSAGE FROM OCA

OCA strongly believes that co-operatives are part of the solution to foster economic recovery. We also know that the world will never be the same as it was before. We encourage Ontario co-operatives to share their stories with us on how your co-operative is helping its community during the crisis, and your thoughts on how we can help rebuild a different, better future. The more stories we can collect and share, the more awareness we can build on how co-operatives are solution providers. We need to plan for a different future now - tomorrow needs us. Send your story to us at [email protected].

If you have specific questions or concerns, we want to help. Please contact us directly at 519-831-0850 or at [email protected]


PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION

October 2, 2020: the Government of Ontario made regulatory amendments under the Co-operative Corporations Act (CCA) that extend the temporary legislative amendments permitting corporations governed under the CCA to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, notwithstanding current requirements. These temporary legislative amendments have now been extended to end on May 31, 2021. View a plain language explanation here.

All co-operative corporations need to adhere to the protective measures that have been put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Providing corporations with the flexibility to host annual meetings and other meetings of significance virtually will help ensure Ontario corporations have choices and can meet their obligations under applicable statutes. You can review these changes at:

The ministry will continue to monitor COVID-19-related developments and will communicate any additional updates in future, as necessary.

Questions about the extension of legislative amendments related to virtual meetings can be directed to Victoria Walker, Manager, Policy and Business Law Unit at [email protected].

You may wish to visit the following pages for additional information:

 

July 24, 2020: Important Information Regarding Emergency Order Temporary Replacement Provisions

The declared emergency was terminated on Friday July 24th, 2020 when the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 came into force (see s. 17: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/20r17#BK21).

The temporary suspension period (that included the emergency provisions under Emergency Order O. Reg. 107/20) extends to the 120th day after the declared emergency ended on July 24th, 2020 (which would be November 21st, 2020). This is outlined in section 189 (2) of the Co-operative Corporations Act.  This means that you are still able to hold an AGM virtually, vote electronically etc. even if its not in your bylaws (until that 120 day deadline). You can view our plan language version of those temporary provisions here for clarification on what still stands for those 120 days.

Key areas of interest...

Postponing of your co-operative’s AGM: According to those temporary replacement provisions: If the last possible date your AGM could be held, falls within the active state of emergency, you can postpone your AGM to a date within the 90 days following the final day of the state of emergency. If the last possible date your AGM could be held, falls within 30 days after the state of emergency has been declared over you can postpone your AGM to a date within 120 days of the state of emergency being declared over.

You may want to check the exact date your AGM could technically be held (15 months after your last AGM) because you might be able to extend your time the extra 30 days.  For example. If the last possible AGM date would have fallen between March 17th, 2020 and July 24, 2020, you have until October 22nd (90 days after July 24th, 2020 when the emergency order ended).  BUT, If your last possible AGM date is actually would have fallen between July 25th, 2020 and August 24th, 2020, you would have until November 21st, 2020 (120 days after July 24th, 2020 when the emergency order ended) to host your AGM.

Hosting Virtual AGM’s and Electronic Voting: According to the replacement provisions: All co-operatives, including non-profit housing co-operatives can hold electronic meetings, regardless of whether or not their articles or by-laws allow them. All members participating in the electronic meeting must be able to hear each other, and a member who votes at the meeting or establishes a communications link to the meeting is counted as present at that meeting. The requirement for voting in person is suspended temporarily, and instead, whether or not the articles or by-laws of a cooperative, including a non-profit housing co-operative, allow it, voting may take place by mail or by telephonic or electronic means.  Both of these provisions continue to be active for 120 days after the emergency order ended on July 24th, 2020 (which would be November 21st, 2020).

Hosting your AGM in person: Even though the requirement for voting in person was suspended temporarily, an in-person vote remains lawful under the Act. The Rules relating to current gathering limitations for indoor and outdoor gatherings can be found in regulations under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Regions in stage 3 are able to hold gatherings of 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors, but you also need to social distance 2 meters or more. You can find out more about the Framework for Reopening Ontario here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario.

 

May 12, 2020: the Government of Ontario passed legislative amendments in the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020 that will provide relief and flexibility to different types of corporations and businesses in Ontario, as a result of the declared emergency. These legislative amendments provide flexibility for affected corporations and businesses to, for example, and as applicable, enable them to call and hold virtual meetings, defer annual meetings in some circumstances, utilize electronic signatures, and file documents electronically.

 

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: https://files.ontario.ca/solgen-oic-meetings-for-corporations.pdf 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 [email protected].

A Plain Langage explaination of these temporary changes can be found here!

