COVID-19: Cross country update (August 25-26, 2020)

August 26, 2020


The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Prime Minister Announces Support for a Safe Return to School

Prime Minister Trudeau announced up to $2 billion for provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund.  The funding will be available in two instalments (fall 2020, and early 2021).  It will assist with, for example, “adapted learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.”  The maximum allocation by jurisdiction is as follows: Alberta ($262.84 million); British Columbia ($242.36 million); Manitoba ($85.41 million); New Brunswick ($39.79 million); Newfoundland and Labrador ($26.18 million); Northwest Territories ($4.85 million); Nova Scotia ($47.88 million); Nunavut ($5.75 million); Ontario ($763.34 million); Prince Edward Island ($10.39 million); Quebec ($432.15 million); Saskatchewan ($74.90 million); and Yukon ($4.16 million).

The Prime Minister announced an additional $112 million in funding for First Nations to support a safe return to school on reserves.

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

FedDev Ontario Supports Niagara Region’s Tourism Sector

The Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, Mélanie Joly, announced $900,000 to help tourism in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  This amount is to support the recovery and growth of tourism as the economy reopens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Facilitative Measures to Support International Students Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Students will receive priority entrance when travel restrictions are modified if they have submitted a complete application. There is also a new study permit process that considers two stages of eligibility assessment.

Provided students complete 50% of their program in Canada, they will also be able to study online until April 30, 2021 without affecting their eligibility for, or the length of, a future grad permit. And if students are starting from May to September 2020 in programs between eight and twelve months, they will still be able to apply for a post-graduation work permit if they complete their entire program outside of Canada.

International students already in Canada are permitted to work more than 20 hours/week off campus until August 31, 2020. And if their studies were restricted at all due to the pandemic, they are allowed to continue working on- or off-campus if their study permit allows it

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

Government of Canada is Responding to Immediate Indigenous Mental Wellness Demands during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, announced that $82.5 million dollars in mental health and wellness support will be provided to Indigenous communities. This funding will help the communities adapt and expand wellness services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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


British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Detailed Plans Support Safe Return to Classroom.

All school districts in British Columbia have now posted their back to school plans for K-12 families. Families are encouraged to visit their school district website to view their local school’s plans.

For more information, see the Government of British Columbia’s website.



The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Safe Schools Plan: Preparations Continue for a Safe Return to School

The Federal Government has committed to providing $74.9 million to Saskatchewan to help school divisions prepare for the return to class. This amount will be added to the already allocated $40 million taken from the COVID -19 contingency fund and $40 million in school division savings from the 2019-2020 year.

The Provincial government announced that the first shipment of 6 million masks has been distributed to school divisions, in addition to face shields.  It is expecting another delivery during the first week of school.

What You Need to Know About the Return to School in Saskatchewan

The following information showcases what the provincial Government has committed to for the return to school plan:

  • The provincial Government is working to introduce targeted testing across school divisions and priority testing for teachers and school staff. Students may have the ability opt in to voluntary testing with parental consent.
  • If a child or staff member is showing symptoms, each school must have a designated “isolation room” where the individual can go until someone comes to pick them up.
  • If there is a positive case found in a school, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will notify the school division, and it will inform individuals at the school.
  • There are still no plans to reduce class sizes.
  • Masks are not mandatory across the province, but the majority of the school divisions are mandating them when physical distancing is not possible.



The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Provincial Investments Support Choice in Child Care for Manitoba Families

The provincial Government is investing $22 million into improving sustainability and creating child care spaces for more than 1,400 children. This amount included up to $2 million for licensed child care providers to establish satellite locations, which will help support their ongoing operations and physical distancing requirements as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

For more information, visit the Province of Manitoba’s website.

Manitoba Government Enhances Back to Work Wage Subsidy Program

The program introduced by the provincial Government will allow businesses, not-for-profit organizations or charities to receive a subsidy for ten full or part-time employees, in addition to the current total of ten. This increases the maximum level of financial support available to employers from $50,000 to $100,000. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2020.

For more information, visit the Province of Manitoba’s website

University of Manitoba Makes Masks Mandatory on Campus

All staff, students, visitors, contractors and vendors at the University of Manitoba and Brandon University are required to wear a mask in all indoor common or shared spaces on its campuses. The university is planning to provide two reusable cloth face masks to all students, faculty and staff.



The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

COVID-19 Management Plan for Schools

The Ontario Government has released the Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools document.  The purpose of this document is to identify and isolate COVID-19 cases, reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and prevent and minimize outbreaks. Key elements of the guidance document explain:

  • The role of school boards and schools: keeping communities informed by creating a COVID-19 advisory section on both the board and school’s websites.
  • The role of local public health units: leading case and contact tracing activities, declaring outbreaks and directing closure of classrooms or schools where necessary.
  • The critical role of parents: screening their children every day before they go to school and keeping them home if they are ill.
  • Appropriate steps to take when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, including notifying the school community while respecting individual privacy.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health is also issuing an additional public health guidance, COVID-19 Guidance: School Outbreak Management, for medical officers of health and public health units to support their efforts in investigating cases, outbreaks, and suspected outbreaks in school settings.

Support for Ontario’s Back-to-School Plan

Today, it was announced that an additional $380 million will be provided to Ontario to support provincial back-to-school plans.  The funding will support the following:

  • Reopening Plan Implementation – $200 million
    • $100 million to complement the health and safety components of school reopening plans, in consultation with local public health units, including the hiring of custodians, HVAC improvements, internet connectivity for students and other local needs.
    • $30 million to support additional PPE for schools.
    • $70 million for the temporary hiring of educators as required.
  • Student Transportation – $70 million
    • $44.5 million in support of the Driver Retention Program (DRP).
    • $25.5 million for route protection and to help reduce the number of students on buses.
  • Special Education and Mental Health Supports Enhancement – $12.5 million
    • Will allow boards to hire and train additional staff and provide more mental health supports for students.
  • Additional Public Health Nurses – $12.5 million
    • Supports up to 125 additional nursing positions in public health units across the province to help schools manage potential COVID-19 cases.
  • Remote Learning – $36 million
    • Ensures that every school board offering virtual learning has a dedicated principal and administrative support for both its secondary and elementary virtual schools.

Ontario Provides Support to a Local Start-up to Transform a Dairy By-Product into Alcohol for Hand Sanitizer

The Ontario government is providing Dairy Distillery $455,000 from the Ontario Together Fund to retool its operations and increase its capacity to manufacture hand sanitizer to help the fight against COVID-19.  Dairy Distillery will scale up to more than triple production of food-grade ethanol made from milk sugar. The milk by-product and the company’s dairy fermentation technology will be used to make hand sanitizer.



The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Montréal – State of Emergency Renewal

On August 26, the Montréal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until August 31.


Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 26 août, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 31 août sur l’ensemble de son territoire.


Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Additional Teaching and Staffing Resources Provided to Support the Reopening of Schools

On August 26, 2020, the Minister of Education announced that as part of its strategy for the reopening of schools, there will be an increase in school administrators by 15 positions and in guidance counsellors by 25 positions. There will also be 70 substitute teachers hired on term contracts and assigned to specific schools.

For more information, visit the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s website.


Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Province Further Eases Restrictions in Long-Term Care, Allows Some Large Gatherings, Sets Group Size for Before- and After-School Programs

On August 26, 2020, the Premier and Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that restrictions on residents of long-term care homes would be further loosened:

  • residents can now leave for medical appointments if accompanied by a family member
  • the restriction on the amount of visitors a resident can meet with indoors has been removed; and
  • community-based adult day programs can resume, as long as there is an approved plan in place that meets public health guidelines.

Before- and after-school programs are now allowed to have groups of up to 15 children without the requirement of physical distancing.

The Government is also working with four venues in the province on permitting events with more people than the current gathering limits allow. Groups of 200 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events would be permitted. However, the venues must first submit an approved plan detailing how the groups of people will be kept separate from one another.

The four venues are Centre 200, Scotiabank Centre, Riverside International Speedway and Scotia Speedworld.

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



The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

On August 25, 2020, the Minister of Health extended the state of public health emergency for all of Nunavut until the end of September 3, 2020.

You can read the Order in its entirety here.


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