COVID-19:  Cross country update (June 11, 2020)

11 juin 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Supporting Communities Across the Country

On June 11, Infrastructure and Communities Minister, Catherine McKenna, confirmed that each province and territory in Canada has received money through the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) for the 2020–21 fiscal year to fund their most pressing infrastructure needs.  The GTF provides communities with stable and flexible funding for their infrastructure priorities across a wide range of categories.

Support for Indigenous Businesses

On June 11, 2020, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced additional funding totaling $133 million in new funding to support Indigenous business through the pandemic and into recovery. Of these additional funds, $117 million will reach community-owned First Nation, Inuit and Métis businesses including microbusinesses, who are not eligible for existing business support measures.

The remaining $16 million will create a new stimulus development fund to support the Indigenous tourism industry.  The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada will administer the fund to businesses across the country that have lost revenue due to COVID-19.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Additional Support for Forest Sector

Changes to the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation (MFPR) and the Coast-wide implementation of the variable fee-in-lieu of manufacture on log exports that were scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2020, are now postponed until September 30, 2020, and December 2020 respectively.  Delaying the MFPR and fee-in-lieu provides B.C. forest companies with more time to prepare for and adjust their business models to the upcoming regulatory changes.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Re-Open Saskatchewan: New Guidelines for Phase 4

With Phase 3 of Re-Open Saskatchewan underway, work is taking place to prepare for the next phase of the plan to re-open the provincial economy.

Re-Opening Activities

A target date for the first part of Phase 4 will be announced early next week and, in preparation, guidelines have been released for the activities re-opening in the first part of the phase, including:

  • Child and youth day camps;
  • Outdoor pools and splash pads; and
  • Outdoor sports and activities – individual and group.

The second part of the phase will include indoor pools, indoor rinks, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, casinos and bingo halls.

Updated Guidelines for Places of Worship

The number of people allowed in places of worship is increasing to one-third of the seating capacity of a facility to a maximum of 150 people – whichever is less.  Although the number of people allowed inside places of worship is increasing, public health measures and guidelines in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan still need to be followed, including the need to maintain physical distancing.  These guidelines apply to all worship services, including celebrations of life, weddings and outdoor ceremonies.

Guidelines for Graduation Celebrations

The Government of Saskatchewan has outlined the following options for consideration with respect to graduation celebrations and ceremonies in order to allow these events to proceed safely:

  • Virtual services: these are the safest solution and the option that is recommended by public health officials;
  • Drive-in services: these may proceed with the necessary public health measures in place (guidelines have been developed for staging safe drive-in services); and
  • Outdoor services: these may proceed if they are held outdoors with a maximum of 30 graduates per class and an overall attendance of 150 people (including graduates, guests and staff members).  Schools with larger classes may need to hold multiple ceremonies.  All graduation services must comply with the public health measures and the guidelines in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, including the need to maintain physical distancing.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Input Sought on Plans for Phase 3

The Manitoba Government is seeking feedback from the public on its proposed plan to ease public health restrictions and continue safely restoring services, while ensuring physical distancing.

The draft plan for Phase 3 of reopening the Manitoba economy is based on public health advice and consultation with key sectors and includes the following proposed measures:

  • Increasing gathering sizes to up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
  • Developing guidelines for faith-based and other cultural gatherings, pow wows and other Indigenous cultural and spiritual gatherings, and small summer fairs and festivals;
  • Easing border restrictions to allow residents of western Canada and northwest Ontario to enter Manitoba without the need to self-isolate for 14 days;
  • Resuming regular licensed capacity for child-care centres with guidelines in place;
  • Increasing group sizes for day camps from 24 children to 50;
  • Increasing indoor occupancy levels for community/service centres and senior centres/clubs;
  • Allowing people employed by or affiliated with a film production to enter Manitoba without self-isolating for 14 days;
  • Allowing people employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team to enter Manitoba without self-isolating for 14 days;
  • Removing occupancy limits for retail businesses while ensuring physical distancing measures are in place;
  • Increasing indoor and patio occupancy limits to 75% of total capacity for restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, microbreweries and distilleries; and
  • Lifting occupancy limits for regulated and non-regulated health professions including registered massage therapists.

Detailed information on the plan for Phase 3, including service restoration, measures the public can take to reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure or spreading the virus, and workplace guidance for businesses, can be found on the Manitoba Government’s website.

