COVID-19: Cross country update (June 1, 2020)

1 juin 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Federal Gas Tax Fund

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year. This means $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June.

Rent Relief in National Parks

The Government of Canada is expanding its actions to support businesses operating in Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.

Over 700 businesses may now be eligible for relief from the Government of Canada under similar eligibility conditions to those of the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. The Government of Canada will waive up to 75 percent of eligible commercial rents for the months of April, May and June 2020 or equivalent amounts of annual rents. This relief is additional to measures announced March 27 allowing commercial operators to defer payments normally due on or after April 2, 2020 to as late as September 1, 2020.

Parks Canada will be contacting all holders of commercial leases and licences of occupation in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas to provide details on this additional relief being provided by the government. Information will also be made available soon on the Parks Canada website.

Funding for the Social and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced financial support of up to $6.4 million over three years for up to 16 organizations across Canada through the disability component of the Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP-D).

This funding will support partnerships between disability stakeholders and the federally regulated private sector and help to develop best practice tools and resources in the areas of accessible workplaces, accessible service design and delivery, and communication.

Participant Funding Available for Suncor Base Mine Extension Project

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) is making funding available through its Participant Funding Program to assist the participation of the public and Indigenous peoples in the federal impact assessment for the proposed Suncor Base Mine Extension Project, located approximately three kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Applications received by June 22, 2020, will be considered.

To apply for funding, complete the Application Form for the Planning Phase available on the Agency’s website at canada.ca/iaac under Funding Programs.

Support for Tourism in Western Canada

The Government of Canada announced funding to support tourism in Western Canada. The projects announced today include:

  • $500,000 to Indigenous Tourism Association of British Columbia
  • $1,450,000 to Government of Alberta (Travel Alberta)
  • $1,000,000 to Tourism Association of Vancouver Island
  • $500,000 to Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority

Funding for Health, Economic, and Social Support for Indigenous Peoples and Communities

On May 29, Prime Minister Trudeau announced new funding to provide critical support to Indigenous peoples during this crisis, based on needs that have been identified. The funding includes:

  • $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities. The investment will fund community-led responses to the pandemic, and provide targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nations communities. In case of outbreaks, this funding can be drawn upon to provide surge capacity and additional support for community-based services in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.
  • $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.
  • $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserves across the country, and two in the territories, to support Indigenous women and children. The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. The government also announced $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

B.C. Strengthens the Federal Commercial Rent Program

On May 29, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, issued an order pertaining to small business tenants who would have been eligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program but for the fact that their landlords have not applied for the program and have not entered into a rent reduction agreement with a moratorium on eviction. The order prohibits landlords from taking a number of actions for the tenant’s failure to pay rent due. For more information, see the Order.

Overnight Camps for Children and Youth

On May 29, Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, issued an order pertaining to overnight camps for children and youth. The order states that facilities for the purpose of providing overnight camps for children and youth may not operate at this time. A request can be made to reconsider this Order. For more information, see the Order.

Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect

Effective today, June 1, 2020, the following wage increases have been made:

  • General minimum wage increases 5.4% to $14.60 per hour, an increase of $0.75 per hour.
  • Liquor server minimum wage increases 9.8% to $13.95 per hour, an increase of $1.25 per hour.
  • Resident caretaker minimum wage, per month, increases 5.4% to $876.35 for those who manage 9 to 60 units (an increase of $35.12/unit), or $2,985.04 for 61 or more units.
  • Live-in camp leader minimum wage, per day, increases 5.4% to $116.86.

For more information, visit the Employment Standards Branch website.

Support for the Music Industry

The B.C. government is investing $75 million through Creative BC for Amplify BC to strengthen and support B.C.’s music industry.

The suite of programs will focus on relief, recovery and renewal for B.C. artists, live music presenters and music companies in four areas:

  • Industry initiatives: supporting the development of B.C.’s music industry, including up-and-coming talent, training, business development, export and research.
  • Career development: focusing on emerging and established artists.
  • Live music: providing support for B.C.-based live music events and the businesses that run them.
  • Music company development: focusing on innovation and supporting the sustainability of B.C.’s music companies.

For more information, visit the Creative BC website.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Stage One of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy

The first stage of the relaunch will be fully active in Calgary and Brooks starting today, June 1, 2020. More information on the Relaunch Strategy can be found on the government’s website.

Dispute Resolution Available for Mobile Home Site Residents

As of June 1, 2020, the government’s Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) will be accepting applications from mobile home site tenants and landlords for urgent issues relating to site possession and termination of tenancy.

Strengthening Agriculture, Agri-Food and Forestry Sectors

The Government of Alberta is funding Emissions Reduction Alberta’s (ERA) Food, Farming, and Forestry Challenge through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) Fund. The TIER Fund will be providing $40 million in funding, which will help farmers, ranchers, industry, and innovators navigate the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing market implications.

