The Government of Canada announced the following measures:
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
$962 million in additional support will now be available to support businesses and organizations that are key to the regions and local economies. The new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (“RRRF”) is specifically aimed at those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been unable to access existing support measures.
This funding will be delivered through six regional development agencies as follows:
- $110 million for Atlantic Canada – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency;
- $211 million for Quebec – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions;
- $34.3 million for Northern Canada – Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency;
- $252.4 million for Southern Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario;
- $49.5 million for Northern Ontario – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario; and
- $304.2 million for Western Canada – Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Businesses interested in this support can apply now through their local regional development agency.
Canada Emergency Student Benefit
Beginning on May 15, 2020, eligible students can apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (“CESB”) through their Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) My Account or by phone through CRA’s automated toll-free line, 1-833-966-2099. To manage the applications, applicants are asked to apply over four days depending on their month of birth:
- May 15 – January to March;
- May 16 – April to June;
- May 17 – July to September; and
- May 18 – October to December.
The CESB is $1,250 per month (or $2,000 per month if the student has dependents or a disability) for post-secondary students for May through August. For high school students and those working towards the equivalent of a high school diploma, the CESB will be available between:
- May and August 2020, if they receive a high school diploma or equivalent before May 10, 2020;
- June and August 2020, if they receive a high school diploma or equivalent between May 10, 2020 and June 6, 2020; and
- July and August 2020, if they receive, or are to receive, a high school diploma or equivalent between June 2020 and December 2020.
Eligible students must reapply for the CESB for each four-week period and must meet the eligibility criteria each time. Students are eligible for the CESB if they are:
- a Canadian citizen, including dual citizens;
- a registered Indian under the Indian Act;
- a permanent resident; or
- a protected person.
When applying, students must attest that for COVID-19 related reasons, they are:
- unable to work; or
- seeking work but are unable to find it (the CRA may ask for verification of this); or
- working but unable to make more than $1,000 (before taxes) over the four-week period for which they are applying.
Registering with JobBank.gc.ca is a way for students to find available work opportunities.
Three categories of students are eligible for the CESB:
- Students enrolled in a post-secondary education program;
- Students who have graduated from or left their post-secondary studies no earlier than December 2019; and
- Students who have completed, or will complete, high school in 2020 and have applied for a post-secondary educational program that begins before February 1, 2021.
Students are not eligible for CESB if they are receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or Employment Insurance benefits for the same four-week period as their current application.
For more information see BACKGROUNDER: The Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:
State of Emergency Extended
B.C.’s state of emergency is being extended through the end of the day on May 26, 2020. The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials.
Orphan and Inactive Wells
On April 17, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $120 million for B.C. to support cleaning up oil and gas sites. Subject to reaching final agreement with Canada, the Province intends to invest this funding in three new programs:
- The Dormant Sites Reclamation Program will provide $100 million to reclaim dormant oil and gas sites, which are wells that have been inactive for five consecutive years and are unlikely to be returned to service. This program will provide up to $100,000, or 50% of total costs, whichever is less. Applications will be accepted beginning May 25.
- The Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation Program will be administered by the BC Oil and Gas Commission and will provide $15 million to reclaim orphan oil and gas sites where the operator is insolvent, no longer exists or cannot be located.
- The Legacy Sites Reclamation Program will provide $5 million to address the legacy impacts of historical oil and gas activities that continue to have environmental impacts, such as on wildlife habitat or on the traditional use by Indigenous peoples.
These programs are expected to support 1,200 jobs and will be open to oil and gas field service companies and contractors based in B.C., with registration, office and operations in B.C.
Indigenous communities, local governments and landowners will be able to nominate dormant, orphan and legacy sites for priority consideration for decommissioning, reclamation or restoration.
The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:
Ready for Relaunch
The Alberta Government has announced that the province is ready to take the first steps to reopen some businesses and services. Stage one of Alberta’s relaunch plan puts safety first as restrictions are gradually lifted.
Stage one of Alberta’s relaunch plan for all areas of Alberta, except the cities of Calgary and Brooks, will begin on May 14 and will allow the following to resume operations:
- Retail businesses such as clothing, furniture and bookstores;
- All vendors at farmers markets;
- Museums and art galleries;
- Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy;
- Hairstyling and barbershops;
- Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars for table service at 50% capacity;
- Day camps, including summer school (with limits on occupancy);
- Places of worship and funeral services (if they follow specific guidance already online);
- Regulated health professions (as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges); and
- The resumption of some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will continue gradually.
Calgary and Brooks will see a slightly more gradual reopening, taking into account higher case numbers in these two communities, to balance public safety with the need to get businesses open and services restored for Albertans. In Calgary and Brooks, the relaunch will be gradual over 18 days. Starting May 14, the following can resume operations:
- Retail businesses such as clothing, furniture and bookstores;
- All vendors at farmers markets;
- Museums and art galleries;
- Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy;
- The resumption of some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will continue gradually; and
- Regulated health professions (as long as they continue to follow approved guidelines set by their professional colleges).
