COVID-19:  Cross country update (April 7, 2020)

April 7, 2020


The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed further progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID‑19 that will help provide vital, made‑in‑Canada protective gear and medical equipment to respond to COVID-19.  Nearly 5,000 Canadian companies have offered their expertise and capacity on various projects including the production and purchase of ventilators, medical gowns, masks and hand sanitizers.

COVID-19 Disinformation

The government is investing $3 million in several organizations through the Digital Citizen Initiative’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program to help combat false and misleading COVID-19 information as well as the racism and stigmatization that are often the result.


British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Inland Ferries

Effective April 6, passengers boarding inland ferries must comply with the following changes:

  • All inland ferry passengers travelling by vehicle must remain in their vehicles for the duration of the trip;
  • All passenger amenities aboard the ferry are closed until further notice;
  • Walk-on passengers, cyclists and motorcyclists must remain inside designated zones while in the terminal and while aboard the ferry; and
  • Walk-on passengers, cyclists and motorcyclists with symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted aboard the inland ferries.

New Spaces for the Vulnerable

The Province is partnering with local governments, non-profits and the hotel industry to ensure that vulnerable British Columbians who need a place to self-isolate will have one.  To date, more than 900 spaces have been secured at 23 sites including hotels, motels and community centres.  These spaces are available to people experiencing homelessness, people without safe spaces to self-isolate, and youth.  Some spaces are reserved specifically for people who have COVID-19, while others are for patients being discharged from hospitals who do not have COVID-19 and who do not need emergency care, but still require ongoing health care.



The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Amendments to Emergency Management Act

The government is proposing these amendments to the Emergency Management Act:

  • Allowing states of local emergency to last for 90 days;
  • Providing clear language that it is an offence to be non-compliant with orders made under states of local or provincial emergency;
  • Clarifying that the minister has the power to modify a state of emergency without terminating it; and
  • Clarifying that a provincially declared state of emergency can be for a pandemic in general, and not just for pandemic influenza.

Visitor Restrictions

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has ordered a province-wide ban on visitors to long-term care centres, licensed group homes, other continuing care facilities and all residential addiction treatment operators licensed under the Mental Health Services Protection Act.  Exceptions are provided in cases where a resident is dying or where the visitor is essential for delivering care that cannot be delivered by staff.



The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

On April 7, Premier Brian Pallister and Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced that the province is suspending repayment of Manitoba Student Aid loans for six months.



The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:


On April 7, the Province launched the Health Workforce Matching Portal, intended to help match skilled frontline healthcare providers with hospitals, clinics and assessment centres. Those healthcare providers include retired or non-active health care professionals, internationally educated health care professionals, students, and volunteers with health care experience.

Interested healthcare professionals and employers can create a profile on the portal, indicating their availability and support needs, respectively.  Registrants will receive an email notification if matched.

Indigenous Support

The Ontario government is investing $37.8 million to support outbreak planning, prevention and mitigation efforts to ensure the health and well-being of Indigenous people and communities, particularly those in remote and far-northern regions.

The total investment includes:

  • $16.4 million from the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to provide emergency funds for food, household goods, critical supplies, transportation, and support and care, responsive services and supports for urban Indigenous people, self-isolation facilities in remote and northern communities, prevention and awareness efforts, and pandemic planning;
  • $10 million from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to support Indigenous communities and agencies in responding to the needs of vulnerable children, families and elders during the outbreak;
  • $7.4 million from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to help social service providers, charities and non-profits delivering critical housing services to Indigenous people living off-reserve; and
  • $4 million from the Ministry of Transportation to ensure continued service to remote and northern airports, enabling essential goods and services to continue reaching isolated communities.



The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

On April 7, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Ms. Sonia LeBel, announced the court office of the Quebec Court of Appeal will be made available online. This will allow lawyers and citizens of all regions of Quebec to file electronically a notice of appeal in cases of appeals as of right in civil matters. The legal costs associated with such a deposit will also be payable online.

