COVID-19 Emergency Response Act Receives Royal Assent, Parliament Adjourns

On Wednesday, March 25, Bill C-13, An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, passed the House of Commons and Senate. The Bill received Royal Assent the same day. The Bill implements, as part of the response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), certain income tax measures by:

a) introducing a one-time additional payment under the GST/HST tax credit;
b) providing temporary additional amounts under the Canada Child Benefit;
c) reducing required minimal withdrawals from registered retirement income funds by 25% for 2020; and
d) providing eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months.

The Bill also:

• enacts the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act to authorize the making of income support payments to workers who suffer a loss of income for reasons related to the coronavirus disease 2019.
• amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to authorize additional payments to the provinces and territories for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2019.
• amends the Food and Drugs Act to, among other things, authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations preventing shortages of therapeutic products in Canada or alleviating those shortages or their effects, in order to protect human health.
• amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things, create a regime which provides for a leave related to COVID-19 of up to 16 weeks. It also amends that Act to provide for the repeal of that regime and to provide for a quarantine leave under the medical leave regime.
• amends the Patent Act to, among other things, provide that the Commissioner must, on the application of the Minister of Health, authorize the Government of Canada and any person specified in the application to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to a public health emergency that is a matter of national concern.
• amends the Employment Insurance Act to give the Minister of Employment and Social Development the power to make interim orders for the purpose of mitigating the economic effects of COVID-19. 

The text of the bill can be found here.