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

22 mai 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Online Tool for Finding Financial Help

A web-based benefits finder tool, Find financial help during COVID-19, has been launched on canada.ca/coronavirusbenefits, to help people determine which government benefits programs best meet their needs.

The tool provides information on federal, provincial and territorial benefits programs, including the just-launched Canada Emergency Student Benefit, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and the Canada Child Benefit top-up, as well as measures such as mortgage and student loan deferrals.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Patio Expansions

The Government has temporarily authorized the expansion of service areas, such as patios, to support physical distancing requirements and industry recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support businesses in their reopening efforts, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch will now permit food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries, to apply through a simplified online process to temporarily expand their service areas until Oct. 31, 2020.

There are no fees associated with applying and applications will be reviewed in the order they are received.  A site inspection is not required prior to approval of the permit, but inspectors will conduct regular compliance inspections.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Calgary and Brooks to Reopen More Businesses

Starting May 25, the following businesses are able to reopen in Calgary and Brooks:

  • Hairstyling and barbershops; and
  • Cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars for table service at 50% capacity.

On June 1, the following can occur:

  • Day camps, including summer school, will be permitted with limits on occupancy;
  • Places of worship and funeral services can be expanded if they follow specific guidance already online; and
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses; however, there will be more flexibility to include in-person delivery once the existing health order prohibiting in-person classes is lifted.

The alberta.ca/bizconnect web page provides business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces, as well as sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one. Businesses allowed to reopen during stage one are subject to strict infection prevention and control measures, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders.

Through all stages of relaunch, physical distancing requirements of two metres will remain in place, as will hygiene practices.  Albertans should stay home when exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat. Albertans are also encouraged to wear non-medical masks when out in public places where keeping a distance of two metres is difficult.

Progression to stage two will be determined by the success of stage one, considering health-care system capacity, hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and infection rates. For more information, visit alberta.ca/RelaunchStrategy.

Increased Testing

Residents and staff in long-term care and level 4 designated supportive living facilities can now be tested for COVID-19, if they choose, even if they have no symptoms.

Effective May 25, AHS will add an extension to the online self-assessment tool for the Calgary region, allowing symptomatic individuals within the zone to book their own testing appointment if they live within 50 kilometres of an assessment centre and if the self-assessment tool indicates a test is required.

Non-Urgent Surgeries Resuming

Non-urgent surgeries will expand to include more day surgeries and those requiring an overnight stay.  Decisions on which surgeries proceed are based on clinical need with the sickest Albertans and those who have waited the longest being booked first.

Starting June 3, maternity services will again be offered at Calgary’s South Health Campus, including inpatient labour and delivery, NICU, postpartum and newborn care, and at the High River Hospital, including inpatient maternal and newborn services.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Public Health Orders Modified

Effective today, public health orders have been modified to increase the limit on gathering size to no more than 25 people for indoor premises and 50 for outdoor areas, providing social distancing measures are in place.

In addition, players, coaches, managers, training staff and medical personnel employed by or affiliated with a professional sports team may attend the team’s facilities for the purposes of training and practicing, provided that no members of the public are permitted to enter those facilities.

Support for the Lodge and Outfitter Sector

Today, the government announced that it is waiving big-game utilization requirements for 2020, ensuring that future allocations will not be affected by the loss of the spring season due to the pandemic, and providing additional black bear hunting opportunities to outfitters in areas with chronic black bear-related agricultural damage.

Moreover, the Guide License Program is being transferred to the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association (“Association”). This will expedite licence issuance to hunting guides while reducing government red tape. Once transitioned, the Association will review and assess licence applications, administer examinations for guides and issue hunting guide licences on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development. Further information on the transfer will be available at a later date, and hunting guides should continue to apply for renewed and new licences through the existing process.