The application deadline is August 27, 2020. More information and eligibility criteria can be found on the Emissions Reduction Alberta website: eralberta.ca.

Expanded Mental Health Supports for Albertans

A $21.6 million investment is being used to expand online resources and virtual supports for Albertans who are seeking help for mental health and addiction challenges due to COVID-19.

This investment will provide Albertans with better access to supports through enhanced local resources. This includes online mental health education and support, guidance and brief interventions with a trained counsellor, and improved access to e-mental health treatment.

The following is a breakdown of the $21.6 million investment for online and virtual supports:

  • Expand Kids Help Phone and crisis text line – $1.8 million;
  • Expand Addiction Helpline and the Mental Health Helpline – $9.6 million;
  • Expansion of 211 – $3 million;
  • Big White Wall – $1 million;
  • InnoWell – $2 million;
  • Community-based supports – $3 million; and
  • Approximately $1.2 million in capital costs.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Guidelines Now Available for Places of Worship and Child Care Facilities

The Government of Saskatchewan recently announced that the target date for Phase 3 of Re-Open Saskatchewan would be June 8, 2020. On May 29, 2020, it was announced that places of worship and operators of child care facilities can now prepare to open during Phase 3.

All businesses that are eligible to re-open must following the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan guidelines along with the current public health order. The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan can be found on the government’s website: saskatchewan.ca/re-open.

Expanded Testing for COVID-19

Testing for COVID-19 is now available to anyone currently working outside the home along with anyone returning to work as part of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.

Beginning June 5, 2020, the testing criteria will also be further expanded. Testing will be offered to:

  • Those being admitted to acute care for more than 24 hours, including expectant mothers; and
  • Immunocompromised individuals and their health care providers.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Extended for Workers during COVID-19

On June 1, 2020, the Ontario government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. Workers will remain employed and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs. This ensures businesses are not forced to terminate employees after their Employment Standards Act temporary layoff periods have expired.

The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends.

Ontario Supports Those Struggling with Electricity Bills during COVID-19

The Ontario government recently announced it will continue to support provincial electricity consumers by helping those struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting today, June 1, 2020, customers will pay a new fixed COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour. This will come into effect for customers who pay time-of-use (TOU) rates. It will apply to TOU customer bills 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The COVID-19 Recovery Rate will be in place until October 31, 2020. Starting on November 1, 2020, customers will be able to choose a plan that best suits their needs with the option of either TOU electricity rates or tiered pricing.

Ontario Takes Additional Steps to Protect Seniors in Retirement Homes during COVID-19

On May 30, 2020, the Ontario government amended the Retirement Homes Act regulation, allowing the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to better support seniors living in retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak. This change increases the emergency payment for eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500. This can be used to support residents to cover costs for transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care.

The regulation change also requires retirement homes to report infectious disease outbreaks to the RHRA during COVID-19 and beyond.

Backcountry Camping available at Ontario Parks and on Crown Lands

As of today, June 1, 2020, backcountry camping is now available at Ontario Parks. This includes access points, paddle and portage routes, and hiking trails. During their stay, no more than five people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite; unless they live in the same household. Day-use activities will also be expanded to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas.

The closure of all other overnight camping and some day-use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves has been extended to June 14, 2020. All buildings and facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centers, park stores, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. However, some washroom facilities may be available.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Resumption of Activities in the Audiovisual Production Sector

On June 1, the Québec government announced the resumption of activities in the audiovisual production sector as of June 8. This measure includes filming, pre-production and post-production activities, regardless of the type of production.

CNESST Support to the Audiovisual Production Sector

On June 1, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail  (CNESST) published a toolkit to specifically support the stakeholders in the audiovisual production sector in their management of occupational health and safety. More specifically, a guide to health standards, a poster and a daily checklist are now available on the CNESST website.

Recovery Plan for the Cultural Sector

On June 1, the Government of Quebec announced a total investment of $400M to help the cultural sector get through the difficulties resulting from the pandemic. Since the end of March, $109M has been made available to around 1,000 cultural organizations. In addition, $290M will be invested in 2020-2021, of which $110M will be added to the current fiscal year.

Extension of a Support Measure for Businesses

On May 29, the Government of Québec extended the duration of the businesses’ credit for contributions to the Health Services Fund in respect of employees on paid leave to August 29.

This measure is in addition to those implemented since the beginning of the pandemic, including the Programme actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (PACME), the Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) and the Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE). All financial assistance measures can be found on the Government of Québec’s website.

Montreal – State of Emergency Renewal

On May 30, the Montreal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until June 4.