Starting May 25, the following can open in Calgary and Brooks:
- Hairstyling and barbershops; and
- Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars for table service at 50% capacity.
Starting June 1, the following may resume in Calgary and Brooks:
- Day camps, including summer school (with limits on occupancy); and
- Places of worship and funeral services (if they follow specific guidance already online).
In all of Alberta, post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses. However, there will be more flexibility in the delivery of courses, including in-person delivery once the existing health order prohibiting such classes is lifted.
The alberta.ca/bizconnect web page provides information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces, as well as sector-specific guidelines, for those able to open in stage one. Businesses allowed to reopen during stage one will be subject to strict infection prevention and control measures, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders. It will be up to each business operator to determine if they are ready to open and to ensure compliance with all applicable guidelines and public health orders.
Physical distancing requirements of two metres will remain in place through all stages of Alberta’s relaunch plan. In addition, good hygiene practices will continue to be required of businesses and individuals and Albertans will continue to be required to stay home when exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat. Albertans will also continue to be encouraged to wear non-medical masks when they are in public places where it is difficult to comply with physical distancing requirements.
The following rules still apply in stage one of Alberta’s relaunch plan:
- Gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited unless otherwise identified in public health orders or guidance;
- Gatherings of 15 or less must follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines;
- Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events and concerts are prohibited;
- Movie theatres, theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs must remain closed;
- Services offered by allied health disciplines such as acupuncture and massage therapy are prohibited;
- In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students are prohibited; and
- Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited.
The Alberta Government’s recommendations include:
- Travel outside of the province is not recommended;
- Remote working is recommended, where possible;
- Albertans in Calgary and Brooks are encouraged to wait to access services until they are available in their communities rather than travelling to access these services; and
- Albertans are encouraged to download the ABTraceTogether mobile contact tracing app and use it when in public.
Progression to stage two of Alberta’s relaunch plan will be determined by the success of stage one, considering health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and infection rates. For more information, visit alberta.ca/RelaunchStrategy.
Utility Payment Deferral Program
Bill 14, the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act, received Royal Assent on May 12, 2020. This Act provides for the deferral of utility payments (electricity and gas) commencing on March 18 and ending on June 18, 2020.
Repayment of the deferred amounts must occur in equal monthly instalments during the repayment period commencing on June 19, 2020 and ending on June 18, 2021, or through a repayment plan agreed to by the retailer and customer, as long as all deferred amounts are paid back by June 18, 2021.
The Act also allows an electricity service provider to apply to the Alberta Utilities Commission for funding from the Balancing Pool for the bill payment amounts deferred by customers. Gas service providers may apply for a loan from the Alberta Utilities Commission for bill payments amounts deferred by their customers.
For more information, see Utility Payment Deferral Program.
The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:
State of Emergency Renewed
The provincial government issued an Order effective May 13, 2020 further renewing and continuing the declaration of a state of emergency throughout the province of Saskatchewan to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. This Order renews the original Order in Council 102/2020 dated March 18, 2020.
The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:
Advisory Board Supporting Reopening of the Economy
Today Premier Brian Pallister announced that the provincial government has established the new Premier’s Economic Opportunities Advisory Board to chart Manitoba’s course for reopening its economy.
The 18-member advisory board includes leaders in business, technology, financial services, transportation, real estate, agriculture, education and manufacturing, among other sectors. With a mandate of 18 months, it will advise the government on ways to harness private-sector capital and investment to recover and create jobs and economic growth across the province.
Connecting Businesses with Non-Medical Grade PPE
Today Premier Brian Pallister announced that the Province has partnered with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Manitoba and Winnipeg Chambers of Commerce, and North Forge Technology Exchange to support the development and launch of an online marketplace to connect Manitoba businesses with non-medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials needed for businesses to operate.
The province has provided a grant of $422,000 to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, which have commissioned North Forge Technology Exchange to develop and launch the online marketplace B2BManitoba.ca. This tool addresses a need identified by Manitoba businesses as they transition to economic recovery phases.
In addition, this online marketplace will support those critical businesses that never closed with restocking needed supplies and will help manufacturers who have retooled their current operations to produce PPE and are looking for ways to access a new customer base.
The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:
Long-Term Care Management Assistance
The government adopted an emergency order allowing the province to issue a mandatory management order for a long-term care home struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. This order would enable the implementation of immediate and effective management support to protect residents and staff within a home. The manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.
A long-term care home may require management assistance if they face challenges such as a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments.
