COVID-19: Cross country update (July 23 – 24, 2020)

27 juillet 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Safe Restart Funding

To help communities recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Government will be providing cities and towns across Canada with funding of up to $2 billion to help support front line workers and critical municipal services. Provincial and territorial governments will cost match these investments.

The Canadian Government has also agreed to match up to $1.8 billion of provincial and territorial funding to support local public transit. For British Columbia, this means an additional $540 million in federal transit funding.

Temporary CBSA Service Reduction

As of July 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT, the Canadian Border Service Agency will be temporarily reducing service hours in the following locations:

  • Stanstead, Quebec (24 hours per day to 8 am – 8pm);
  • Clarenceville, Quebec (8 am – 12 am to 8 am – 4 pm); and
  • Crystal City, Winnipeg (from 9 am – 7 pm to 9 am – 5pm).

The reductions will remain in effect until further notice.

Support for Child Care

Through the Safe Restart Agreement, the Federal Government will be providing $625 million for Canada’s child care sector to help ensure safe and sufficient child care spaces are available to support parents’ return to work.  This financial support is designed to address new challenges created by COVID-19, including temporary closures and loss of critical revenue from placement fees.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Revised Order for Food and Drink Service Providers

Pursuant to the Public Health Act, Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, has issued a revised Order pertaining to the owners and operators of premises, including licensed premises, in which food services or drink services are provided.  This Order sets out the required safety practices that must be followed in light of COVID-19 and it includes additional measures for the hosting of events.  Details of the safety measures are set out in the Order.

New Child Care Spaces

As part of the B.C. Government’s commitment to increasing child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, the following new licensed child care spaces will soon be available:

  • 133 spaces in Victoria;
  • 52 spaces in Port Hardy;
  • 40 new spaces in Gabriola, Mayne Islands;
  • 68 news spaces in Qualicum Beach; and
  • 16 new spaces in Comox.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Protection for Commercial Tenants

Bill 23, Commercial Tenancies Protection Act received Royal Assent on July 23, 2020.  This Act provides the following protections to commercial tenants beginning on March 17, 2020 and ending on the emergency end date:

  • landlords shall not give a notice of default, distrain for rent, evict a tenant or otherwise exercise remedies under or terminate a tenancy agreement in relation to:
    • non-payment of any rent, rent arrears or both by a tenant due to circumstances beyond the tenant’s control caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • the applicability of an act of God or force majeure provision of a tenancy agreement or frustration of contract caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; or
    • the breach of any continuous occupancy clause of a tenancy agreement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • landlords shall not charge a fee or penalty for late payment of rent or non-payment of rent by a tenant; and
  • landlords shall not increase the rent payable under an existing tenancy agreement.

Additionally, if a tenant is unable to meet their rent obligations because of COVID-19, then the landlord and tenant must enter into a payment plan for the payment of rent.  The payment plan may extend beyond the emergency end date and it amends the tenancy agreement to the extent necessary to give effect to the plan.  If the tenant fails to adhere to the payment plan after the emergency end date, then the landlord shall have all remedies available under the tenancy agreement, as modified by the payment plan.

Child Care Supports

The Alberta Government will receive $45 million to assist in the delivery of affordable and accessible child care, under a renegotiated bilateral agreement with the Federal Government.  The funding will be used on three key priorities:

  • $29 million for affordability – Supporting low-to-middle-income families through higher child care subsidies;
  • $4.7 million for quality – Supporting childhood learning and development with high-quality programming and training; and
  • $9.7 million for accessibility – Meeting the diverse needs of parents and children across the province, including children with complex needs and parents who work outside typical business hours.  This funding will also be used to provide programming that addresses cultural and linguistic needs, such as Indigenous and Francophone programs.

The renewed bilateral agreement also includes $10 million carried over from the previous agreement to be rolled into Phase 3 of Alberta’s child care relief funding. This will support child care, out-of-school care and preschools.

Formula changes to the child care subsidy come into effect on August 1 and parents can apply on the Alberta Government’s website.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Revised Phase Four Plan

The Manitoba Government has adjusted plans for the fourth phase of the Restoring Safe Services roadmap based on public health advice and feedback from Manitobans.  Although phase four will proceed, some items have been deferred to a later date or will move forward with more limited implementation.

