COVID-19:  Cross country update (June 16, 2020)

16 juin 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Extension to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks. CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 over a four-week period for eligible workers who have stopped working or whose work hours have been reduced as a result of COVID-19.  This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.

The CERB is available to workers who:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old;
  • have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits, or have exhausted their EI regular or fishing benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application;
  • have not earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income per benefit period while collecting the CERB; and
  • have not quit their job voluntarily.

It was also announced that the government plans to make changes to the CERB attestation, which will encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches.

CERB applications can be made no later than December 2, 2020, for payments retroactive to the period of March 15 to October 3, 2020.  For more information or to apply, visit the Canadian Government’s website or call 1-833-966-2099.

Canada – U.S. Border Extension

The Canada – U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another 30 days. This was set to expire on Sunday, but has now been extended until July 21, 2020.

Food Rescue Program Launched

The $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program was launched today. The program aims to move surplus food commodities such as potatoes and other possible horticulture, fish and seafood, and meat through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians.

The Surplus Food Rescue Program has two core objectives:

  • Connect surplus food commodities to vulnerable populations to avoid food waste; and
  • Provide assistance to organizations serving vulnerable populations to acquire and process surplus commodities and food that would otherwise be lost or destroyed and distribute them to populations in need.

Eligible applicants include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations (industry groups, processors, distributors, food serving agencies, regional and municipal governments and agencies (including schools or school boards) that can demonstrate an ability to handle the full logistical requirements for acquiring, processing, transporting and ensuring shelf-life stability of surplus commodities and delivery to organizations serving vulnerable populations.

For more information, visit the Surplus Food Rescue Program.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Support for Child Care

The temporary emergency funding program (TEF) for licensed child care centres is being extended until August 31, 2020.  The funding supports open centres to operate with reduced enrolment and helps those that are temporarily closed to cover fixed costs, like rent or lease payments. In addition, the Province will require operators to use any surplus TEF – after meeting funding and health guidelines – to provide their early childhood educators with temporary wage enhancements or other compensation, such as training or benefits.  For more information, visit the government website.

Expanding Support to Restaurant and Tourism Industry

The Province has approved a temporary wholesale pricing model that will allow liquor licensees to purchase beer, wine and spirits at reduced cost. It will be in place from the end of July 2020 until March 31, 2021, when the program will be reviewed. The new model will have licensees pay only wholesale price of the products they order rather than whole sale price plus a retail mark up set by the Liquor Distribution Branch.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Phase 4, Part 1 Re-opening

The date for the next phase of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan will be Monday, June 22. This will allow for the re-opening of child and youth day camps, outdoor pools and splash pads, and outdoor sports and activities.

A date for the second part of Phase 4 will be announced at a later time and will include indoor pools, rinks, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, casinos and bingo halls.

Increase in Gathering Sizes

The Saskatchewan government also announced that effective Monday, June 22, indoor gatherings of up to 30 are permitted but only where space allows for appropriate physical distancing. Outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people continue to be permitted under the same restrictions.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Online Intake for Non-Profit Summer Student Incentive Grant

The new Non-Profit Summer Student Incentive Grant is now available to eligible charities and non-profit organizations that apply for the Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program. The Grant provides $6,000.00 to organizations that hire at least one full-time equivalent student under the jobs program for at least eight weeks. The application form and list of eligibility criteria is available on the Manitoba Government’s website.

Manitoba Expands Risk Recognition Program

The Manitoba government announced that it is expanding its $120 million Risk Recognition program to include more front-line workers who were exposed to added risk during COVID-19. The payment is currently available to part-time and full-time employees in various sectors that include the areas of health care, social services, justice, transportation, food and beverage, and essential retail.

With regards to the expansion, the province solicited input from stakeholders who voted to increase the qualifying threshold to a total pre-tax employment income of less than $5,000 per month, or $12,500 total during the 2.5-month eligibility period, excluding overtime from the total gross income calculation. Additionally, the program has been expanded to include hotel workers and Business Improvement Zone staff such as patrol and street cleaners.