Additional COVID-19 Testing for Northern Manitoba

A federal-provincial partnership is bringing rapid-response COVID-19 testing to Northern Manitoba, ensuring patients at higher risk of transmitting the virus are able to quickly access their results.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Manitoba First Nation Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team, in partnership with the First Nations Inuit Health Branch, have deployed four GeneXpert machines to be used by health-care providers in Thompson, The Pas, Norway House Cree Nation and the Percy E. Moore Hospital at Peguis First Nation, to supplement COVID-19 testing already being conducted at facilities throughout Manitoba’s north. The GeneXpert machine, which can provide test results in as little an hour, is already used in a number of Canadian jurisdictions to test for infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza.

Health-care providers will use the GeneXpert test kits for patients who may not be able to self-isolate easily if they test positive and therefore pose a higher risk of transmitting the virus. These may include patients who are experiencing multiple symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have other factors that put them at greater risk of contracting the virus.

Northern Manitoba patients who do not fall within one of these categories will continue to follow the established process, which includes transport to Cadham and Dynacare labs for COVID-19 testing.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Ontario Introduces Public Transit Safety Guidance

In an effort to keep passengers and employees safe as more people go back to work during COVID-19, comprehensive safety guidance for public transit agencies was released on June 11, 2020.

The guidance provides transit agencies with best practices and tips to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as maintaining physical distance between people whenever possible, highly recommending that passengers wear face coverings or non-medical masks when taking transit, practicing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, installing physical barriers between drivers and passengers, using physical markers between seats, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.

The provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, has identified over 40 actions to help keep staff and passengers safe when riding GO trains, GO buses and the UP Express. These strategies include:

  • Piloting health and safety kiosks that provide customers with tools and advice on how to stay safe;
  • Enhanced deep-cleaning processes for vehicles and in stations;
  • Providing hand sanitizer on every GO bus and in every station, so passengers can apply during their trip; and
  • Installing dividers for safety on GO trains and buses.

Metrolinx has also developed a comprehensive educational campaign called « Safety Never Stops » to inform passengers of safety tips on vehicles, platforms and in stations.

Ontario and Canada Helping Small Businesses Go Digital

The Ontario Government, in partnership with the Federal Government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. Digital Main Street is a $57 million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

Through the Digital Main Street platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario’s strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19;
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support; and
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.  For more information, see the Digital Main Street website.

Along with the Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses.

Family Visits to Resume

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario Government announced the gradual resumption of visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other residential care settings.  Family and friends will be allowed access to these settings beginning Thursday June 18, 2020.

Long-term care homes will allow outdoor visits of one person per resident each week at a minimum. Retirement homes will resume indoor and outdoor visits in designated areas or resident suites when physical distancing can be maintained. Other residential care settings will be able to allow outdoor visits of two people at time. Physical distancing will be required for all visits.

Visitors will be subject to strict health and safety protocols, including requiring visitors to pass active screening every time they visit, confirming with staff that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks, and complying with the infection prevention and control protocols. This includes bringing and wearing a face covering during visits.

Additionally, long-term care and retirement homes, as well as other residential care settings, must meet the following conditions before they welcome visitors:

  • Homes must not be in outbreak;
  • Homes must have an established process for communicating visitor protocol and the associated safety procedures; and
  • Homes must maintain the highest infection prevention and control standards.

For retirement homes, visitor admissions will vary from home to home depending upon their individual circumstances.

Other residential care settings will also be allowed visitors under similar rules. These residential care settings include homes serving people with developmental disabilities, shelters for survivors of gender-based violence, and children’s residential settings.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Second Phase of Reopening of the Tourism Sector

The Québec government has announced the reopening of zoos, gardens and tourist welcome and information centres as of June 19. Artisans, processors and agri-tourism farms will be able to welcome visitors as of June 19 as well. Maritime excursions will be able to resume their activities starting July 1.

Recovery Plan for the Tourism Sector

The Québec Government announced a $753 million two-year plan to help the tourism sector. $446 million will be used to create an emergency component under the Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE) to enable accommodation establishments and tourist attractions to obtain loans and loan guarantees on advantageous terms. $200 million is allocated to support investment in business tourism in the hotel industry, a new component added to the Programme d’appui au développement des attraits touristiques (PADAT). In addition, a grant equivalent to the amount of the tax on lodging will be paid to hotels and bed and breakfasts, an assistance measured at $13.8 million.

