COVID-19 Update
Feb 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on February 24 2022

By Adriel N. Clayton, Martin U. Wissmath and Terrance S. Carter
   
 

Extension Proposed for Expanded Benefits Under Local Lockdown Program

The federal government is proposing to extend the availability of certain COVID-19 relief, including the Local Lockdown Program which was introduced through Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19. As discussed in the January 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update, the Local Lockdown Program allows organizations, such as charities and not-for-profits, to qualify for relief under the Tourism and Hospitality Program even if they are not in the tourism and hospitality sector.

To qualify, organizations must have been affected by a qualifying public health restriction for at least seven days during a claim period, their stopped activities must account for at least 25% of their total eligible revenue during the period prior to the claim period, and they must have had at least a 40% revenue decline for the current claim period compared to the prior reference period.

Eligibility for the Local Lockdown Program had also been expanded from December 19, 2021 to February 12, 2022 to include employers subject to capacity-limiting restrictions of 50% or more, and to reduce the revenue decline threshold from 40% to 25%, with eligible employers receiving wage and rent subsidies between 25% and 75% depending on their degree of revenue loss. However, according to an announcement from the Department of Finance released on February 9, 2022, the federal government intends to extend this expanded access to these benefits for one additional month to March 12, 2022.

Ontario Moves to Next Phase of Reopening

The Government of Ontario is expediting its three-step plan for lifting capacity limits to ease public health measures across the province. As reported in the January 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update, capacity limits were to be increased effective as of February 21, 2022, followed by further easing of limits on March 14, 2022. However, in accordance with a government announcement released on February 14, 2022, capacity limits were eased as of February 17, 2022, with further easing on March 1, 2022.

As February 17, 2022, social gathering limits were increased to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors; organizations and facilities that are permitted to “opt-in” to proof of vaccination requirements are now permitted to operate at 100% capacity; and indoor religious services, rites, and ceremonies may accommodate the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance (with no capacity limits for those that opt in to require proof of vaccination for all attendees).

As of March 1, 2022, provided that public health and health system indicators continue to improve, capacity limits in all remaining indoor public settings will be lifted. Proof of vaccination requirements for all settings will also be lifted, though “businesses and other settings” will be allowed to continue to require proof of vaccination. However, masking requirements will continue to remain in place, with a specific timeline to lift this measure to be announced later.

   
 

Read the February 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update