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ODHA COVID-19 FAQs

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COVID-19 Risk Management Guide for ODHA‘S DENTAL HYGIENISTS

We are living through an unpredictable time across the country, and the world, as we try to reconcile the new reality imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last week alone, governments have asked businesses, and indeed entire societies, to shut down—and unfortunately, no one is certain how long these measures will be enforced.

We all know that we must do whatever we can to flatten the curve and protect the most vulnerable in our society. Still, no matter if you are a business owner, independently employed, or an employee, it is understandable that you may be concerned about the future of your practice and your finances. And, as a healthcare professional, you also have to consider an added complexity: the continuity of care for your patients or clients.

To help you navigate this turbulent landscape, we’ve put together this risk management guide to address the following topics:

  1. Ensuring Financial Resilience;
  2. Understanding the Role of your ODHA Professional Insurance.
Graphic of a business person with a checklist and pencil to showcase the blog post topic of how business insurance will respond to COVID-19

ENSURING YOUR FINANCIAL RESILIENCE

The government has introduced a host of measures to help individuals, businesses, and the economy-at-large during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some of the government assistance programs that are available to you during this time.

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance:

Who can access Employment Insurance (EI) and how can they apply?

  • FOR? Employees that do not have paid sick leave, and are: sick, quarantined, or caring for others.
  • HOW? Employees can apply anytime. They do not have to wait a week or provide a medical certificate at this time.

Who can access the EI Work-Sharing (EI WS) Program and how can they apply?

  • FOR? Employees who agree to reduce normal working hours as a result of circumstances beyond the control of their employer are eligible for EI benefits up to 76 weeks.
  • HOW? Before the employee applies, the employer must review the Application Guide and provide employees with a copy of the Employee Annex.
  • Completed applications are sent to:
    • Ontario: FAX: 1-866-720-6094
    • Atlantic Provinces: FAX: 1-902-566-7697
    • Quebec: EMAIL: QC-DPMTDS-LMSDPB-TP-WS-GD@servicecanada.gc.ca
    • Western Canada and Territories: FAX 1-604-666-8920

If you are not eligible for Employment Insurance (i.e. are self-employed, or cannot earn an income due to child care needs as a result of school closures):

Who can access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit ($2000 a month up to four months)?

  • FOR?
    • Workers, including self-employed, who are: sick, quarantined, caring for others sick with COVID-19 who do not qualify for EI benefits.
    • Those who are still employed but not receiving income;
    • AND, parents with children who require supervision due to school closures, and cannot earn employment income, regardless of if they qualify for EI or not.
  • Click here to learn more.

If you are a small business owner, you can:

Access a wage subsidy:

  • For small businesses facing revenue loss, the government is proposing a temporary wage subsidy with a duration of up to three months;
  • Subsidy will equate to 75% of remuneration paid during that period: for the latest subsidy updates please visit the government website.
  • Businesses can benefit immediately by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employee’s remuneration.

Defer tax payments:

  • All businesses can defer any income tax amounts owing between March 18, 2020 and September 2020, until August 31, 2020.
  • This applies to tax balances due and installments under Part I of the Income Tax Act.
  • No interest or penalties will apply.

Obtain loans:

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) are offering support for small businesses through:

  • Small Business Loans: Loans of up to $100,000 to buy equipment, software or cover other business expenses. Businesses can postpone capital payment for the first six months, and repay the loan over four years.
  • Working Capital Loans: Loans of more than $100,000 for working capital to: increase inventory to meet demand or leverage discounts offered by suppliers. Payments can mimic your cash flow patterns, and no personal assets will be taken as collateral.

UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE OF YOUR INSURANCE

In the past few weeks, many of our clients have asked questions about how their professional insurance policies will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are our responses:

Does my ODHA Professional Liability Insurance Coverage offer any protection if I am unable to provide a service as per my contract?

  • If you (or a sub-consultant to you) are unable to deliver your professional service and this causes a financial loss to your customer, there may be some coverage under the policy.
  • Unfortunately, if there is decreased demand for your service due to the pandemic, there will be no coverage under this policy.

Do “Clinic Insurance” and “Business Interruption Insurance” cover an outbreak of COVID-19 on my premises?

  • Clinic (Property) Insurance and Business Interruption Insurance are only triggered when there is direct physical damage to, or loss of, the property insured under the policy.
  • While contamination with COVID-19 may render your property unusable for a time, it is unlikely that it would physically damage your property.
  •  As a result, an outbreak of COVID-19 would typically not be covered under your Property Insurance or Business Interruption Insurance.
    • An exception: If a decontaminant you use to disinfect your property following an outbreak causes physical damage, the policy may cover your loss.

What if someone contracts COVID-19 on my premises? Will any of my policies respond then?

  • If you have purchased Commercial General Liability Insurance, then it may respond, as the definition of bodily injury under this policy includes “sickness” or “disease”. This policy would be triggered if any third party visitors claim to acquire COVID-19 on your premises or as a result of your operations.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance also contains a Personal and Advertising injury limit, which could offer some protection in the event that a third party claims public defamation as a result of contracting the virus on your premises or as a result of your operations.
  • Finally, Commercial General Liability Insurance typically includes an Employer’s Liability limit, which offers coverage for the employer in the event that any employee contracts the virus on-site, or as a result of your operations, and decides to make a claim against you.  It is important to note that Employer’s Liability Insurance only applies for employees that are not required by law to be covered under WSIB.

Am I liable if I ask certain employees to undergo testing or quarantine due to suspected COVID-19 exposure?

  • Yes. It is recommended that employers do not single out employees for testing, as it could imply discrimination.
  • In this case, Employment Practices Insurance (if you’ve purchased it) could help combat allegations stemming from discrimination or harassment based on ethnicity as it relates to increased possibility of contracting or carrying COVID-19.

Will trip cancellation insurance, or my benefits cover me, if I travel now that Canada has issued a worldwide travel advisory?

  • It is likely that any trips that were purchased before the travel advisory went into place will still be eligible for coverage under trip cancellation insurance, travel medical insurance, or any benefits you may have through your workplace (depending on your specific plan).
  • Unfortunately, any trips that were booked after the travel advisory went into place on March 13, 2020, and until the advisory is lifted, will not be covered by any insurance provider.

This is a challenging time for all of us. Your PROLINK team wants to do its best to support you. If you have questions or concerns about your business, your continuity planning, or your health or travel insurance, please connect with us. We are only a call or an email away.

Inquiries

To speak to your ODHA Account Manager, please use the form below:


Personal InsuranceCommercial EnterpriseAssociations & Affinity GroupsLife & Benefits


Personal InsuranceCommercial EnterpriseAssociations & Affinity GroupsLife & Benefits

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