All eligible workers can apply for the program and view the full list of eligible positions on the government’s website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Developing a Workplace Safety Plan

Today, the Ontario government released a general workplace guide to help companies develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients as they return to work in Stage 2. The guide is accompanied by a template which will help employers identify the risks, determine what controls are needed, create a safety plan, implement the plan, and communicate the plan amongst the workforce.  The guide and template can be found on the government’s website.

 

Québec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Reopening of Theatres and Cinemas

On June 16, the Québec government announced the reopening of theatres and cinemas throughout Québec as of June 22.

CNESST Support for the Performing Arts Sector, Theatres and Cinemas

On June 16, 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 performing arts sector, theatres and cinemas 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.

Back-to-School

On June 16, the Québec government announced that all preschool, elementary and secondary school students across Quebec will be back in school this September. Students in preschool up to Secondary III will attend class full-time, in compliance with the regular ratios. For Secondary IV and V students, they will either be in school full-time, or attend school one day out of two, with online classes and take-home work.

Adult general education and vocational training will also be conducted in class.

For CEGEP and university students, a hybrid formula combining in-school and at-home online learning will be preferred.

All school service centres and educational institutions must adopt an emergency protocol enabling them to quickly switch to distance learning if necessary.

Full details on the fall back-to-school can be found on the Québec government’s website.

Relaxation of Social Distancing Measures

On June 15, the Québec government announced that indoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted as of June 22. A 2-metre distancing must be respected between people, but in places where people remain seated, such as CEGEP and university classrooms, cinemas and theatres, a physical distance of 1.5-metres will be allowed.

As of June 22, physical distancing amongst children 16 years and under will be reduced to 1-metre, in daycare centres, schools and day camps throughout Québec.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Réouverture des salles de spectacle, des théâtres et des cinémas

Le 16 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la réouverture des salles de spectacle, des théâtres et des cinémas dans tout le Québec à compter du 22 juin.

Support de la CNESST au secteur des arts de la scène, des salles de spectacle et des cinémas

Le 16 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 des arts de la scène, des salles de spectacle et des cinémas 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.

Rentrée scolaire

Le 16 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé le retour en classe en septembre prochain de tous les élèves du préscolaire, du primaire et du secondaire, et ce, partout au Québec. Les élèves de niveau préscolaire, primaire et de 1re, 2e et 3e secondaire seront présents dans les établissements, selon les ratios habituels. Pour les élèves de 4e et 5e secondaire, ils seront soit en présentiel comme les niveaux inférieurs, ou en alternance un jour sur deux avec des apprentissages en ligne et des travaux à la maison.

La formation générale des adultes et la formation professionnelle se feront également en présentiel.

Pour les étudiants des cégeps et des universités, une formule hybride, alliant présence en classe et enseignement à distance, sera privilégiée.

Tous les centres de services scolaires et établissements d’enseignement devront se doter d’un protocole d’urgence pour être en mesure de basculer rapidement vers l’enseignement à distance si nécessaire.

Tous les détails sur la rentrée automnale se trouvent sur le site Web du gouvernement du Québec.

Assouplissement des mesures de distanciation sociale

Le 15 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé que les rassemblements intérieurs d’au plus 50 personnes seront permis à compter du 22 juin. Une distance de 2 mètres doit être respectée entre les personnes, mais dans les endroits où les personnes restent assises, comme les salles de classe des cégeps et des universités et dans les cinémas et salles de spectacle, une distanciation physique de 1,5 mètre sera permise.

Les enfants de 16 ans et moins pourront se trouver à une distance de 1 mètre à compter du 22 juin, et ce, dans les services de garde, les écoles et les camps de jour partout au Québec.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

The state of emergency has been extended for an additional 14 day period beginning June 11, 2020.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

The province-wide Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency have been extended. The Public Health Emergency is extended for 30 days effective June 15, 2020 and the State of Emergency is extended to June 28, 2020.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

The public health emergency has been extended to June 25, 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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