COVID-19: Cross country update (June 24, 2020)

June 24, 2020

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Entering Phase 3

The Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, announced today that B.C. is now entering Phase 3 of its four-phase restart plan, which includes the return of travel and tourism within the province.  Many hotels, motels, RV parks, cabins, resorts, hostels, lodges and back country operators are preparing to welcome guests in Phase 3.

The motion picture and television production industry may also resume in July as part of Phase 3.

For more information on Phase 3, including guidelines for B.C. travel and for social interaction, visit the B.C. Government’s Website.

Introduction of Economic Stabilization Act

The B.C. Government has introduced new legislation, the Economic Stabilization Act.  Highlights of the Act include:

  • Authorization for deficit budgets for the next three years, while the province supports economic recovery from COVID-19;
  • Bringing the Emergency Benefit for Workers into law and updating the eligibility date to March 1, 2020 (applications will be available as of June 26, 2020);
  • Authorizing filing and payment deferrals for employer health tax, provincial sales tax, hotel tax, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax to September 30, 2020;
  • Postponing the date that late payment penalties apply for commercial properties in classes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 to October 1, 2020, to give businesses and landlords more time to pay their reduced property tax, without penalty;
  • Allowing municipalities to keep school taxes and the police tax collected for the Province until January 2021; and
  • Requiring municipalities to remit taxes they collect for TransLink in July 2020 so it can continue operating, as well as allowing other municipalities to continue to make their service payments to BC Transit.

Update on Residential Tenancy Laws

As previously announced, B.C. is maintaining the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent. However, other notices to end tenancy may resume effectively immediately.

Specifically, the following tenancy laws are resuming:

  • A landlord can now issue a Notice to End Tenancy for any reason (other than unpaid or late payment rent);
  • Landlords with existing orders for eviction can take them to the courts beginning July 2, 2020, for enforcement and can enforce a writ order effective immediately;
  • Personal service of documents can resume; and
  • Landlords can enter a rental suite with 24-hour notice and do not need the tenant’s consent.  However, they are expected to follow health guidelines like physical distancing, cleaning and wearing masks when appropriate.

A landlords’ ability to restrict access to common spaces for COVID-19 related health reasons remains.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Measures to Make Life More Affordable

Effective July 1, $75 million of annual provincial sales tax from residential and business properties will be removed.

Starting July 1, the province is also reducing vehicle registration fees by 10%, which is expected to save drivers $11 million.

Filing deadlines for small and medium-sized businesses with monthly remittances of no more than $10,000 for the April, May and June sales tax and Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy, commonly called the payroll tax, have been extended through September.

More information on filing requirements is available on the Manitoba Government’s website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

COVID-19 Outbreaks in Windsor-Essex

A three-point plan will be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 on farms and throughout the community.  The three points include the following:

  1. Ongoing and Expanded On-Site Testing – Employers are being encouraged to schedule more mobile testing on farms;
  2. New Public Health Guidance – The Chief Medical Officer of Health will be issuing public health guidance, which will allow positive asymptomatic workers to continue working as long as they follow the public health measures in their workplace; and
  3. Access to Employment Benefits and Supports – Temporary foreign workers are entitled to the same benefits and protections as other workers in Ontario including workers’ compensation benefits and protections afforded by the Employment Standards Act. Some temporary foreign workers may also be eligible to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.

Declaration of Emergency Extended

The provincial Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act has been extended to July 15, 2020. The Declaration of Emergency allows the government to make and amend emergency orders to protect the health and safety of Ontarians.

 

Québec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Renewal

On June 23, the Québec government adopted an Order to renew the state of public health emergency throughout Quebec and to extend the measures provided for by Orders in Council until June 30, 2020.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 23 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a adopté un décret pour renouveler l’état d’urgence sanitaire sur tout le territoire québécois et prolongé les mesures prises par arrêtés ministériels jusqu’au 30 juin 2020.

 

Atlantic Provinces

Atlantic Provinces Form Travel Bubble

The Atlantic provinces are planning to ease travel restrictions in Atlantic Canada.  Interprovincial travel without the requirement to self-isolate will be permitted in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, for residents of Atlantic Canada as of July 3, 2020.

Visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each of the four jurisdictions. Other Canadian visitors to the Maritime provinces that have self-isolated for 14 days may travel within the Maritime region.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Salmonier Nature Park

The Salmonier Nature Park will re-open to the public on June 25, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. daily, with an hour reserved between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. for seniors, people who are immunocompromised, and persons living with disabilities. Social distancing and proper hygiene must be complied with while in the park. Washroom access will be restricted to one bubble at a time.

Visitors permitted within the park will be limited, and a maximum of 60 cars will be allowed in the parking area. Visitors will be required to enter through the check-in area at the main entrance of the park.  For more information, see this news release.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Child Care Spaces

Spaces for children have opened up in some child care centres. Currently, there are 121 centres and 2,223 spaces open, with 440 vacancies.

More spaces will open in Phase 4 of Renew PEI Together plan, which is expected to launch on June 26.  At that time, the maximum group size in a centre will increase from eight to 11, including the educator, and the maximum number of children permitted in a centre will be 42. Children who are immune-compromised will be able to return to their centre with parental consent and they will not require a medical note.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Farmers Market

Beginning July 1, the Whitehorse Farmers Market can welcome non-food vendors (i.e. artisans and soap and flower sellers) and buskers.  However, information booths may not open at this time.

Pools to Reopen

Effective July 1, public pools will be able to operate with an approved operational plan.  An operational plan must be submitted to COVID19info@gov.yk.ca and there must be a pre-opening public pool inspection.

Mental Health Resources

Vulnerable populations in Yukon can now access mental health and social supports online. Vulnerable groups include homeless people, those experiencing or at risk of gender-based violence, people living with disabilities, seniors, and people with underlying medical conditions.

Border Controls

Starting July 1, border controls will be eased for Yukon and BC residents, as they will be allowed to travel back and forth between Yukon and BC without the need to self-isolate for 14 days. BC residents entering Yukon will need to provide documentation proving their BC residence at the border or airport, such as a driver’s licence.

Also from July 1, residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be allowed to enter Yukon without needing to self-isolate for 14 days, as long as they travel directly to Yukon from one of the territories or through BC.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

The Government of the Northwest Territories has extended the territory-wide Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency. Both extensions will take effect as of June 24, 2020 and expire on July 8, 2020.

 

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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