Items moving forward with more limited implementation on July 25 include:

  • maintaining current site capacity at 30% for faith-based services, pow wows, but eliminating the need for sub-groups (i.e. cohorts);
  • allowing stage performances and opening movie theatres to a maximum capacity of 30% of the site, up to a maximum of 500 people;
  • allowing casinos to open at a maximum of 30% of the site’s capacity; and
  • allowing retail businesses and indoor recreation sites to use non-permeable barriers when distances of two meters cannot be maintained.

The following proposed changes have been deferred at this time:

  • proposed changes to indoor and outdoor gathering sizes;
  • relaxing of self-isolation requirements for those travelling from eastern and southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada; and
  • walk-up counter service in bars, beverage rooms, brew pubs, microbreweries and distilleries.

On a week-by-week basis, public health officials will review possible adjustments and make further changes based on the public health situation at the time.  To view the updated phase four plan, visit the Manitoba Government’s website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Health Teams

Ontario Health Teams are designed to bring together health care providers to work as one team to improve patient outcomes.  The Teams provide patients with easier transitions from one provider to another with one patient story, one patient record and one care plan.  Patients also have access to 24/7 navigation and care coordination services.

Five new health teams have been announced, along with additional funding, to support the ongoing fight against COVID-19 and as part of the province’s plan end hallway health care:

  • Algoma Ontario Health Team in Algoma District;
  • Niagara Ontario Health Team in Niagara Region;
  • Ottawa East Ontario Health Team in Eastern Ottawa, Eastern Champlain and a certain portion of Ottawa Centre, offering services in both official languages;
  • Western Ontario Health Team in London-Middlesex; and
  • Western York Region Ontario Health Team in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and King City.

The province is also investing up to $25.25 million to support the 29 approved Ontario Health Teams.  $9.5 million will be dedicated to virtual care and the remaining $15.75 million will be divided between the Health Teams to be used for:

  • Expanding digital care, including training, education and purchasing new tools and technology for virtual visits, booking online appointments and patient portals;
  • Dedicating human resources to help develop and implement this new model of care, including more collaborative responses to COVID-19; and
  • Purchasing business information tools to measure the performance and outcomes of the Ontario Health Team model.

To learn more about Ontario Health Teams, visit the website of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Supports for Indigenous Businesses

The Ontario Government is providing the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) with $110,000 to deliver online tools and resources that will support Indigenous businesses during COVID-19.

The funding provided through the Ontario Together Fund will help the CCAB:

  • produce a data-driven report to assess the effects of COVID-19 within the Indigenous business community;
  • assist Indigenous businesses navigate various COVID-19 programs, services and procurement opportunities available through webinars and web-based assistance; and
  • enhance CCAB’s online resource platform, Tools and Financing for Aboriginal Businesses, which provides practical guides, training, networks, and a forum to connect and share best practices.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Increase in Size for Indoor and Outdoor Public Events

On July 23, the Québec Government announced that the maximum number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor public events will increase from 50 to 250 people, effective August 3. This new rule does not apply to private indoor and outdoor gatherings, which remains limited to 10 people.

Administrative Labour Tribunal

On July 23, the Administrative Labour Tribunal announced that it is now possible to file an originating pleading online on the Tribunal’s website in the labour relations, essential services, and construction and vocational qualification divisions.

State of Emergency Renewal

On July 22, the Québec government adopted an Order to renew the state of public health emergency throughout the Québec territory and extend the measures provided for by Orders in Council until July 29, 2020.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Augmentation de la limite de personnes pour les évènements intérieurs et extérieurs publics

Le 23 juillet, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé que le nombre maximal de personnes permis lors d’événements intérieurs et extérieurs publics passera de 50 à 250 personnes, et ce à compter du 3 août. Cette nouvelle règle ne s’applique pas aux rassemblements privés, intérieurs et extérieurs, qui demeurent limités à 10 personnes.

Tribunal administratif du travail

Le 23 juillet, le Tribunal administratif du travail a annoncé qu’il est désormais possible de déposer en ligne sur le site Internet du Tribunal un acte introductif dans les divisions des relations du travail, des services essentiels, et de la construction et de la qualification professionnelle.