Resumption of Training Activities Leading to a Qualification

The Québec government announced the resumption of training activities leading to a qualification, such as courses offered by driving schools and training courses at the École nationale de police du Québec (ENPQ), as of June 15.

CNESST Support for the Training Community

On June 11, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail  (CNESST) published a toolkit to specifically support the training community that qualifies for the management of occupational health and safety in the workplace.  More specifically, a guide to health standards, a poster and a daily checklist are now available on the CNESST website.

Construction Holidays

On 11 June, the minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity took note of the desire of the majority of employers and unions to maintain the period of annual summer holidays for construction workers. He invited employers and unions to discuss the postponement of the holidays until October 31, 2020.

State of Emergency Renewal

On June 10, the Québec government adopted an Order to renew the state of public health emergency throughout the Quebec territory and extend the measures provided for by Orders in Council until June 17, 2020.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Deuxième phase de réouverture du secteur touristique

Le 11 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la réouverture des zoos, des jardins et des  lieux d’accueil et de renseignements touristiques à compter du 19 juin. Les artisans transformateurs et les fermes agrotouristiques pourront recevoir des visiteurs à compter du 19 juin également. Les excursions maritimes pourront reprendre leurs activités en date du 1er juillet.

Plan de relance pour le secteur du tourisme

Le 11 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé un plan de 753M$ sur deux ans pour venir en aide au secteur touristique. 446M$ serviront à la création d’un volet d’urgence dans le cadre du Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE) permettant aux établissements d’hébergement et aux attraits touristiques d’obtenir des prêts et des garanties de prêt à des conditions avantageuses. 200M$ seront consacrés à l’appui à l’investissement en tourisme d’affaires en milieu hôtelier, un nouveau volet qui s’ajoute au Programme d’appui au développement des attraits touristiques (PADAT). Également, une subvention équivalant au montant de la taxe sur l’hébergement touristique sera versée aux établissements hôteliers et aux gîtes, une aide estimée à 13,8M$.

Reprise des activités de formation menant à une qualification

Le 11 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la reprise des activités de formation menant à une qualification, par exemple les cours offerts par les écoles de conduite et les cours de formation offerts à l’École nationale de police du Québec (ENPQ), et ce à compter du 15 juin.

Support de la CNESST pour les milieux de la formation qualifiante

Le 11 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 milieux de la formation qualifiante 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.

Vacances de la construction

Le 11 juin, le ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale a pris acte de la volonté de la majorité des associations patronales et syndicales de maintenir la période de congés annuels d’été des travailleurs de la construction. Il a invité les associations patronales et syndicales à discuter d’un déplacement des vacances allant jusqu’au 31 octobre 2020.

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 10 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 17 juin 2020.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Non-Resident Angling Licences

Non-resident angling licences will be available for purchase early next week for non-residents who have complied with all COVID-19 Special Measures and Exemption orders, and fulfilled self-isolation requirements as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  Individuals seeking a licence are encouraged to contact vendors listed on the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources website to confirm availability.

To lower the risks associated with COVID-19 and to complement public health guidance for all alert levels, the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources is encouraging all anglers to:

  • Keep all fishing groups limited to individuals with whom anglers already share close contact;
  • Limit angling to areas unlikely to attract large groups;
  • Make infrequent trips to angling supply stores and use contactless shopping opportunities where available;
  • Maintain a social distance of two metres from others, both on land and in a boat while angling;
  • Wash your hands often, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and avoid sharing supplies with others;
  • Follow all municipal, provincial and federal closures such as parks or infrastructure; and
  • Follow all provincial and federal angling regulations.

Virtual Appointments with a Nurse Practitioner

Residents can now schedule a virtual appointment with a nurse practitioner for urgent, non-emergency health issues via telephone, text, or video. Appointments for these virtual walk-in clinics are available seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

To make an appointment, people can call 811 or use the 811 HealthLine app. The app can be downloaded free through the Apple and Google Play app stores.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Investments in New Businesses and Innovation

The province is investing $750,000 to help start-up businesses seize opportunities emerging from COVID-19. Business incubators Volta, Ignite and the Organization for Nova Scotia Innovation-Driven Enterprise (ONSIDE) will receive funding to help new businesses get off the ground. Funding through Innovacorp will support start-up activities in Cape Breton.

