COVID-19: Cross country update (April 21, 2020)

April 21, 2020

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculator

The government has launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS. Read about it in this article: “The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy at your fingertips“.

Emergency Community Support Fund

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today the Emergency Community Support Fund, an investment of $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.

The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations, such as United Way Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the Community Foundations of Canada.  The investment will support a variety of activities, such as:

  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications;
  • Providing transportation services, such as accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments;
  • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support;
  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits;
  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response; and
  • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet.

Employment Insurance for Illness, Injury or Quarantine

A new bill has been introduced, Bill C-242: An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (illness, injury or quarantine), that proposes to increase from 15 to 50 the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid because of illness, injury or quarantine.  We will continue to monitor the progress of this bill.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Up to $35.6 million in emergency COVID-19 funding will be distributed through Community Living BC (CLBC) to support service providers to continue delivering residential services, including group homes, home sharing and supported independent living to ensure people with developmental disabilities stay supported and safe during the pandemic.  CLBC will work with agencies and launch the process to request funding on April 27, 2020.  Funds are available retroactive to April 1, 2020.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Today, Premier Brian Pallister announced that the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Manitoba is returning a $37-million surplus to employers, who fund the WCB, to help mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic on those employers.

In May, eligible employers will receive a credit to their account based on 20% of their 2019 premium.  To be eligible to receive the surplus, employers must have fulfilled their payroll reporting responsibilities for 2019 and paid a WCB premium in 2019.  Employers can still report their 2019 payroll to receive the surplus distribution.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

The government announced that it will be investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicine and other essentials to those in need.  The province is working with the Ontario Community Support Association to launch a new Ontario Community Support Program to expand existing Meals on Wheels services to reach low-income seniors and people with disabilities and chronic medical conditions across Ontario.  The program will also develop the capacity of community organizations and others to help deliver medication and other essentials.

This week the province will also be issuing the first doubled Guaranteed Annual Income System payments for seniors who may need more help to cover essential expenses during the COVID-19 outbreak. These doubled payments will continue for six months and will result in individuals receiving up to $166 per month and couples receiving up to $332 per month.

The province is also investing $40 million in the Residential Relief Fund.  The funding will assist developmental services, child welfare, victims shelters, and organizations delivering social services to vulnerable First Nations individuals and families with COVID-related costs, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment and enhanced staffing.  In addition, the government is providing $148 million to municipal partners that administer social services with funding to support the province’s most vulnerable as part of the province’s $200 million in social services relief funding in response to COVID-19.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

On April 21, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, announced the creation of a transitional web platform accessible to businesses identified as essential services and activities to publish job offers.  The objective is to help essential businesses that are facing new workforce-related challenges.  An enhanced permanent platform will be unveiled at a later date and will replace the current placement system offered on the Emploi-Québec website.  For more information, visit: quebec.ca/en/employment/job-offers/workers-urgently-covid-19.

On April 21, Revenu Québec suggested that employees eligible for the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) start their registration as of today by signing up for My Account.  Revenu Québec wishes to avoid a surge of its customer service upon the official opening of registrations on May 19.

As a reminder, IPREW offers financial assistance of $100 per week intended for workers in the designated essential services sectors who earn from $5,000 to $28,600 per year.  Financial assistance will be paid retroactively to March 15 for a maximum of 16 weeks.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Le 21 avril, le ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, M. Jean Boulet, a annoncé la mise sur pied d’une plateforme Web transitoire qui permettra aux entreprises correspondant aux services et activités prioritaires de publier des offres d’emploi. L’objectif est de venir en aide aux entreprises prioritaires qui sont confrontées à de nouveaux défis en lien avec la main d’œuvre. Une plateforme permanente bonifiée sera dévoilée ultérieurement et remplacera le système de placement actuel offert sur le site d’Emploi-Québec. Pour plus d’informations, consultez la page : quebec.ca/emploi/offres-d-emploi/besoins-urgents-covid-19.

Le 21 avril, Revenu Québec a suggéré aux salariés admissibles au Programme incitatif pour la rétention des travailleurs essentiels (PIRTE) à commencer dès aujourd’hui leurs démarches en s’inscrivant à Mon dossier. Revenu Québec souhaite éviter une surcharge de son service à la clientèle lors de l’ouverture officielle des inscriptions le 19 mai prochain.

À titre de rappel, le PIRTE est une aide financière de 100 $ par semaine destinée aux travailleurs des secteurs désignés essentiels qui gagnent de 5 000 $ à 28 600 $ par année. L’aide financière sera versée rétroactivement au 15 mars pour un maximum de 16 semaines.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

As of April 21, the provincial government has set up a secure web portal to enable eligible New Brunswickers to obtain faster access to their COVID-19 test results.  This website will provide information to those who have been tested at an assessment centre.  It can be accessed through the MyHealthNB website.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

On April 21, the government announced that it is planning for the easing of some public health measures as early as May 1, including easing measures related to outdoor activities and non-urgent health care services, such as elective surgeries.  The government emphasized that this approach is being taken cautiously and that measures will be reviewed and adjusted frequently.

Additionally, spring clean-up of branches, leaves and debris has now been added to the list of lawn-care services deemed essential by the government.

 

 

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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