The digital court office of the Court of Appeal will be accessible from April 9, 2020 on the website of the Court of Appeal of Quebec.


Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes:

Le 7 avril, la ministre de la Justice et procureure générale du Québec, Mme Sonia LeBel, annoncent la mise en ligne du greffe de la Cour d’appel du Québec. Ceci permettra aux avocats et aux citoyens de toutes les régions du Québec de déposer de manière électronique une déclaration d’appel dans le cas des appels de plein droit en matière civile. Les frais judiciaires qui y sont associés seront également payables en ligne.

Le greffe numérique de la Cour d’appel sera accessible à compter du 9 avril 2020 sur le site Internet de la Cour d’appel du Québec.


Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Effective April 7, the province has announced an additional $60,000 in funding for eligible community food programs. Additionally, a number of tax return filing deadlines are being altered and remission of interest and penalties is available to help support businesses dealing with circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • International Fuel Tax Agreement returns for the first quarter of 2020 (January 1 to March 31, 2020) due on April 30, 2020 from interjurisdictional carriers, under section 8 of the Revenue Administration Regulations, are now due and payable on June 1, 2020.
  • With the exception of tax returns required from interjurisdictional carriers, all other tax returns falling under the purview of the Revenue Administration Act and regulations, which would otherwise be due March 20, 2020 to May 31, 2020, are now due June 23, 2020. The tax returns applicable to this extension include:
    • Gasoline Tax
    • Carbon Tax
    • Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax
    • Insurance Companies Tax
    • Mining and Mineral Rights Tax
    • Tax on Insurance Premiums
    • Tobacco Tax
  • If a taxpayer is prevented from making a payment when due, filing a return on time, or otherwise complying with a tax obligation, they can submit a written request to the Department of Finance, Tax Administration Division, to seek a remission of interest and penalties.


New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

Effective April 7, working capital loans are now available to employers impacted by COVID-19. Businesses can access more information about the application processes on a dedicated web page which features frequently asked questions and online resources.

The government also issued a reminder that applications for the New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit will end at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 9. The one-time $900 benefit was created to help to bridge the time between when people lose their employment or close their business to when they receive either Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.


Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Effective April 6, a virtual care platform to be used by physicians, nurse practitioners, and mental health and addictions will be launched. This will allow health care providers to offer services, over a secure video platform, to improve access for patients while reducing the need for in-person visits.



The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Effective April 6, licensed child care centres and family day homes will receive additional funding to provide care to children during the COVID-19 response and beyond it. The government will cover staff wages as well as eligible building expenses, including rent, utilities, and cleaning costs. The funding will support child care operators and enable them to avoid charging parent fees during the pandemic.

Opening of territorial parks and campgrounds, and the sale of camping permits have been delayed until June.

Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) Enforcement Officers have been placed at Yukon borders and at the Whitehorse airport as a measure to ensure that all travellers have the information they need to keep themselves and Yukoners safe from the spread of COVID-19. These enforcement officers will be collecting the contact information of all travellers coming through the Yukon or returning home, details of their 14-day self-isolation plans, and declarations of any symptoms of COVID-19. This information will allow CEMA Enforcement Officers to follow up and ensure that travellers are following self-isolation rules.


Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Effective April 6, the government extended the territory-wide state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act.



The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Effective April 7, teachers currently in-territory can go back to school on a voluntary basis, in order to start developing learning packages for students. Guidelines on the delivery of those packages to students are being finalised by the Department of Education. All school staff are expected to return to work in their home communities on April 21, 2020. Teachers who are currently out of territory must undergo a 14-day isolation period in a designated isolation hub before returning to Nunavut. If teachers cannot begin their 14-day isolation period in time for their return on April 21, they must contact their principal and provide information on travel plans and correspondence with the isolation hubs to support any expected delays. On April 21, a decision as to whether to re-open schools will be made according to the recommendation of the Chief Public Health Officer.


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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