Redeployment of Education Sector Employees
As previously announced, a framework was developed and endorsed by the Ontario government, trustees’ associations, and almost all of the provincial union representatives that will allow the temporary voluntary redeployment of education sector employees to congregate care settings, while ensuring they maintain their employment status with their school boards.
Beginning later this week, subject to local agreement of the framework, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal to be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages. Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants. Training and appropriate safety equipment will be provided to redeployed staff. Volunteers who are redeployed will be eligible for Ontario’s temporary pandemic premium and emergency child care.
Prescription Drug Costs
Further to an amendment to the General regulation under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act, effective today, people using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1, 2020 for any prescription of 30+ days that is now being dispensed in installments.
In addition, existing Trillium Drug Program households that have experienced an income change in 2019 or 2020 of 10% or more compared to their 2018 income can apply for an income reassessment to help reduce their financial burden. Eligible households who are not currently enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program and have high prescription costs can also complete and submit an application and re-assessment form by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 416-642-3034.
The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:
Gradual Resumption of Sports, Recreation and Outdoor Activities
As of May 20, there will be a gradual resumption of certain sports, recreation and outdoor activities throughout Quebec, including the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal. The gradual recovery will take place in several phases. The first phase will allow the resumption of outdoor activities that are practiced individually or in pairs where it is possible to keep a physical distance of two metres.
This includes the following outdoor activities: cycling activities; athleticism (including running and throwing events); rowing (single boats only); speed canoeing and kayaking (single boats only); white-water and calm water canoeing and kayaking; running; rock climbing; sea kayaking; kitesurfing; swimming in open water (eg., in lakes); roller-skating on the road or track; day fishing; paddle boarding; scuba diving; outdoor freediving; outdoor horse riding; hiking; roller skiing; surfing; singles tennis; triathlon; sailing (single boats only); and golf.
There will also be a gradual reopening of the parks in the SEPAQ network. Initially, only daily activities will be accessible.
CNESST Supports the Sports, Recreation and Outdoor Activities Sectors
On May 13, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) published a toolkit to specifically support the stakeholders in the leisure, sport and outdoor activities sectors in their management of occupational health and safety in the context of COVID-19. More specifically, a guide to health standards, a poster and a daily checklist are now available on the CNESST website.
Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :
Reprise graduelle des activités sportives, de loisirs et de plein air
À compter du 20 mai, il y aura reprise graduelle de certaines activités sportives, de loisirs et de plein air dans l’ensemble du Québec, incluant la communauté métropolitaine de Montréal. La reprise graduelle se fera en plusieurs phases. La première phase permettra la reprise des activités extérieures qui se pratiquent de façon individuelle ou à deux lorsqu’il est possible de garder une distance physique de deux mètres.
Ceci inclut les activités extérieures suivantes : les activités de cyclisme; athlétisme (incluant les épreuves de course et de lancer); l’aviron (embarcations simples seulement); canoë et kayak de vitesse (embarcations simples seulement); canot et kayak d’eau vive et d’eau calme; course à pied; escalade de rocher; kayak de mer; kitesurf; natation en eau libre (ex. : dans les lacs); patin à roulettes sur route ou sur piste; pêche à la journée; planche à pagaie; plongée sous-marine, apnée sportive extérieure; randonnée à cheval extérieure; randonnée pédestre; ski à roulettes; surf; tennis en simple; triathlon; la voile (embarcations simples seulement); et le golf.
Ceci implique aussi la réouverture graduelle des parcs du réseau de la SEPAQ. Dans un premier temps, seules les activités journalières seront accessibles.
Support de la CNESST aux secteurs des activités sportives, de loisirs et de plein air
Le 13 mai, la Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) a publié une trousse à outils pour appuyer spécifiquement les acteurs des secteurs des activités de loisir, de sport et de plein air dans leur prise en charge de la santé et la sécurité du travail dans le contexte de la COVID-19. Plus précisément, il s’agit d’un guide de normes sanitaires, une affiche de même qu’une liste de vérifications quotidiennes qui sont disponibles dès maintenant sur le site Web de la CNESST.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:
On May 13, the province’s regional health authorities announced that they will begin to resume procedures and services that were suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Details are forthcoming.
Prince Edward Island
The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:
On May 15, limited ferry service for the trucking sector between PEI and Nova Scotia will resume.
The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:
State of Emergency Extended
On May 12, the government extended the territorial public health emergency and the state of emergency. Both extensions expire on May 26.
NWT Wage Top-Up Program
The government announced funding to temporarily top-up wages for workers making less than $18 per hour. Under this program, businesses are asked to apply for temporary funding to increase the wages of their employees who make less than $18 per hour, for a maximum of 16 weeks between April 1 and July 31, 2020. The program is available to all workers in the NWT that are currently earning less than $18 per hour and are over 15 years old.
Public Health Restrictions
As previously announced, the government has released its plan to ease public health restrictions. Additional details are now available on the government’s website.
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.