This year has been filled with unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Canadians unexpectedly had to work from home which resulted in millions of Canadians setting up their work space in their kitchens, bedrooms, and living rooms.

In response, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, provided today additional details on how the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made the home office expenses deduction available to more Canadians, and simplified the way employees can claim these expenses on their personal income tax return for the 2020 tax year. Employees with larger claims for home office expenses can still choose to use the existing detailed method to calculate their home office expenses deduction.

Employees who worked from home more than 50% of the time over a period of a least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 will now be eligible to claim the home office expenses deduction for 2020. The use of a shorter qualifying period will ensure that more employees can claim the deduction than would otherwise have been possible under long standing practice.

A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400. Under this new method, employees will not have to get Form T2200 or Form T2200S completed and signed by their employer.

To simplify the process for employees choosing the detailed method, the CRA launched today simplified forms (Form T2200S and Form T777S) and a calculator designed specifically to assist with the calculation of eligible home office expenses.

For more information on working from home expenses go to Canada.ca/cra-home-workspace-expenses.

Read More

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network released their latest policy brief, Realizing the Full Potential of Virtual Care in Ontario. This timely report underscores the need to permanently integrate virtual care into Ontario’s health care system. While the recommendations are directed to the Ontario government, the report truly underscores the national importance of virtual care, particularly with respect to pandemic preparedness. Realizing the Full Potential of Virtual Care in Ontario provides the Government of Ontario with four recommendations to ensure virtual care is not only permanently integrated in our healthcare system, but is more equitable, accessible, and widely adopted:

  • Develop a comprehensive framework for virtual care in Ontario.
  • Modify the existing fee code system to allow for the permanent delivery of virtual care and provide physicians with training and knowledge supports to allow care to be delivered virtually.
  • Focus on equity to improve access to virtual care, including ensuring all Ontarians have internet access so that the expansion of virtual care options does not exacerbate inequities for patients in rural, remote, northern, and Indigenous communities.
  • Support employers’ continued investment in virtual care for their employees that expands beyond care delivered virtually though the health system.
Read More

All I Want For Christmas

Mary is a great boss. Each year, her team looks forward to Christmas cookies, a nice office party, and some amazing gifts. What she doesn’t know is that she could be making a “naughty” tax mistake!

While most employees understand that cash gifts are recognized as taxable benefits from employment, the rules can be quite unclear for near-cash or non-cash gifts.

Near cash gifts, such as gift certificates, vouchers, and even securities and stocks (anything that can easily be converted into cash) are not exempt from taxation in the hands of employees.

Subject to certain exemptions, Mary must also include non-cash gifts in her employees’ income if the fair market value of all gifts are greater than $500 for the year.  The taxable benefit to her employees would be the difference between the fair market value of the gifts and $500.

Any small or trivial gifts Mary buys her staff (such as a coffee mug) are, however, tax free!

Are you unsure about the tax treatment of certain items? Have you made mistakes in the past but want to sort them out before the tax man finds out? Our experienced lawyers can help put your mind at ease.

John Is Coming To Town

As the clock strikes midnight, the doorbell sounds. Unfortunately, it’s not the jolly old man your kids were expecting. Instead, you are greeted by your ex-husband John.

While most separation/divorce agreements and parenting plans layout clear visitation and custody arrangements, conflicts may still arise. And, at times, parents feel that prior arrangements have become unsuitable. 

Whether it’s due to changes in the child’s or family’s needs, an unclear agreement, or because of emerging disagreements, we are here for you. 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa

As Ashley sets the star on top of her Christmas tree, her secretary adds a candle to her menorah.

While Christmas may take the gingerbread for the most popular holiday, Canada is home to a multitude of cultures and traditional celebrations!

Employers have an obligation to provide religious accommodations to their employees, provided that there is no undue hardship to the employer in doing so.

Unsure if you are being “naughty or nice?” Our lawyers are ready to provide clarity and solutions to fit your unique circumstance.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Tim sips on his eggnog as he finalizes his gifts for his kids. A tablet for Johnny, new tires for Terry and a gift card for Sophia. While he rushes to purchase all of these gifts before the holidays, Tim is forgetting about one crucial deadline: the December 31 RESP contribution deadline!

To receive the gift of a maximum government grant of $500/year, don’t forget to contribute $2,500 to your child’s RESP by the annual deadline. 

Tim forgot to contribute last year, but don’t worry Tim! You can catch up and carry-forward unused contributions (one year at a time). If Tim remembers to do so, he can contribute funds by December 31 to make up for last year ($0 contribution) and this year. To maximize the tax-deferred investment, Tim can contribute $5,000 (Santa has been very kind to Tim this year) to receive the full $1,000 grant.

Whether you are interested in tax planning or have tax issues that are concerning you this holiday season, we can help.

 

If any of these tales ring true or you have other issues, we are happy to speak with you. We are currently offering 30 minutes of free legal advice to chamber and association members. Enjoy your holiday season and let us handle your legal concerns.

Contact us at the information below or CLICK HERE to book a consultation.

The Legal Department is a service under the Canadian Chamber’s Chamber Business Services program created for chambers, associations and their members to access legal services at a discount. 

