COVID-19:  Cross country update (April 20, 2020)

20 avril 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Canada/U.S. Border Restrictions Extended

Current border restrictions will be extended for an additional 30 days. Non-essential travel across the border is restricted, including travel for recreation and tourism purposes. The border remains open for trade and commerce to preserve supply chains between both countries.

Support for Indigenous Businesses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced up to $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.  The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions, to help Indigenous businesses unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 supports.  Funding will also help Aboriginal Financial Institutions cover operational expenses, and help the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association increase its operational capacity.

Sharing of Pandemic Good Practices

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has provided an online space, Pandemic Info Share, to enable businesses and organizations to share their pandemic-related good practices and resources.  The website is available in English and French, and users can search by industry/sector, resource type, and topics.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Price Gouging

Police and other enforcement officers have been given the ability to issue $2,000 violation tickets for price gouging and the reselling of medical supplies and other essential goods during the pandemic.  The Province is asking compliance staff from provincial ministries and local governments to support enforcement for the duration of the pandemic, including municipal bylaw officers, liquor and cannabis inspectors, gaming inspectors, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors, park rangers, natural resource officers, commercial vehicle safety officials and sheriffs.  Concerns about price gouging can be reported at consumerprotectionbc.ca/report-price-gouging.

A Ministerial Order also exists which prohibits unconscionable prices for essential goods and supplies, which are any goods and supplies that are necessary for the health, safety and welfare of people, including, without limitation:

  1. food, water and other beverages;
  2. fuel and gasoline;
  3. health care goods, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies; and
  4. personal hygiene, sanitation and cleaning goods.

An “unconscionable price” is a price that grossly exceeds the price at which similar essential goods and supplies are available in similar transactions to similar consumers.

Rural, Remote and Indigenous Communities

A new collaborative framework will help ensure people living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities in B.C. have access to critical health care during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.  The framework was developed through a partnership between the First Nations Health Authority, Northern Health and Provincial Health Services Authority.

The framework provides flexibility so local leaders in rural, remote and Indigenous communities can adapt it to meet their unique needs.  The framework includes these immediate actions:

  • improved medical transportation options to larger centres, including flight (seven fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters have been added for medical transport) and ambulance (55 ambulances have been added throughout the province);
  • housing options for people looking to self-isolate near their families while remaining in their home communities;
  • new and faster COVID-19 testing technology, including GeneXpert test kits which take less than 45 minutes to complete;
  • culturally safe contact tracing that respects privacy in small communities;
  • access to Virtual Doctor of the Day, a program that connects those in remote communities to a doctor or nurse practitioner using videoconferencing;
  • options for accommodation near larger centres with more medical services; and
  • increased mental health supports in communities.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Support for Continuing Care Facilities

New funding amounting to $7.3 million per month has been announced to help alleviate pressures in contracted continuing care facilities during the pandemic.  This additional funding will provide for:

  • Increased health-care aide staffing levels – funding will help facilities hire approximately 1,000 additional full-time staff;
  • A wage top-up of an additional $2 per hour for health-care aides; and
  • Up to 1,000 paid student practicum positions to fast-track certification and get more staff into continuing care facilities.

In addition, $24.5 million is being advanced to operators to help address immediate cost pressures due to COVID-19.

Interactive Map for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers can now use an interactive map on 511Alberta to find open restaurants and safety rest areas and vehicle inspection stations that have open washrooms and showers.

Fire bans

A fire ban is in place inside the Forest Protection Area of Alberta and Alberta provincial parks and protected areas until further notice.  For more information on fire bans, call 1-866-FYI-FIRE or visit albertafirebans.ca.

Extensions to Consultation Process

The Alberta government, through the Aboriginal Consultation Office, is extending timelines for consultations regarding natural development projects that could adversely affect Indigenous communities’ use of Crown lands.  The extensions involve up to 10 days for Levels 1 and 2 consultations and up to 15 days for Level 3 consultations.  Consultation pauses will still be available as a last option for Indigenous communities that need them.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment

Today, the government renewed its prior request for medical gloves (nitrile and vinyl), N95 masks and testing swabs.  As a part of the Manitoba Protection Plan, the province has invested $400 million to accelerate the pace of procurement of supplies to combat COVID-19.

The province has partnered with MWG Apparel Corp. to retool its production lines to supply up to 200,000 Level 1 isolation gowns for Manitoba front-line health-care workers.

Manitoba manufacturers or businesses able to provide supplies and those who are prepared to retool and rapidly scale up production lines to develop products made in Manitoba to help in the fight against COVID-19 are asked to visit manitoba.ca/covid19supplies to register their interest.

Shared Health has also issued a call to businesses who have personal protective equipment on hand.  Businesses that are interested in donating needed supplies that are in original packaging, clean and in usable condition can visit sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/supply-donations/.

