COVID-19:  Cross country update (June 12, 2020)

12 juin 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Funding for Food Production and Processing Sector

Today, the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund was launched.  This program prioritizes projects based on two objectives:

  1. Strategic investments to assist companies to improve, automate, and modernize facilities needed to increase Canada’s food supply capacity; and
  2. Emergency COVID response to assist companies to implement changes required by COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of workers. This funding will help increase capacity for herd management and will assist with plant retrofits or adjustments to existing operations to accommodate changes to processes and production.

Eligible applicants include for-profit organizations, cooperatives and indigenous groups. Activities can be retroactive to March 15, 2020 and must be completed by September 30, 2020.  Information on the application process is available through the Emergency Processing Fund.

Temperature Screening at Canadian Airports

The Government of Canada has announced that it will require temperature screenings for all passengers travelling to Canada or travellers departing Canadian airports for either international or domestic destinations.

For international flights to Canada, air operators must conduct temperature screenings at the point of departure, unless the local authority has an equivalent measure in place, in addition to the existing required health check questions for symptoms prior to boarding.

Within Canada, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority screeners will conduct the temperature screening of passengers as part of departure screening procedures. This is in addition to the health screening questions and the wearing of face coverings that are already required for all passengers.

There will be a phased approach to implementing temperature screening:

  • Phase 1:  By June 30, 2020, all air operators will be required to conduct temperature screenings of all passengers travelling to Canada prior to departure from international or transborder points of departure;
  • Phase 2:  By the end of July 2020, temperature screening stations will be placed in the departure section of the four major airports that are currently identified as the only Canadian airports for international travel (Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver); and
  • Phase 3:  By September 2020, temperature screening stations will be in place in the departure sections of the next 11 busiest airports in Canada (St. John’s, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, Victoria).

For more information, visit Transport Canada’s website.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Food and Liquor Establishments

On June 10, an updated Order to food and liquor establishments was issued by the Provincial Health Officer.  This Order allows licensees to increase their overall service capacities as long as they continue following mandates related to physical distancing and other guidelines.  For more information on the guidelines to be followed, visit the ministerial order.

Access to Gaming Grants

The Province is making changes to the Community Gaming Grants (CGG) program to make it easier for non-profit organizations to adapt and continue to provide vital services to British Columbians. Applications for the human and social services sector, which includes food banks, shelters, domestic violence supports, hospice, counselling services and others, are opening mid-June 2020, nearly two months ahead of schedule.

Other changes to the CGG program provide:

  • flexibility in requirements;
  • the ability to include new programs in an application to respond to COVID-19 specific needs; and
  • guidance on how to apply for grants given current uncertainty about whether programs such as annual fairs may be postponed or cancelled.

For more information, visit the program website.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Stage 2 of Relaunch

A reminder that Stage 2 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy begins today.  For more details, see our June 9 Update.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Protecting Agri-food Workers

The Government of Ontario is expanding the Agri-food Workplace Protection Program and committing up to $15 million to enhance health and safety measures on farms and in food processing facilities.

The Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program provides cost-share funding for farmers to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement workplace modifications and other measures. By significantly expanding the program, farmers can take additional steps to improve the health and safety for their workers and ensure the continued supply of locally grown food during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some of the measures already approved through this program include purchases of PPE, temporary housing for ill workers, building physical barriers for worker separation, enhanced hand washing facilities and a tent rental to expand lunch room space.

For more information, visit the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Healthy Food for School-Age Children

The Ontario government is investing $1 million to improve access to healthy meals and snacks for school-age children and youth during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of the province-wide school closures, the Student Nutrition Program has had to find new ways to support families experiencing increased food insecurity.

During this time, Ontario’s Student Nutrition Program has been adapted to include new local approaches to meal delivery, including distributing grocery gift cards or farm vouchers, delivering food boxes, meal kits or frozen meals and supporting food banks to provide nutritious items to families with school-age children.

Ontario Lifting 30-Day Supply Limit on Prescriptions

With the supply of many drugs and medications having stabilized in the province, the Ontario government is lifting the recommended 30-day supply limit for dispensing Ontario Drug Benefit program medications. Effective June 15, 2020, pharmacies and dispensing physicians may resume filling up to a 100-day supply when appropriate.  Ontario Drug Benefit recipients’ co-payments will also return to their previous amounts.

