May 14, 2020
FAO Releases 2020 Spring Economic and Budget Outlook


On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released its Spring 2020 Economic and Budget Outlook report. The report shows that the partial shutdown of the Ontario economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic will deliver a severe blow to the province’s revenues, increase spending, and result in substantially higher deficits and debt.

The FAO projects Ontario’s budget deficit will quadruple to $41 billion in 2020-21, the largest in Ontario’s history. Higher deficits will result in sharply increased borrowing and debt, raising Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio to a record 49.7 per cent in 2020-21, up almost 10 percentage points from last year. Even as the economy recovers through 2021, Ontario’s debt burden would remain elevated at 48.7 per cent of GDP next year.

Ontario’s economic recovery will depend on the success of the pandemic containment measures and the pace at which the economy can be safely reopened. Assuming the pandemic shutdown is gradually eased through the summer, the FAO projects that Ontario’s economy will steadily strengthen into 2021, helping to reduce the budget deficit to $25.3 billion in 2021-22.

However, there is significant risk that reopening the economy could take longer than expected due to continued public health concerns. If Ontario’s economic recovery is delayed, budget deficits and provincial debt would be much higher, pushing Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio above 52 per cent next year.

Quick Facts:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and government measures to contain the virus will have a significant impact on Ontario’s economy, with real GDP projected to decline by a record 9.0 per cent in 2020.
  • Ontario revenues are projected to drop by $21.7 billion or 14.0 per cent in 2020-21, much larger than the revenue decline which occurred during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
  • The FAO’s projection of a $41 billion budget deficit in 2020-21 would be considerably larger than the province’s previous record deficits of $19.3 billion in 2009-10 and $12.4 billion in 1992-93.
  • Ontario’s interest on debt is projected to increase to 9.8 cents of every dollar of revenue in 2020-21, up from 8.0 cents in 2019-20.

To read the full report visit or click here .

Declaration of Emergency Extended While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy

Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely. The Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2. 

The declaration will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people. Since the emergency was first declared on March 17, the government has taken over 150 actions to help protect individuals, families, and businesses from the impacts of COVID-19.

Click here to read the complete News release.

Ontario Opening Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves

The Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15, 2020. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.  

The announcement was made on Saturday, May 9, 2020, by Premier Doug Ford, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

Click here to read the complete News release.

COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions for Employers - Updated as of May 8, 2020

As the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the globe, employers need to know their legal rights and obligations as it relates to the Canadian workplace.

The following are some of the most pressing  Frequently Asked Questions.

Click here  to view the COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions for Employers - Updated as of May 8, 2020 - Sherrard Kuzz LLP Employment and Labour Lawyers

Please Note: Information changes daily (sometimes within a day), including the details of the various government initiatives, announcements and regulations. As such, it is important to carefully review each updated Briefing Note to ensure you are aware of current information. Some content in older briefing notes may no longer apply.

If you have additional questions and/or require assistance, please contact your Sherrard Kuzz LLP lawyer or, if you are not yet a client of Sherrard Kuzz LLP, our firm at  with the re line: COVID-19. We’ll respond promptly.

Letter of Interest/Request for information - Design-Build Standing Offers for office fit-up projects 
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is contemplating the establishment of Design-Build Standing Offers (DBSOs) to deliver a full range of office fit-up projects, in the National Capital Area and potentially across Canada, and is seeking information from respondents with interest, individually or as part of a consortium/joint venture, in one or more aspects of the proposed approach.

The details on how to submit your response can be found in the notice Design-Build Standing Offers for Office Fit-ups ( EP008-210016/A ). Please provide your comments, ideas, responses or information no later than May 22, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Federal Government Announce Provincial Infrastructure Investment Program

The federal government is preparing to spend more than $3 billion in infrastructure money on projects to make facilities more pandemic-resistant and encourage outdoor activities in the age of COVID-19, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna says.
  • The total value of the program is 10% of the $33.5B Investing in Canada Program or $3.35B
  • Ontario’s share likely to be around 40% or $1.34B
  • The program will be delivered through agreements with provinces and territories
  • Promises more flexibility, faster approvals
  • Feds will pick up 80% 
  • Eligible projects include projects such as retrofitting and upgrading municipal or provincial buildings, including to allow for things like physical distancing or better hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the virus. health facilities, schools and recreational projects such as parks, trails, bike lanes or multi-use paths
  • projects must be completed before the end of the 2021 construction season.
  • The federal government’s release states Minister McKenna consulted with the provinces and territories over the last two months working with provinces and territories to determine the best ways to use existing programs to respond to some COVID-19 needs
  • The program appears to be targeted to help smaller local contractors and local governments. School boards and hospitals with relatively small projects (given the completion date of December 31, 2021) that are in the advanced planning stages and ready to go
  • Local associations should consider pressing their local governments, school boards and hospitals to look into making an application

Click here  to read the full article .

WSIB Industries/Sectors with Highest COVID-19 related Claim volume

The WSIB’s charts illustrating COVID19 claims as of May 5th and May 11th. The tables list the industries/sectors with the highest COVID-19 related claim volume. North American Industrial Classification System class references are in parenthesis. Any industry/sector not listed has fewer than five allowed claims.

Construction is still in the less than 5 category.

To date:

  • 513 claims have been allowed
  • 164 claims not allowed and
  • 2,807 claims pending.
The date and additional information can be found here .

TCA Resources on COVID-19

To access TCA dedicated Covid-19 Updates, click here .