Extension of Emergency Orders

On April 20, Premier Brian Pallister announced that the province-wide state of emergency declared on March 20 has been extended for an additional 30 days.  As a result, public health orders have been extended that:

  • limit public gatherings to no more than 10 people;
  • close restaurants (except for take-out and delivery);
  • close non-critical businesses;
  • require people entering Manitoba to self-isolate for 14 days; and
  • restrict travel to northern Manitoba.

For more details, see Orders under section 67 of The Public Health Act

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Medical Research

On April 18, Premier Doug Ford and Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, announced that the Province is investing $20 million to advance medical research and develop tools and resources to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

The Ontario Together portal was established to locate or manufacture emergency products and identify immediate and innovative solutions to help support the province’s response to COVID-19.  Proposals by Ontario researchers should be made through the portal and will be accepted until April 24.

Research institutions, in addition to individuals, corporations and other entities, are encouraged to submit ideas through the portal about how to build Ontario’s current and future supply chain capacity, expand health care capacity and knowledge, and better utilize artificial intelligence.

Emergency Measures

Today, the government released updated COVID-19 modelling, which shows that the enhanced public health measures, including staying home and physically distancing from each other, are working to contain the spread of the virus in the Province.  However, the Chief Medical Officer of Health stated that emergency measures must remain in place to continue reducing the number of cases and deaths.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

On April 20, the government announced $4 million in funding to the company Medicom, through Investissement Québec. The idea behind this investment is to accelerate the establishment of a factory in Montreal that will produce tens of millions of N95 masks and level 3 surgical masks. The manufacturing of level 3 surgical masks will begin in July, while the manufacturing of the N95 masks will start in August.  The project is expected to create 33 permanent jobs and to help meet the needs of the health system.

On April 20, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail launched an advertising campaign in the context of a gradual return to work in the upcoming weeks and months. This campaign, under the theme « Quebec gets back to work, safely, » will be broadcasted between April 20 and May 17 on various communication channels including radio, social media and television.

On April 19, by ministerial order, the government specified that, in the context of the reopening of housing construction sites from April 20 for any building or unit where occupancy is scheduled to take place no later than July 31, 2020, the services of real estate brokers, land surveyors, building inspectors, building appraisers and chartered appraisers are also permitted.

On April 18, Montreal extended the state of emergency on its territory until April 22.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Le 20 avril, le gouvernement a annoncé un financement de 4M$ à l’entreprise Medicom, par l’entremise d’Investissement Québec. Cet investissement est fait dans l’optique d’accélérer l’implantation, à Montréal, d’une usine qui produira des dizaines de millions de masques N95 et de masques chirurgicaux de niveau 3. La fabrication des manques chirurgicaux de niveau 3 débutera en juillet prochain, alors que celle des masques N95 commencera au mois d’août. À terme, le projet créera 33 emplois permanents et permettra de répondre aux besoins du système de santé.

Le 20 avril, la Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) a lancé une campagne publicitaire, conçue dans le contexte d’un retour graduel au travail dans les semaines et les mois à venir. Cette campagne, sous le thème « Le Québec se remet au travail, en toute sécurité », sera diffusée entre le 20 avril et le 17 mai sur différents canaux de communication incluant la radio, les médias sociaux et la télévision.

Le 19 avril, par arrêté ministériel, le gouvernement a précisé que les services des courtiers immobiliers, des arpenteurs-géomètres, des inspecteurs et des évaluateurs en bâtiment et les évaluateurs agréés sont aussi permis, dans le contexte de la réouverture des chantiers de construction résidentielle à compter du 20 avril pour tout immeuble ou toute unité où la prise de possession doit avoir lieu au plus tard le 31 juillet 2020.

Le 18 avril, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 22 avril sur l’ensemble de son territoire.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Effective April 17, the provincial government modified statutory deadlines under several statutes, including an extension of the timeline for prosecutions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act or its regulations from two years to two years and six months.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

As previously announced, effective April 19, the state of emergency was renewed until noon on May 3.

Effective April 16, the provincial government amended regulations under the Pharmacy Act to permit the modification of registration licensing requirements during a state of emergency.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Effective April 17, the government has implemented a new Border Control Measures Order at all Yukon borders.  The new order specifies to whom and under what circumstances entry will be permitted and requires travellers entering Yukon to produce appropriate identification, documentation and a detailed self-isolation plan.  Entry into Yukon is permitted for individuals providing acceptable evidence to an enforcement officer that they are:

  • Yukon residents;
  • Non-resident family members of Yukon residents;
  • Delivering a critical or essential service;
  • Transiting through Yukon to a neighbouring jurisdiction (24-hour limitation); or
  • Exercising an aboriginal or treaty right (for the time needed to exercise the right).

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Effective April 20, the government announced $2 million in funding for municipalities in order to cover expenses incurred in response to COVID-19.

 

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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