 

March 25, 2020: the Government of Ontario released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, a $17-billion response which includes $3.7 billion for “people and jobs” and $10 billion available through tax and other deferrals for “people and businesses.” The government has also opened a phone line for businesses to call with inquiries: 1-888-444-3659. You can call Monday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Direct support for the health-care system, people, families, workers and employers:

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 outlines the first steps in the province’s plan to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. The action plan will provide $7 billion in additional resources for the health-care system and direct support for people and jobs. This includes $3.3 billion in additional health-care resources; $3.7 billion to support people and jobs; and measures that will make available up to $10 billion for people and businesses, through tax and other deferrals, to improve cash flows, protect jobs and safeguard household budgets.

$3.7 billion to support people and jobs, including:

  • $75 million in urgent additional support for 194,000 low-income seniors by proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals, and $332 per month for couples, for six months starting April 2020.
  • Helping families pay for extra costs associated with school and daycare closure during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing a one-time $200 payment per child up to 12 years old, and $250 for those with special needs, including kids enrolled in private schools.
  • Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for student borrowers, in partnership with the federal government.
  • Providing new, additional support of $26 million to indigenous peoples and communities This includes emergency assistance for urban indigenous people in financial need, and covers costs for health-care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.
  • $200 million in new funding to provide temporary emergency support for people in financial need, as well as funding to municipalities and other service providers, so they can quickly respond to local needs.
  • Making electricity bills more affordable for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers through a $1.5 billion increase in electricity cost relief compared to the 2019 Budget. In addition, the province is also setting electricity prices for time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days. This helps support ratepayers who have increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for non-payment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
  • Helping to support regions that have been lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax credit – the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.
  • Supporting the timely delivery of critical food and supplies by amending a regulation that restricted delivery trucks from operating during off-peak hours.

$10 billion in support for people and businesses to improve cash flows:

  • Providing a five-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, providing $6 billion in relief to help support Ontario businesses when they need it the most.
  • Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards receive their funding.
  • Providing up to $1.9 billion in financial relief by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months. More information is now available here.

Ontario has also extended job-protection (retroactive to January 25, 2020 for employees unable to work because:

  • The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is acting in accordance with public health information or direction.
  • The employer directs the employee not to work.
  • The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure.

Ontario employers are also restricted from asking for doctor’s notes for COVID-19 related leaves, including quarantine, self-isolation or childcare responsibilities due to COVID-19 related school and daycare closures. The latest WSIB information can be found here.


ONTARIO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INFORMATION

Check out the Chamber's Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit, designed to help support businesses be prepared for any human-resources or operational-related disruptions. The guidelines and resources contained in this toolkit have been prepared to assist businesses in planning for and adaption to the disruption of COVID-19 and any future influenza pandemics.


A MESSAGE FROM CO-OPERATIVES AND MUTUALS CANADA (CMC)

In this time of global health crisis, interco‑operation is a principle that needs to be put forward even more, it is the strength of our sector. Consult our list of the best COVID-19 response related content we've been able to find.


A MESSAGE FROM CANADA'S CREDIT UNIONS FROM THE CANADIAN CREDIT UNION ASSOCIATION'S WEBSITE (https://ccua.com/)

Canada’s credit unions have always put people above all. As the COVID-19 crisis rapidly unfolds, Canada’s credit unions are here for their members. Check out CCUA's new COVID-19 Guide and Government Aid Programs. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the crisis, please reach out to your credit union or find a credit union near you


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION FROM CO-OPERATIVES AND MUTUALS CANADA'S WEBSITE (https://canada.coop)

CMC is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely. We are participating in daily in conference calls with the Federal government to learn about the programs being developed to help businesses and Canadians. We are also in communication with many partners in the co-operative and mutual sector who keep us informed of their efforts to reduce the impact of this crisis.

Did you know that Canada’s financial institutions have made a commitment to support businesses and individuals through these difficult times in a responsible, fair, and compassionate manner? We encourage you to contact your credit union, caisse populaire or bank if you encounter any challenges.

We have been assured that co-operatives are eligible for Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses, as long as they qualify for the small business deduction or if they are a non-profit organization or a charitable organization.

Here are a few measures for businesses that were announced yesterday:

  • Essentially eliminating the payroll tax for three months by providing a 10% wage subsidy to small businesses – this will keep people employed;
  • Helping businesses with cash flow by deferring tax payments until August 31st;
  • Increase credit available to farmers through Farm Credit Canada; and
  • Introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.

This is builds on earlier announcements to help businesses which include:

  • A coordinated approach with the financial sector: cutting interest rates to 0.75%, and major banks increasing lending capacity by $300 billion;
  • Establishing a Business Credit Availability Program through BDC and EDC worth $10 billion – this means more short-term loans, working capital, and export insurance-credit so that more Canadian businesses are supported; and
  • Enhancing the Work-Sharing Program to help businesses pay wages so they don’t have to lay anyone off.

The government also announced that Canada and the United States are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across our border. Essential travel will continue, and the Government recognizes that it is critical to preserve supply chains between both countries to ensure things like food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides. People who must cross the border for work, and the trucking industry will not be impacted by this new measure.

Check out the following government resources for more information: