COVID-19:  Cross country update (June 22, 2020)

June 22, 2020

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Deferral of Electricity Costs Extended

The Government of British Columbia and BC Hydro are extending the opportunity for companies to defer electricity bill payments for another three months, through the end of August 2020.

As part of the BC Hydro COVID-19 Relief Program announced on April 1, 2020, eligible industrial customers with accounts in BC Hydro’s Transmission Service rate category (rate schedules 1823 and 1828) were given the opportunity to defer 50% of their electricity bill payments for the March to May 2020 billing period.  For more information, visit BC Hydro’s website.

Emergency Relief Support Fund Extended

The British Columbia Government is extending interim measures, including a new round of funding and supports for children with special needs and youth aging out of care, to help children, youth and families through the ongoing pandemic.

A final round of the short-term Emergency Relief Support fund for children and youth with special needs and their families will provide a direct payment of $225 per month for up to three months to assist eligible families. This will be available from July 1 to September 30, 2020. As well, measures to ensure youth and young adults from care continue receiving the same level of service, even if they were set to age out, have been extended to September 30, 2020.

For more information, see this press release.

Proposed Legislation for Emergency Orders

New legislation (Covid-19 Related Measures Act) has been proposed that will allow the provisions created in response to the pandemic to be formalized and unwound as appropriate after the provincial state of emergency ends.

Currently, all ministerial orders made under the Emergency Program Act will end immediately at the conclusion of the provincial state of emergency.  Under the proposed new legislation, specific orders already made will be extended in the legislation after the end of the state of emergency by 45 or 90 days.  The proposed legislation also provides for the possibility of an extension of COVID-19 related orders by up to one year, in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19.

The proposed legislation also allows for the creation of regulations that provide protections from civil liability. For example, child care operators and amateur sport organizations may be protected from liability where they operate responsibly and in accordance with public health orders and guidelines.

Finally, the proposed legislation introduces two permanent, targeted amendments to the Emergency Program Act that clarify the powers available to the minister under section 10 to “do all acts and implement all procedures that the minister considers necessary,” and delegates some specific powers to cabinet instead of a single minister.

Updated Ministerial Order for Food Service and Liquor Industry

On June 19, Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, issued an updated order pertaining to the food service and liquor industry. The order sets out a number of requirements for owners of these food and liquor services, including rules about physical distancing, event protocols and hygiene measures. For more information, visit the order.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Free Mask Distribution

The first phase of Alberta’s distribution of free non-medical masks has now ended. The distribution of these masks at A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons has been paused until the second phase commences in July when another 20 million masks will be distributed. Albertans who have not received a mask can continue to call 211 to request a package.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission Re-Starting Services

The Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission is beginning to re-start services that were paused as a result of COVID-19.  Journeyperson certification examinations and psychoeducational assessments can be scheduled beginning this week.

The apprentices and tradespeople whose exams were cancelled as a result of COVID-19 will be first to have their exams rescheduled.  The exams will occur at third-party locations to ensure there is enough room for appropriate physical distancing.

Apprentices will complete the theoretical portions of their training online and the hands-on components will be done on campus in a shop setting.

Municipal Economic Enhancement Program Projects Approved

The Saskatchewan Government announced that the first 55 projects, with more than $7.4 million of provincial investment, have been approved and can move forward under the Municipal Economic Enhancement Program 2020 (MEEP). MEEP is a $150 Million program, which will provide funds to municipalities to support investments in infrastructure and to stimulate economic recovery after the impacts of COVID-19.

Recently approved projects include:

  • Local roadway improvements for the City of North Battleford;
  • A new community hall for the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse;
  • New water wells for the Town of Balcarres;
  • Water and grid road projects for the RM of Stonehenge No. 73; and
  • Culverts, streets and dust control projects for the Village of Ridgedale.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Protections for Tenants Extended

The current freeze on rent increases will now continue until September 30, 2020. While landlords can give notice of their intention to increase rent, this higher rate cannot be charged until September 30, 2020.

As well, non-urgent evictions will also be postponed until September 30, 2020.  Until then, residential landlords can only evict tenants for urgent health and safety reasons, and not for the non-payment of rent.

Personal Care Homes

Personal Care Homes will soon be allowing limited indoor visits for designated visitors. These indoor visits must be approved by individual care teams and will allow residents to identify a short list of individuals who may visit during specified times.

Visitors will be required to follow specified protocols including being screened for COVID-19 symptoms, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing non-medical masks.

As well, the Manitoba Government is working towards developing outdoor, all-season shelters that will be located near personal care homes to allow residents to safely visit their loved ones. These shelters must be accessible, protected from the elements, easily cleaned and provide space for quality connections.  The government is seeking feedback on conceptual designs for these shelters, which can be provided on their website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Toronto and Peel Region Moving to Stage 2

On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, the City of Toronto and the Peel Region will move into Stage 2. Even though restrictions are being relaxed, it is recommended that individuals continue to follow public health advice including physical distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, and avoiding face touching.

Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 1 for now.

 

Québec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Montréal – State of Emergency Renewal

On June 19, the Montréal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until June 23.

__________

Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 19 juin, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 23 juin sur l’ensemble de son territoire.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Emergency Leave

The Employment Standards Act has been amended to provide eligible employees with an unpaid emergency leave of absence for the duration of the time when the employee cannot perform the duties of their position because of that emergency. This applies, but is not limited, to individuals in isolation or quarantine, by order of an employer to protect other employees from a prescribed communicable disease, or to out-of-province employees impacted by a travel restriction.

If an employee intends to take emergency leave, they must provide their employer with as much notice as possible. An employee must also provide evidence that shows the employee is entitled to emergency leave within a reasonable amount of time; however, a certificate from a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner is not required.

The emergency lasts as long as it prevents an employee from performing their duties. When an employee returns to work following the emergency leave, they must be able to return to the same position they held prior to the emergency. If that position no longer exists, they must be put in a comparable position with the same wages and benefits as before.

For more details, see An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (No. 3).

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Medical Travel

As of June 22, Nunavut is resuming regular medical travel to Churchill, Manitoba. Medical travellers and their escorts will be able to return to Nunavut without isolating if they do not leave Churchill for the duration of their stay.

Taxi Fares

Taxi drivers can now collect fares from multiple households at once, subject to the following:

  • Whenever there are multiple passengers in the cab, everyone must wear a mask;
  • All passengers can still request that they do not share their ride with others, and, for now, cab companies must comply with this request;
  • Cab drivers must provide masks for riders who do not have them; and
  • Most importantly, cab drivers must obtain consent from all passengers before picking up multiple fares. This means that any passenger who is picked up, and all subsequent fares on that ride, must indicate that they are okay with riding in a shared cab with others.

 

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.

Disclaimer

This publication is provided as an information service and may include items reported from other sources. We do not warrant its accuracy. This information is not meant as legal opinion or advice.

Miller Thomson LLP uses your contact information to send you information electronically on legal topics, seminars, and firm events that may be of interest to you. If you have any questions about our information practices or obligations under Canada's anti-spam laws, please contact us at privacy@millerthomson.com.

© 2020 Miller Thomson LLP. This publication may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety provided no alterations are made to the form or content. Any other form of reproduction or distribution requires the prior written consent of Miller Thomson LLP which may be requested by contacting newsletters@millerthomson.com.