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 22 juillet, le gouvernement du Québec a adopté un décret pour renouveler l’état d’urgence sanitaire sur tout le territoire québécois et prolongé les mesures prises par arrêtés ministériels jusqu’au 29 juillet 2020.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Renewed

The state of emergency has been extended effective July 26 until noon on August 9, unless the government terminates it or extends it.

Mandatory Masks in Indoor Public Places

As of July 31, masks will become mandatory in more indoor public places. There are exemptions for children under the age of two, children aged two to four if their caregiver cannot get them to wear a mask, and people with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask.  Indoor public places include:

  • retail businesses;
  • shopping centres;
  • personal services businesses such as hair and nail salons, spas, body art facilities, except during services that require removing a mask;
  • restaurants and bars, except while people are eating or drinking;
  • places of worship or faith gatherings;
  • places for cultural or entertainment services or activities such as movie theatres, concerts and other performances;
  • places for sports and recreational activities such as gyms, pools or indoor tennis facilities, except while doing an activity where a mask cannot be worn;
  • places for events such as conferences and receptions;
  • municipal or provincial government locations offering services to the public;
  • common areas of tourist accommodations such as lobbies, elevators and hallways;
  • common areas of office buildings such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not private offices;
  • public areas of a university or college campus, such as libraries or student union buildings, but not classrooms, labs, offices or residences; and
  • train or bus stations, ferry terminals and airports.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Moving to Phase 3

Yukon’s Phase 3 is expected to begin August 1, 2020.  Phase 3 changes being considered include expansion of family bubbles, gatherings and a return to sports play.  Additional changes will be considered based on public health principles and level of risk.  The Government anticipates that Phase 3 measures will remain in place until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

Visitor Decals

As of July 20, 2020, some vehicles with out-of-territory licence plates will be provided with a visitor decal when they enter Yukon at a border check.  These decals will be provided to critical service providers and visitors who have completed their 14-day isolation as required, including:

  • Canadians with plates from jurisdictions outside of British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut;
  • Americans providing essential services in the Yukon; and
  • foreign residents who have been permitted entry to Canada by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

The decal indicates that the occupants of the vehicle are not required to self-isolate and that the vehicle is authorized to travel in and around Yukon.

People living in Yukon can contact covid19enforcement@gov.yk.ca to request a visitor decal and people with out-of-territory plates can pick up a decal at the Emergency Measures Office located at 60 Norseman Road in Whitehorse.

Health and Safety Guidelines for Schools and School Buses

Detailed health and safety guidelines have been released for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings and for school bus operations.  The guidelines address spacing in classrooms, proper cleaning and disinfecting, and more.  Each school will develop school operational plans, which will be shared by school principals with school communities by August 12.

For more information, see this news release.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Public Healthy Emergency Extended

On July 23, the Government of the Northwest Territories extended the territory-wide public health emergency under the Public Health Act.

Extension of All Income Assistance COVID-19 Relief Measures

All Income Assistance (“IA”) COVID-19 relief measures currently in place have been extended to the end of September 2020. The IA program provides financial assistance to residents, including seniors and persons with disabilities, aged 19 years or older, to assist with their basic and enhanced needs.

COVID-19 relief measures under the IA program include:

  • exempting the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit in the calculation of IA benefits;
  • “payrolling” all clients so that they do not have to report each month, which ensures clients receive their payments consistently and avoids in-person reporting;
  • directing that all clients will engage in only one Productive Choice, namely, taking care of themselves and their families and not requiring them to report on this productive choice; and
  • exempting monetary donations from being counted as income in their IA benefits, as of April 2020, which may be in the form of gifts from friends, family, benevolent organizations or Indigenous governments.

For more information on the extension of the IA program, visit the Government of the Northwest Territories’ website.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Public Health Emergency Extended

Nunavut has extended the current public healthy emergency until August 6, 2020.

School Reopening Plan

A plan to reopen schools this fall has been announced.  The 2020-21 Opening Plan for Nunavut Schools identifies four stages that will direct school operations during COVID-19. The stages correlate with the impacts of COVID-19 in the communities. The less risk COVID-19 poses, the less restrictive the student learning environment will be.  Currently, all schools are expected to open in Stage 1, which is the least restrictive learning environment.

For more information and to review the plan, visit the Government of Nunavut’s website.

 

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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