We launched The Legal Department in November. If you’d like to find out more about how you and your members can benefit from the services the team at The Legal Department, reach out to their team.

info@thelegaldepartment.com

(647) 952-0829

Read More

Please join us in welcoming our newest members to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce:

TGH Safety

TGH Safety Consulting and Training Center is a Canadian-based full service Safety business founded in September 2000. Todd Konrad and his team of professionals assist industry and other organizations in Ontario with contracts with major clients for other Canadian locations to better manage their safety programs and projects.

Progressive Contractors Association

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry.  Our member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers across Canada, represented primarily by progressive labour unions.PCA provides advocacy, labour-management advice, networking opportunities, and organizational services to its member community.

Read More

Let your Benefits work for you!  – The Chambers Plan® can help you find the ideal balance of cost coverage and flexibility for your business.  With many features built into every policy, the Chambers Plan is a simple, stable and smart choice for your group benefit needs.

SIMPLE

The Chambers Group Insurance Plan is unlike any other for small businesses, including one person companies. All it takes is membership in a participating Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade. Then your active, for-profit company in any industry, is eligible for Plan coverage.

STABLE

The Plan has an unbeatable record of price stability with all surpluses staying in the Plan and helping to lower premiums. For more than 40 years we’ve provided thousands of Canadian businesses offering fair, competitive prices, and we’ve kept customers year after year with equally fair renewal rates. 

SMART

Work smarter, not harder, by using my-benefits®, your online personal assistant, allowing you to maintain employee records, calculate payroll deductions, and receive your billings online from anywhere at any time. And my-benefits for employees provide online access to their Plan information, claims usage, and electronic claims submission, reducing your workload.

Visit https://www.chamberplan.ca/ for more information or contact lmaclachlan@selectpath.ca.

Read More

Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott has been elected the 159th Warden of Lambton County.

Warden Marriott was elected to the position by his peers on Lambton County Council during this morning’s Council meeting. The County Warden is the Head of Council for The Corporation of the County of Lambton.

“I look forward to providing strong leadership for our community through my role as Lambton County Warden,” said Warden Marriott. “I am dedicated to working with County Council and staff in handling the challenges and changes we are facing and will continue to face as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and I will encourage collaboration and participation from among all of our municipal leaders in order to continue building a bright future for Lambton County.”

Warden Marriott, a cash crop farmer, has served on Enniskillen Township Council for the past 26 years, including seven years as Deputy Mayor and the last nine years as Mayor.

Also at this morning’s meeting, Point Edward Mayor Bev Hand was elected to the position of Deputy Warden. Deputy Warden Hand joined Point Edward Council in 2006 and has served as Mayor of Point Edward since 2016. Also of note, Deputy Warden Hand’s mother, Barb Horner, served as the first female Warden of Lambton County in 1984.

Read More

Huron Farm encourages businesses to support local businesses facing financial loss. They can do this by donating a part of their sales to a fund setup to help businesses in need here in Sarnia-Lambton.

Make a difference today by donating.

With the help of donations from our community, Huron Farm can help support small businesses recover. They can do this by providing them with a little financial support so they can cover some of their expenses and stay afloat.

To Donate: Contact Nikki Noble from Huron Farm at huron.farm@outlook.com

Read More

Small businesses continue to face challenges and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic and the government is providing support to ensure they can stay in business.

Since the spring, the Canada Emergency Business Account has helped almost 800,000 small businesses and not-for-profits in Canada. Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced the expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

Starting on Friday, December 4, 2020, eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses.

Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.

This means the additional loan effectively increases CEBA loans from the existing $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 will be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid on time.

As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the application deadline for CEBA has also been extended to March 31, 2021. 

To apply, eligible businesses and not-for-profits need to contact the financial institution that provided their initial CEBA loan and provide the appropriate information and documentation.

Read More

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has launched a new Business Insurance Action Team (BIAT) to support small businesses in Ontario’s hospitality sector that are having difficulty finding insurance as a result of the pandemic.

How Does BIAT Work?

BIAT will help to find viable insurance solutions for as many small restaurants, bars, pubs and banquet halls in Ontario as possible.

BIAT consists of three steps:

  1. Working with their insurance representative – e.g., an insurance broker, agent or managing general agent (MGA) – a business owner that is unable to find insurance submits an application to BIAT.
  2. A risk manager determines if the application meets the eligibility requirements. If it does, the risk manager assesses the applicant’s risk profile and makes risk control and loss-prevention recommendations to improve the insurability of the applicant’s business. The applicant, through their insurance representative, must commit to undertake the risk control and loss-prevention recommendations within an agreed upon time period.
  3. The applicant’s insurance representative subsequently works with a BIAT insurer to secure insurance coverage for the applicant. An applicant is not obligated to accept coverage from BIAT, and there is no guarantee that all businesses can obtain coverage.

It is the industry’s priority to ensure consumers can find coverage and preferably without the involvement of BIAT. BIAT coverage will not be as comprehensive as the coverage found through the regular insurance market.

For more information on eligibility & applications, click here to visit their website. 

Read More

Partners and Sponsors