Cannabis Retail Market

Today, Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton announced that the province is allowing more retailers to apply for cannabis retail licences. Beginning June 1, the province is opening the cannabis retail application process to all prospective retailers. This includes the introduction of a new controlled-access licence for retailers. Manitoba will also continue to offer age-restricted licences for retailers wishing to open stand-alone stores.

To become a retailer, applicants will be required to successfully complete the required application process, enter into a Cannabis Store Retailer Agreement with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, and be issued an applicable licence from the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba.

One location per applicant will be processed at a time and new entrants to the Manitoba market will be prioritized.  For more information or to apply, prospective retailers are encouraged to visit Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries’ Become a Cannabis Retailer page.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Support for Hospitality Workers and Apprentices

Today, the government announced investments to support hospitality workers and apprentices.  In particular, the government is providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 to help eligible apprentices purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade.

The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:

  • $1,000 for those in motive power sector trades;
  • $600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades; and
  • $400 for those in service sector trades.

To be eligible for the new grant, apprentices must have:

  • completed level 1 training on or after April 1, 2020;
  • an active registered training agreement; and
  • been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months.

The government is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. The Loans for Tools Program allowed thousands of new apprentices to buy tools, equipment, clothing, manuals and code books required for their trade. About 19,000 apprentices who participated in the program owed, on average, $495.

Finally, the government is investing nearly $2 million to open a Virtual Action Centre in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 75, a union that represents workers in hotels, restaurants, racetracks and casinos, laundry and food service companies, airport concessions and apparel, textile and general manufacturing and distribution centers. This virtual job training resource will provide up to 7,000 workers in the hospitality sector, laid off or unemployed due to COVID-19, with access to a wide range of services and supports online and over the phone, including:

  • Stress management and mental health resources through video conferencing;
  • Immediate health and safety online training for workers who return to work at designated quarantined sites;
  • Technical skills online training;
  • Online training to upgrade English language and digital skills; and
  • Peer group facilitation and employment preparation through videoconferencing.

Investment in Research Sector

On May 21, the Ontario Government announced that it is funding 15 research proposals that were submitted in response to a recent call for proposals for the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund announced four weeks ago. These projects focus on areas of research such as vaccine development, diagnostics, drug trials and development, and social sciences.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Reopening of Cultural Institutions

On May 22, the Québec government announced the reopening of museums, library loan counters and drive-in theatres throughout Québec as of May 29.

In public libraries, only book and document lending services will be available. Access to shelves and physical locations remains prohibited, except for authorized personnel, until further notice. Visitors will only be permitted to circulate in the service counter area.

Resumption of Recording Studio and Show Recording Activities

On May 22, the Québec government announced the resumption of music and sound recording studio operations and the recording of live performances without an audience as of June 1.

This resumption is permitted provided that general workplace measures recommended by public health authorities are followed, that a distance of two meters is maintained between people on stage or in the studio, and that the technical team is limited to fewer than five people.

CNESST Support for the Museum and Library Sector

On May 22, 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 museum and library sector 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.

Authorization of Outdoor Gatherings

On May 22, the Québec government adopted an Order allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from up to 3 different households. The rules of social distancing are maintained and the wearing of masks is strongly encouraged. Indoor gatherings remain prohibited.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Réouverture des institutions culturelles

Le 22 mai, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la réouverture des institutions muséales, des comptoirs de prêts des bibliothèques et des ciné-parcs partout au Québec à compter du 29 mai.

Dans les bibliothèques publiques, seuls les services de prêts de livres et de documents seront de nouveau disponibles. L’accès aux rayons et aux lieux physiques demeure interdit, sauf pour le personnel autorisé, et ce, jusqu’à nouvel ordre. Les visiteurs ne pourront circuler que dans la zone des comptoirs de services.

Reprise des activités des studios d’enregistrement et des captations de spectacles

Le 22 mai, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la reprise des activités des studios d’enregistrements musicaux et sonores et les captations de spectacles sans public à compter du 1er juin.

