COVID-19:  Cross country update (August 7-10, 2020)

August 10, 2020

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Temporary Change to Employment Insurance Program

The Government of Canada is preparing to transition as many Canadians as possible from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) back to the Employment Insurance (EI) system at the end of the month.

Effective August 9, 2020, to determine the number of weeks of benefits available, plus the minimum number of weeks of qualifying employment that is needed, a minimum employment rate of 13.1% will be applied temporarily for all EI economic regions across Canada. Those living in EI regions with an unemployment rate lower than 13.1% will have their EI benefits calculated on the basis of the 13.1% rate. Individuals living in regions with a higher unemployment rate will have their benefits calculated using the actual rate for that region.

For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

Support for Forest Sector to Develop Biodegradable Face Mask Filters

On August 7, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources announced a $1.3 million investment in FPInnovations for a COVID-19 response project to develop a biodegradable, sustainable filter for single-use face masks made from local, and eco-friendly solutions.  This investment will be made through the Forest Innovation Program, which promotes research and development on new technologies and products across Canada’s forest sector.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

COVID-19 Funding for First Nations Colleges

$100,000 in one-time funding will be provided to each of Alberta’s five First Nations colleges for COVID-19 supports, including addressing technology and Wi-Fi access, supporting online program development and delivery, and assisting with improved cleaning protocols to meet COVID-19 standards.

Reusable Masks for School

The Alberta Government has placed orders for 1.7 million reusable masks for students and staff for the return to school.  On August 8, 2020, Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange, announced that she is “confident that masks, sanitizer, thermometers and face shields will be distributed to school divisions prior to the resumption of classes.”

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Safe Schools Plan – Personal Protective Equipment

$2.3 million has been spent to procure 6 million disposable masks for Saskatchewan schools.  These masks will be made available to students, teachers and staff at the beginning of the school year and on a daily basis.  In addition to face masks, the province has supported school divisions in obtaining access to free face shields for school staff.

Under current guidance in Level 1 of Saskatchewan’s Safe Schools Plan, mask and PPE usage recommendations are in place in many Saskatchewan school division plans.  Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer and the Ministries of Education and Health are actively considering a mandatory masking policy under Level 2 of Saskatchewan’s Safe Schools Plan.

$35 Million in Support for Tourism Industry

Saskatchewan hotels and event organizers trying to stay afloat during the pandemic will soon be able to apply for financial support in the form of a one-time, non-repayable payment from the provincial government under its Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP).The accommodation sector and large event facilities may expect to receive payments from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on sales revenue. Operators of attractions, tours or events with ongoing fixed costs may receive payments from $7,500 to $15,000.

Additionally, $5 million of the $35 million will be used to support marketing and to increase the demand for Saskatchewan tourism experiences.

Applications for this emergency payment will open at 2 p.m. on August 24, 2020 and will be accepted until October 1, 2020. For more information and to apply, visit the Saskatchewan Government’s website.

Remote Execution and Witnessing of Documents

On August 7, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan repealed the temporary emergency regulations related to remote execution of certain documents and wills, and replaced those with permanent regulations allowing for remote execution of documents via electronic means (i.e. video calls) to continue long-term beyond the end of the public emergency period. For more information, see the Law Society of Saskatchewan notice.

Summer Activities Return to the Provincial Capital

A number of Provincial Capital Commission tours and experiences have re-opened to the public including: Government House private museum tours, Wascana Centre scenic ferry boat tours, Wascana Centre guided walking tours, and Willow Island bookings. For details, see the Government of Saskatchewan website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Windsor-Essex to Enter Stage 3

Based on the direction of both the Ontario Chief Medical Officer Health and the local medical officer of health, the Ontario government has cleared Windsor-Essex, the final remaining Ontario region in Stage 2, to enter Stage 3 of reopening on Wednesday, August 12, 2020.  This decision was based on positive local trends in the region including lower transmission of COVID-19 and a significant increase in testing.

Support for Child Care and Early Years Programs

As part of the Safe Restart Agreement, the Ontario Government, in partnership with the Federal Government, is providing $234.6 million in funding to support Ontario’s plan to safely reopen child care and early years programs.  This funding will help child care operators, EarlyON Child and Family Centres, and First Nations Child and Family Programs increase cleaning and infection control, ensure staff have access to personal protective equipment, promote physical distancing, purchase additional cleaning supplies, and support staffing needs.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Back-to-School Plan

On August 10, the Québec Government made adjustments to its fall 2020 back-to-school plan. These changes pertain to the wearing of face coverings, the size of groups, the offer of distance learning and the procedure to follow in the event of an outbreak. Full details on the back-to-school plan are available on the Québec Government’s website.

Lifting of the Suspension of By-elections

On August 6, 2020, the Québec Government revoked the ministerial order cancelling electoral events to be held during the period covered by the declaration of public health emergency. This will allow municipalities to hold by-elections again, in accordance with public health directives, starting August 7.

Montréal – State of Emergency Renewal

On August 7, 2020, the Montréal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Plan de la rentrée scolaire

Le 10 août, le gouvernement du Québec a apporté des ajustements à son plan de la rentrée scolaire automnale 2020. Ces modifications touchent notamment le port du couvre-visage, la taille des groupes, l’offre d’enseignement à distance et la marche à suivre en cas d’éclosion. Tous les détails sur la rentrée se trouvent sur le site Web du gouvernement du Québec.

Levée de la suspension des élections partielles

Le 6 août, le gouvernement du Québec a abrogé l’arrêté ministériel annulant les scrutins électoraux se tenant durant la période de déclaration de l’état d’urgence sanitaire. Ainsi, les municipalités pourront à nouveau tenir des élections partielles, dans le respect des directives de santé publique, et ce à compter d’aujourd’hui.

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 7 août, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 12 août sur l’ensemble de son territoire.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

Effective noon on August 9, 2020, the state of emergency declared under the Emergency Management Act will be extended until noon on August 23, 2020.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

New Grants for Post-Secondary Students

As part of the GNWT COVID-19 Economic Relief Measures, on August 10, 2020, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment announced that two new grants are available to all post-secondary students who are under full-time Student Financial Assistance benefits for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • a Technology Grant which provides $750 towards the cost of technological equipment; and
  • a Support Grant of $100 per month for the 2020-2021 academic year.

For more information, or to apply, visit the Student Financial Assistance website or call 1-800-661-0793.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

New Email for Travellers

All Nunavummiut planning to travel outside of the territory must submit an Isolation Reservation Request Form to NUisolationreservations@nunavutcare.ca to ensure that the travel team can identify room availability and reserve stays in a designated isolation facility.

Government Offices Open

As of August 10, 2020, Government of Nunavut offices are opened 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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