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Measures Announced by the Ontario Government for Businesses

March 26, 2020 

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments

Ontario will provide employers with approximately $1.9 billion in relief by allowing them to defer WSIB payments for up to six months. Specifically, Schedule 1 employers (i.e., employers operating under the collective liability insurance principle) that owe premiums to the WSIB may defer reporting and payments until 31 August 2020. Deferral is also available to Schedule 2 organizations (i.e., employers that are individually responsible for the full cost of accident claims filed by their workers). During this deferral period, interest will not accrue on outstanding payments and no penalties will be charged.

Tax Measures

Doubling of 2020 Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption

Currently, the first $490,000 of payroll is exempt from Ontario EHT for eligible private-sector employers. This exemption must be shared by an associated group of employers. Employers that qualify for the exemption pay EHT at a rate of 1.95% on payroll in excess of $490,000. However, the exemption is eliminated for private-sector employers (including groups of associated employers) with annual Ontario payrolls over $5,000,000. Employers that do not qualify for the exemption are subject to graduated rates ranging from 0.98% to 1.95%, with the 1.95% rate generally applicable for payrolls over $400,000.

Ontario will retroactively raise the EHT exemption from $490,000 to $1,000,000 for 2020. The exemption will return to $490,000 on 1 January 2021. EHT for an eligible employer with a payroll of $1,300,000 in 2020, for example, will be reduced from $15,795 (($1,300,000 - $490,000) x 1.95%) to $5,850 (($1,300,000 - $1,000,000) x 1.95%). 

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