Business incubators help start-up companies through a variety of support services, including physical space, access to technology, coaching, shared services and networking. Volta, Ignite and ONSIDE will also provide programs and supports focused on issues and challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The funding agreements are for one year, ending June 2021.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Recycling Services Resume

Most recycling services across the territory have now resumed after being suspended since March 30. Raven Recycling and many rural recycling and bottle depots are now open during their regular hours. People are encouraged to contact their local depot to confirm, as some rural depots are still working to reopen as quickly as possible.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Isolation Sites Concern Inbox

A new email address has been established to better address concerns and comments from clients completing 14-day isolations in the Isolation Sites in southern Canada. The new email address is isolationrelations@gov.nu.ca.

Travel to Nunavut

All travel within Nunavut that originated from across any inter-jurisdictional border is prohibited, with the following exceptions:

  • Nunavut residents returning to Nunavut who have a letter of authorization from the Chief Public Health Officer;
  • Nunavut residents who travelled to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for medical reasons, provided that they did not leave the city of Yellowknife;
  • non-residents entering Nunavut for the purpose of commencing a contract of employment;
  • non-residents entering Nunavut for the purposes of family reunification;
  • persons providing services in the course of importation/exportation of goods and other supply chain workers;
  • flight crews working on any flights arriving in Nunavut;
  • marine vessel crews working on vessels engaged in the annual marine resupply;
  • persons engaged in providing critical services;
  • Nunavut Inuit exercising their right to harvest outside of Nunavut;
  • a person from outside of Nunavut, who has an Aboriginal or treaty right to harvest in an area of Nunavut;
  • transient workers in operating mines who enter Nunavut on private flights;
  • construction workers; and
  • members of the Canadian Armed Forces posted in Nunavut.

Prior to entering Nunavut, all persons must complete a minimum 14 day isolation period.  More information can be found in the Government of Nunavut’s Travel Restriction Order.

Air Travel

All airlines must perform the following health check for each individual travelling to Nunavut:

  • they must ensure a passenger’s fever does not exceed 38˚ Celsius; and
  • they must monitor passengers for coughing and shortness of breath.

A passenger is not permitted to board the aircraft if they exhibit any of these symptoms.  As well, all airline operators must ask every passenger the following questions:

  • whether they have been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19; and
  • whether they are subject to a provincial, territorial, or local public health order.

Health checks do not need to be performed on crew members, passengers who provide a medical certificate certifying that they do not have any of the above noted symptoms, and passengers with a letter of authorization from the Chief Public Health Officer or a Medical Health Officer.

Social Distancing Guidelines

On June 8, the government of Nunavut updated its social distancing guidelines.  The following rules are now in place:

  • all persons in Nunavut must maintain social distancing of two metres wherever possible, except inside dwellings and between immediate family members;
  • all not-for-profit and for-profit businesses and organizations operating or carrying on business in Nunavut may open for business but must implement social distancing of two metres;
  • any not-for-profit or for-profit business or organization carrying on business in Nunavut that cannot, due to its physical size, maintain the social distancing requirements must limit the number of customers or clients on its premises to no more than five persons at a time;
  • dental practitioners are prohibited from engaging in the practice of dentistry, except in emergencies;
  • veterinarians may only provide emergency or urgent care, or essential supply chain services, such as prescription refills;
  • psychologists may only provide in-person emergency or urgent care services or non-emergency virtual services; and
  • public libraries, museums, and galleries may open for individual and family visits, but may not provide group tours or gatherings.

The five person limit does not apply to businesses and organizations who can maintain social distancing requirements, including:

  • grocery stores;
  • pharmacies;
  • Canada Post Corporation post offices;
  • fuel and motor vehicle service stations; and
  • financial institutions.

The social distancing requirements and five person limit does not apply to the following businesses and organizations:

  • the Legislative Assembly;
  • food establishments;
  • hospitals and health centres;
  • any Court operating essential services;
  • homeless shelters;
  • food banks;
  • home and community care programs operated by the Department of Health;
  • Government of Nunavut offices;
  • workplaces where the employer has limited access to essential workers and has implemented a remote-work program for non-essential workers;
  • construction sites; and
  • licensed child day care facilities.

More information can be found in the Government of Nunavut’s Order Respecting Social Distancing and Gatherings.

 

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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