People are encouraged to buy the medications they need in reasonable quantities. The province will continue to monitor the situation to ensure there are no disruptions to the drug supply chain in the future.

Ontarians Encouraged to Establish Social Circles

People in Ontario are being encouraged to establish a social « circle » of no more than 10 people who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, updated public health advice to come into effect immediately province-wide to allow social circles of up to 10 members, including those outside the immediate household. Social circles are meant to support the mental health and well-being of Ontarians and help reduce social isolation.

Ontarians who wish to form a safe social circle are encouraged to follow these steps:

  1. Start with your current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household;
  2. If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including those from another household, family members or friends;
  3. Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle;
  4. Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle; and
  5. Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.

The province has also developed a practical guide to help Ontarians form a social circle.

The rules for social circles are different from the proposed expansion of social gatherings from five to ten people. Social gatherings can be any ten people from outside your household, but where physical distancing of at least two metres should be maintained.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Lifting of the Suspension of Time Limits for Administrative Justice Proceedings

On June 12, the Tribunal administratif du travail published a communiqué on its website regarding the resumption of its activities and lifting of time limits:

“The Québec government made Order in Council No. 615-2020 on June 10, 2020, thus permitting the resumption of in-person activities for all the matters brought before courts of justice and administrative tribunals. Thus, in-person activities are no longer restricted to urgent matters.

This Order in Council lifts the suspension of time limits for bringing proceedings before the Tribunal administratif du travail.

The government is, however maintaining the sanitary lockdown, thus limiting access to our offices to accredited journalists and the persons whose presence is necessary. We may, therefore, impose the use of technological means at a hearing or a conciliation session, provided the means are available to the parties.”

__________

Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Levée de la suspension des délais en matière de justice administrative

Le 12 juin, le Tribunal administratif du travail a publié un communiqué sur leur site Web concernant la reprise de ses activités et la levée de la suspension des délais :

« Le gouvernement du Québec a adopté, le 10 juin 2020, le Décret numéro 615-2020, permettant la reprise des activités en personne dans les tribunaux judiciaires et administratifs pour l’ensemble des affaires qui y sont introduites, et non plus seulement pour celles considérées comme urgentes.

Ce décret lève la suspension des délais pour introduire un recours relatif aux affaires entendues par le Tribunal administratif du travail.

Le gouvernement maintient toutefois le huis clos sanitaire, limitant ainsi l’accès aux bureaux des tribunaux aux personnes dont la présence est nécessaire et aux journalistes accrédités. Aussi, le Tribunal, ou l’un de ses décideurs, peut imposer l’utilisation d’un moyen technologique pour une audience si les parties disposent de ce moyen. »

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Extension of Time Period for Temporary Layoffs

In an effort to maintain the employer-employee relationship and provide employers with additional time to recall their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an extension to the time period that converts a temporary layoff into a permanent termination.

Previously, under the Labour Standards Act, an employee temporarily laid off for longer than 13 weeks in a period of 20 consecutive weeks would be considered as permanently terminated. As a result of today’s announcement, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has extended the period that an employee can remain temporarily laid off to 26 weeks in a period of 33 consecutive weeks.

The time period for making a complaint to the Director of Labour Standards has also been temporarily extended to 12 months from its previous six months.

Both extensions are retroactive to March 18, 2020 and will end on September 18, 2020.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Guidelines for Summer Day Camps

Day camps across Nova Scotia can reopen provided they have a plan in place to address public health measures.  Guidelines for day camps are based in part on child care guidelines which were created with input from infection control experts at the IWK Health Centre.

The guidelines also include feedback from some day camp providers. They offer guidance on how day camps can prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, manage disease outbreaks, advise staff on the use of personal protective equipment and outline public health measures that address physical distancing, hygiene practices, cleaning practices, outdoor activities and other considerations.

Based on these guidelines, all day camp operators must have an individual plan in place to support reopening that includes:

  • increased cleaning;
  • staggered pick-up and drop-off times;
  • screening staff and campers;
  • limiting group sizes to 10, keeping the same groups of children together;
  • multiple groups are allowed but they must be kept separated; and
  • increased hand washing and minimizing sharing of equipment.

Day camps will communicate directly with families about their specific reopening plans.

 

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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