Ontario establishes tax deferrals, special payments to support employers, workers

Ontario employers suddenly concerned about cash flow in the wake of the coronavirus will see some relief from measures announced by the provincial government in a special fiscal and economic update on Wednesday.

The government is enacting a temporary change to the employer health tax exemption, cutting it by $355 million. With the change, 57,000 — or 90 per cent of — private sector employers won’t have to pay the tax in 2020.

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As for tax deferrals, the government is setting aside $6 billion to establish a five-month, interest and penalty-free period for businesses to pay the majority of provincially administered taxes, up until Aug. 31, 2020.

The province is also working with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to allow employers to defer payments for a six-month period, resulting in $1.9 billion in financial relief.

Employees will also see certain direct supports. In particular, those with children suddenly unable to attend school or daycare will receive a one-time $200 payment for children up to age 12 and $250 for those with special needs.

Read: Ontario, Alberta providing new leaves for employees impacted by coronavirus