Cette reprise est permise à condition de suivre les mesures générales en milieu de travail recommandées par les autorités de santé publique, de respecter une distance de deux mètres entre les personnes sur scène ou en studio et de limiter l’équipe technique à moins de cinq personnes.

Support de la CNESST au secteur des institutions muséales et des bibliothèques

Le 22 mai, 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 institutions muséales et des bibliothèques 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.

Autorisation des rassemblements extérieurs

Le 22 mai, le gouvernement a adopté un décret autorisant les rassemblements extérieurs de maximum 10 personnes issues d’un maximum de 3 ménages différents. Les règles de distanciation sociale sont maintenues et le port du masque est fortement encouragé. Les rassemblements intérieurs demeurent interdits.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Deferral or Waiver of Business-Related Fees

On May 22, the government announced the deferral or waiver of a number of business-related fees, as well as steps to reduce regulatory burden. Effective immediately, the following measures are in place:

  • Collection of WorkplaceNL assessments from employers has been deferred to after August 31, 2020, with no interest or penalties;
  • Clearance letters will continue to be provided during the payment deferral period to allow contractors that meet certain reporting criteria to continue to bid on work and operate;
  • The interest-free payment plan for workplace injury insurance is extended beyond 2020 to March 31, 2021 to allow employers more flexibility to pay;
  • Safety training certificates are extended to August 31, 2020 for confined space entry, fall protection, mine rescue, power line hazards, traffic control person, first aid and Occupational Health and Safety Committee members;
  • Elimination or offer of rebates on aquaculture licence fees, and deferral of annual Crown Lands fees for aquaculture sites;
  • Full rebate of base fish processor and buyer licensing fees to assist fish processing plants and fish buyers;
  • Licences will not be cancelled for non-application for renewals until the public health restrictions have been lifted for real estate salespersons and agents; mortgage brokers; insurance companies; insurance adjusters, agents, representatives and brokers; and prepaid funeral services;
  • New licence applications will be processed for real estate salespersons and agents; mortgage brokers; insurance companies; and insurance adjusters, representatives, agents and brokers;
  • Businesses are eligible to have a portion of vehicle registration fees for vehicles registered to the business refunded, if they are not in use;
  • Commercial vehicles of 4,500 kilograms or greater are not required to have their safety inspection completed while they are not operational;
  • Deferral of the requirement for businesses to file yearly returns under Companies and Deeds Online and remittance of the accompanying filing fee; and
  • Payment of water use charges for 2019 related to microbreweries and wineries and aquaculture due in the 2020-21 fiscal year have been waived. Payment of water use charges for all other industries will be deferred until March 31, 2021.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

By Order, effective May 22, the province has renewed its state of emergency.

Reopening

Effective May 22, the following can occur:

  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses may open, including acupuncturists and naturopaths;
  • Personal services and businesses may open, including barbers, hairstylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists and tattoo artists; and
  • Two-household bubbles can be extended to close friends and family; however, it is recommended that gatherings indoors be limited to 10 or fewer people and that individuals should keep gatherings as small as possible, especially if there is a vulnerable person in the family or a child who attends daycare.

Starting May 29, temporary foreign workers may enter New Brunswick under strict public health guidance, including isolating for 14 days before beginning work.

Registered students can move to the province to resume or start studies at New Brunswick post-secondary institutions for the fall semester. This includes students from other provinces and from outside of the country. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Students are not permitted to commute daily from outside New Brunswick to attend classes.

Early learning and child care facilities are now be permitted to resume using outdoor playgrounds and equipment, provided they continue to follow the required stringent cleaning protocols. More information on which school facilities are open to the public, such as playgrounds and sports fields, is available through each respective school district.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

As previously announced, today the province entered Phase 2 of its reopening process.

As part of the provincial government’s COVID-19 adaptation efforts, Island property owners can now apply for domestic burning permits online rather than driving to the nearest Forests, Fish and Wildlife office.

 

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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