__________

Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Reprise des activités dans le secteur de la production audiovisuelle

Le 1er juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la reprise des activités du secteur de la production audiovisuelle à compter du 8 juin. Cette mesure inclut les activités de tournage, de préproduction et de postproduction, et ce, peu importe le type de production.

Support de la CNESST au secteur de la production audiovisuelle

Le 1er juin, la Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) a publié une trousse à outils pour appuyer spécifiquement les acteurs du secteur de la production audiovisuelle dans leur prise en charge de la santé et la sécurité du travail. Plus spécifiquement, il s’agit d’un guide virtuel de normes sanitaires, une affiche de même qu’une liste de vérifications quotidiennes qui sont disponibles dès maintenant sur le site Web de la CNESST.

Plan de relance pour le milieu culturel

Le 1er juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé un investissement total de 400M$ pour aider le milieu culturel à passer au travers des difficultés engendrées par la pandémie. Depuis la fin mars, 109 M$ ont été mis à la disposition d’environ 1000 organisations culturelles. À cela s’ajoutent 290M$ qui seront investis en 2020-2021, dont 110M$ en investissements additionnels à l’année financière en cours.

Prolongement d’une mesure de soutien aux entreprises

Le 29 mai, le gouvernement du Québec a prolongé la durée du crédit de cotisation des employeurs au Fonds des services de santé à l’égard des employés en congé payé jusqu’au 29 août 2020.

Cette mesure s’ajoute à celles mises en place depuis le début de la pandémie, notamment le Programme actions concertées pour le maintien en emploi (PACME), le Programme incitatif pour la rétention des travailleurs essentiels (PIRTE), le Programme d’aide temporaire aux travailleurs (PATT) et le Programme d’action concertée pour les entreprises (PACTE). Toutes les mesures d’aide financière se trouvent sur le site Internet du gouvernement du Québec.

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 30 mai, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 4 juin sur l’ensemble de son territoire.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Procurement Thresholds

On June 1, 2020, the Newfoundland government announced that a local preference provision has been added to the Public Procurement Regulations. This provision will mandate an allowance of ten percent for local suppliers for all procurements, to the maximum permitted under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.

These thresholds to which local preference will be added will be as follows:

  • Municipalities, local service districts, academic institutions, school districts and health authorities:
    • $105,700 (goods);
    • $105,700 (services); and
    • $264,200 (construction).
  • Crown corporations:
    • $528,300 (goods);
    • $528,300 (services); and
    • $5,283,200 (construction).
  • Departments, agencies and all other public bodies:
    • $26,400 (goods);
    • $105,700 (services); and
    • $105,700 (construction).

In addition to this preference provision, the thresholds at which open calls for bids are required have been increased to allow for more opportunities to direct business to local suppliers through a limited call process.

The procurement process in Newfoundland and Labrador affects all public bodies including municipalities, health authorities, school boards, academic institutions and government departments and agencies, as well as businesses throughout the province. Under the previous procurement legislation, the thresholds provided in section 5 of the regulations were $10,000 for goods, $50,000 for services (except architectural and engineering services), and $100,000 for construction for all public bodies.

The new increased thresholds at which an open call for bids is required are as follows:

  • Municipalities, local service districts, academic institutions, school districts and health authorities:
    • $105,700 (goods);
    • $105,700 (services); and
    • $264,200 (construction).
  • Crown corporations:
    • $264,200 (goods);
    • $264,200 (services); and
    • $264,200 (construction).
  • Departments and agencies and all other public bodies:
    • $26,400 (goods);
    • $105,700 (services); and
    • $105,700 (construction).

Additionally, the government has also implemented a short-term increase to thresholds for engineering services for municipalities and local service districts from the current $100,000 to $264,200. This allows this year’s municipal construction projects to begin more quickly, to maximize support for construction and employment opportunities throughout the province.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

The Government of Nova Scotia extended the state of emergency from May 31 to June 14.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

The Government of Prince Edward Island extended the state of emergency from May 31 to June 14.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Remote Cannabis Sales

A person licensed to sell cannabis may now sell cannabis remotely, either online or over the telephone. The cannabis must be picked up at the cannabis retail store.

When ordering, the purchaser must confirm they are not intoxicated and over 19 years of age.

The licensee is authorized to sell cannabis only after they have given a written notice to the Yukon Liquor Corporation of their intention to do so and only until the end of the state of emergency declared on March 27, 2020, including any extension of that state of emergency.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Face Shields

Northwest Territories’ (NWT) Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, has authorized two NWT manufacturers to create reusable face shields meeting Health Canada specifications for use in public settings in the NWT. A growing number of local employers looking to make their operations safer, and meet the requirements for protecting public health while resuming business, will benefit from the authorization.

Through the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Program, the Government of the Northwest Territories will support businesses and artists interested in manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment and non-medical masks.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

State of Emergency

The Government of Nunavut extended the state of emergency until June 11.

 

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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