COVID-19: Cross country update (August 22-24, 2020)

August 24, 2020


The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Government Extends Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Support for Furloughed Employees for Four Weeks

The Government announced the proposed extension of the current treatment of furloughed employees under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) by four weeks from August 30 to September 26.  For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

Surplus Food Rescue Program Provides up to $15.5 Million to Canadian Fish and Seafood Industry

The Federal Government highlighted support through the Surplus Food Rescue Program in relation to Canada’s fish and seafood industry. The program will purchase up to $15.5 million of surplus fish and redistribute it to families in need.

The Surplus Food Rescue program is a $50-million federal initiative designed to repurpose and redistribute food inventories to vulnerable Canadians while avoiding food waste. The surpluses are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic closing the restaurant and hospitality industries.

For more information about the Surplus Food Rescue Program, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

New Temporary Public Policy Will Allow Visitors to Apply for a Work Permit Without Having to Leave Canada

Visitors currently in Canada who have received a valid job offer will be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit and receive that permit without having to leave the country.

To be eligible, an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must: (i) have a valid status in Canada as a visitor on August 24, 2020 and remain in Canada; (ii) have a job offer; (iii) submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than March 31, 2021; and (iv) meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

This temporary policy change will benefit employers who face difficulties finding the workers they need, as well as those temporary residents who would like to contribute their labour and skills to aid in Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about this new public policy, visit the Government of Canada’s website.


British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Play ball! Sport moves into Phase 3

British Columbia moves into Phase 3 of viaSport’s Return to Sports Guidelines. The guidelines provide recommendations related to returning to different types of sports while adhering to the current public health recommendations. Under Phase 3, amateur sport activities may engage in additional training opportunities, modified games and matches and league play and competitions within sport cohorts.

For more information, visit the B.C. Government’s website.



The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Regina Public Schools’ Updated Reopening Plan Includes Cohorting, Start Dates

Classes will begin in Regina Public Schools on September 8, 2020, with daily attendance resuming on September 14, 2020. The update includes the following information:

  • Students will be split by last name to determine who will attend classes on September 8 and 10. The rest of the students will go on September 9 and 11.
  • Students will be required to wear non-medical masks at school for grades 4 to 12.
  • Families will obtain more specific information from the individual schools on August 26, 2020.



The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Province Announces $100 Million Safe Schools Funding Available

The provincial government plans to invest $100 million into a “Safe Schools fund” to ensure safe and healthy learning environments as the pandemic continues. Having already added $48 million to the fund, the government committed to an additional $52 million. School divisions will be able to access the one-time funding to keep students and staff safe while learning. The funding will be distributed on a per-student basis with a focus on the following:

  • providing non-medical and medical masks and personal protective equipment for students, teachers and staff;
  • enhancing cleaning and sanitization, including more supplies and custodial staffing;
  • increasing bus transportation capacity, including additional bus drivers and routes; and
  • ensuring substitute teachers and educational staff are available to keep schools open and children learning.

For more information, see the Government’s News Release.

The Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba Announce Additional Support for Quality Early Learning and Child Care across the Province

The Governments of Canada and Manitoba announced a one-year, Canada-Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care Agreement allocating more than $15 million for 2020-21.  This agreement included a one-time, $1.5 million COVID-19 Response Grant for facilities that re-opened during the pandemic. For more information, see the Government’s News Release.

When to Send Employees for Testing

The provincial government reminds employers to only send employees for testing if they have symptoms or if testing has been recommended by public health officials. For more information about screening, visit the Manitoba Covid-19 Screening Tool page.

Shut Down Maple Leaf Foods for a 2-week Clean, Say Workers in Brandon Plant

Employees at the Maple Leaf plant in Brandon have requested an immediate closure to implement a deep clean of the facility and to allow all employees to get tested for COVID-19. With more and more cases being announced in the province, employees are worried that the overcrowded facility may lead to additional cases.



The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Indoor Capacity for Meeting and Event Facilities is Expanded

The Ontario Government announced that facilities renting out professional meeting and event spaces, which include convention centres, hotels, motels, resorts, banquet halls and conference centres, can have up to 50 guests for each indoor meeting room or event space within the facility.

Ontario Provides Support to Brewery to Combat COVID-19 Outbreak

Ontario is providing New Ontario Brewing Co. with $294,000 from the Ontario Together Fund to invest in the retooling and purchasing of production equipment to combat COVID-19.  New Ontario Brewing Co. plans on producing more than 100,000 litres of PureNorth hand sanitizer.



The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Renewal

On August 19, the Québec government adopted an Order to renew the state of public health emergency throughout the Quebec territory and extend the measures provided for by Orders in Council until August 26.

Montréal – State of Emergency Renewal

On August 22, the Montréal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until August 27.


Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 19 août, le gouvernement du Québec a adopté un décret pour renouveler l’état d’urgence sanitaire sur tout le territoire québécois et prolongé les mesures prises par arrêtés ministériels jusqu’au 26 août.

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 22 août, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 27 août sur l’ensemble de son territoire.


Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

The Department of Education, Culture, and Employment has released a bulletin that provides further information on the procedures to be followed during the reopening of schools, including physical distancing, wearing masks and COVID-19 screening processes. It also highlights some challenges that could be faced with the new learning experience facing students. The informational bulletin details some specific areas of student wellness and support, such as the accessibility of counseling services.

For more information, see the Education Bulletin.


Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.


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