COVID-19:  Cross country update (April 22, 2020)

22 avril 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Students and New Grads

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support of nearly $9 billion for post-secondary students and recent graduates.  Proposed supports include:

  • a proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit for students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.  This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities and would be available from May to August 2020;
  • the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will provide up to $5,000 for post-secondary education in the fall to those students who choose to do national service and serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • the launch of the “I Want to Help” platform which will provide information about available service opportunities;
  • expansion of existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment;
  • doubling the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21 and doubling the Canada Student Grants for students with permanent disabilities and students with dependents;
  • broadening eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21;
  • enhancing the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350;
  • increasing existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21; and
  • extending expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplementing existing federal research grants by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

International Students

Effective immediately, the government will remove the restriction that only allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, or the supply of food or other critical goods.  This temporary rule change will be in place until August 31, 2020.  To determine if the work qualifies as an essential service or function, students and employers can consult Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

A temporary change under the Emergency Program Act will allow B.C. companies, societies and co-operatives to hold electronic meetings during the province’s state of emergency, such as annual or special general meetings.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

A new tool, Alberta Cares Connector, has been launched to help connect Albertans with volunteer opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This tool is designed to help ensure organizations and programs that rely on the assistance of volunteers are able to continue to provide support to those in need.

The government is also launching the Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program to recognize Albertans who volunteer to support their community.  Volunteers can be nominated by fellow Albertans and selected for profiling on the program’s website and through social media.

For information on safe volunteering for non-health care volunteers, see Safe Volunteering Guidelines.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Today, Premier Brian Pallister announced that the government is providing up to $120 million to support Manitoba’s small and medium-sized businesses that are facing significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) will be available to any small or medium-sized business in Manitoba that has fallen into a gap in failing to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19.

The province will advance each eligible business a non-interest bearing forgivable MGPP loan of $6,000, for a total expenditure of up to $120 million.  The loan will be forgiven on December 31, 2020, if the recipient attests at that time the business has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account, as well as sector-specific grant federal programs specifically developed in response to the pandemic.  If the applicant has received benefits under a federal COVID program, then the loan will be added to the recipient’s 2020 tax bill.

To be eligible for the MGPP funding, a business must:

  • have been operational on March 20, 2020, the date the Manitoba government declared a province-wide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act because of COVID-19;
  • have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by the health order;
  • be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
  • have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
  • have an email address and a bank account.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Effective April 22, a ban on open fires is now in effect for all of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The ban specifically prohibits the setting of all open fires on forest land or within 300 meters of forest land for all regions of the province.  The declaration will remain in effect until September 30 and includes a ban on grass burning, brush burning, campfires and personal fireworks.  Gas barbeques and CSA approved patio wood burning devices are excluded from the ban, except in municipalities that have issued a ban for these devices.  This measure is being undertaken to reduce the number of wildfires requiring action by first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The minimum fine associated with a violation of the fire ban proclamation is $1,000.

Effective April 22, anyone returning to the province from Kearl Lake, Alberta, as of March 29 must self-isolate for 14 days.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

On April 22, the government issued a reminder that all open fires are prohibited until May 1.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Effective April 22, the government will now pay extra dispensing fees for Pharmacare clients for refills on prescriptions that would usually be filled for longer periods. For example, government will cover the second and third refill dispensing fees for prescriptions typically dispensed for 90 days, but which are only being dispensed every 30 days in order to help protect the drug supply as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

On April 22, the Chief Public Health Officer indicated that health restrictions are expected to continue for at least another month, but officials are planning for the process of easing those restrictions.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Effective April 22, the government announced that through the Nunavut Development Corporation, the Government of Nunavut is funding seamstresses to make 5,000 face masks for Elders, Nunavummiut with underlining health conditions, and non-medical first responders like firefighters.  At least 500 have been set aside immediately for air travelers, to comply with Transport Canada’s new face mask requirements for travelers.

Effective April 17, the territorial government replaced its prior travel restriction order with a new order.  The new order prohibits any travel within Nunavut that originated from across any inter-jurisdictional border, with the following exceptions:

  • Returning Nunavut residents with the appropriate letter of authorization;
  • Nunavut residents returning from medical travel, and any medical travel escorts, subject to the direction of the Chief Public Health Officer;
  • 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;
  • Persons engaged in providing critical services;
  • Persons engaged in providing support services to critical services workers;
  • Nunavut Inuit exercising their hunting rights as set out in the Nunavut Agreement may return to their place of residence in Nunavut if they have not travelled to a community or populated area outside of Nunavut;
  • A person from outside of Nunavut who has an Aboriginal or treaty right to harvest in an area of Nunavut while exercising that right may travel to Nunavut but shall not travel to a community or populated area;
  • Transient workers in operating mines who enter Nunavut on private flights operating directly to and from the mine site but they must remain at the site and not enter any community or populated area;
  • Persons being transported to a correctional facility or hospital in Nunavut, along with those engaged in said transportation;
  • Members of the armed forces and civilian employees posted to Canadian Forces stations and entering on military flights directly to and from the stations, but they must not enter any populated area;
  • Any person entitled to enter Nunavut pursuant to a designated federal Order-in-Council; and
  • Any other person with an urgent and substantial need to enter Nunavut and bearing a letter of authorization from the Chief Public Health Officer.

Prior to returning to Nunavut, or upon arrival, travelers may be required to complete a minimum fourteen-day isolation period, either voluntarily or subject to an order by an official having jurisdiction, in a manner designated by the order. Other individuals may be required to self-monitor and contact a Medical Health Officer to undergo a risk assessment.

 

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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