COVID-19:  Cross country update (August 1-4, 2020)

August 4, 2020

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Online Cannabis Sales for Pickup in Store

In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and limit customer times inside stores, the province has amended cannabis regulations to allow customers to pay online or by telephone, and then pick up in stores.  The new changes are meant to help improve the competitiveness of legal operators.

Self-Isolation Check-Ins

Service BC has expanded their role to help returning travellers and temporary workers follow their 14-day isolation plans upon arrival in BC. This initiative is part of a partnership with Emergency Management BC and the Ministry of Health.

Service BC employees have made more than 8,500 phone calls to temporary foreign workers providing information and referrals for any needed supports.  A further 51,000 calls have been made to confirm that self-isolation plans are being followed.



The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

New Health Measures for the 2020/2021 School Year

Health measures in schools now include the implementation of mandatory masks. Students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear masks when school returns in September. Students in kindergarten to grade 3 will be given the option of whether to wear a mask. All students and staff will receive two reusable masks. Additional single-use masks will also be available if required. Mask use will be required in all areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained including in all shared and common areas, such as in hallways and on school buses.  School staff will also receive one reusable face shield to use in the schools; however, the use of the shield will be at the discretion of each staff member.

Other measures include distributing hand sanitizer to schools based on student population and distributing two contactless thermometers to each school, although thermometer use will be at the discretion of each school authority.

The Alberta Government is also working to expand testing capacity for staff and students in schools to allow for rapid testing and prompt results.

Masks for Albertans Program Ends

Distribution of masks through restaurant partners, including McDonald’s Canada, A&W and Tim Hortons, ended on August 2, 2020.  At this time, the Government of Alberta has no plans to distribute additional free masks.



The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Safe Schools Plan

Each of Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions now have plans in place for the return of students and staff to the classroom in September amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans include the following components:

  • Safe attendance, which includes self-screening measures;
  • Safe transportation, which includes assigned seating on buses, encouraging parents to drive children and increased sanitization on buses;
  • Safe access, which includes designated use of doors, staggered class transition times and controlled flow of students in common areas;
  • Safe facilities, which includes increased sanitization measures;
  • Safe classrooms, which includes utilizing outdoor spaces during classes and classroom configurations that minimize contact;
  • Safe supports, including support for mental health and supports to address the educational needs of medically fragile students;
  • Safe activities, such as using alternatives to in-person assemblies; and
  • Safe alternatives, which include four scenarios that may be activated on the advice of the Chief Medical Health Officer:
    • Level 1 – return to school, as close to normal as possible, with additional health measures and precautions, which is the plan for this coming school year;
    • Level 2 – mask usage as determined by the Chief Medical Health Officer;
    • Level 3 – in the event it becomes necessary, school capacity will be reduced, which may involve establishing cohorts and hybrid learning models; and
    • Level 4 – implementing learning continuity plans, which means transitioning to mandatory remote learning.

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



The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Windsor-Essex Remains in Stage 2

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will remain in Stage 2 while the province attempts to contain the spread of COVID-19.  A three-point plan is being implemented to support the area by reducing the transmission of COVID-19 on farms and in the community. The plan includes the following:

  • Ongoing and expanded on-site testing;
  • Access to employment benefits and supports; and
  • Public health guidance specific to the agri-food sector.

Implementation of New Technology to Sanitize PPE

The Ontario government is providing financial support to an Ontario company, Clean Works Medical and Pure Life Machinery, to help manufacture a state-of-the-art sanitizing device which will be able to decontaminate up to 800 N95 masks per hour along with other personal protective equipment.  For more information see the Ontario Government’s News Release.


Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Childcare Centres to Operate at Full Capacity

Beginning September 1, 2020, all 152 early learning and child care centres across Prince Edward Island will begin operating at full capacity to support children and parents returning to work, including before and after school programs.

Access to Virtual Healthcare from Home

Prince Edward Island residents on the waitlist for a new primary care provider have started receiving invitations to a new program that will allow them to access care from home during COVID-19.  Created in partnership with telemedicine provider Maple, the Virtual Care for Patients without a Primary Care Provider program lets residents access PEI physicians through their smartphone, tablet, or computer during specified clinic hours. Invitations are prioritized to ensure residents who have been on the Provincial Patient Registry longest are able to access the program first.

For more information, visit the Government of Prince Edward Island’s website.



The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Government of Nunavut Offices Reopen

Beginning Monday August 10, Government of Nunavut offices will re-open to the public.


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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