COVID-19:  Cross country update (April 28, 2020)

28 avril 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Restarting the Economy

The federal, provincial and territorial governments have released a joint statement for restarting the economy.

A gradual approach will be used that protects the health of Canadians and ensures public health capacity for future waves of the virus, while at the same time continuing to support a range of economic sectors and Canadian workers.

Provinces and territories will take different steps at different times, reflecting the specific circumstances in each jurisdiction.

The statement reflects four main principles:

  1. taking a science- and evidence-based approach to decision-making;
  2. coordination and collaboration between all jurisdictions;
  3. continued accountability and transparency of all governments; and
  4. flexibility and proportionality as information changes over time.

The statement also identifies the criteria that need to be in place in order to begin to take steps to restart the economy:

  • COVID-19 transmission is controlled, so new cases are contained at a level that our health care system can manage.
  • Sufficient public health capacity is in place to test, trace, isolate, and control the spread of the virus.
  • Expanded health care capacity exists to support all needs, including COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
  • Supports are in place for vulnerable groups, such as seniors, residents of group living facilities, workers in close quarters, inmates, homeless people, and Indigenous people and those living in remote locations, along with health care and other essential workers.
  • Support and monitoring of workplace protocols are in place to keep Canadians safe at their jobs, and prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.
  • To avoid the risk of importation, restrictions on non-essential travel will be eased in a coordinated manner.
  • Governments will engage and support communities in managing local disease activity, including in child care, schools, and public transportation. Governments will also work with industry and economic sectors to support optimal health, reduced viral activity, and protection of the economy as it restarts.

For more information, see First Ministers’ statement on shared public health approach to support restarting the economy

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Supports for Commercial Truck Drivers

The BC Government is forgoing the usual restrictions and fees for food-truck operators who want to set up at key stops for commercial truck drivers.  Interested food truck operators can apply for a permit at the linked website.

In a separate initiative, members of the BC Trucking Association have spearheaded the Meals for Truck Drivers BC pilot, setting up food trucks at various commercial cardlocks throughout the province. Restaurants have also reopened many locations along Canadian highways for take-out and restroom use for commercial drivers.

Along with allowing food trucks, the Province has recently completed the installation of more than 25 portable toilets at commercial pullouts and inspection stations in the province to improve travel for commercial truck drivers.

For a constantly updated map of locations and times for these food trucks, visit the Meals for Truckers page: mealsfortruckers.ca.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Select Registry Services Available Remotely

The Alberta Government is temporarily allowing registry agents to provide select services by phone, secure email, fax or mail including:

  • All corporate registry services, available by fax or email;
  • All personal property registry services, available by fax or email; and
  • Select motor vehicles services, available by telephone, fax, mail or email (with secure encryption), including:
    • One-year driver’s licence and identification card renewals (with existing photo);
    • Driver’s licence and ID card replacement or cancellation;
    • Vehicle registration renewals;
    • Duplicate vehicle registration certificates;
    • Replacement expiry date stickers for licence plates;
    • Vehicle registration transfers (to a new vehicle);
    • Driver abstracts; and
    • Specialty plate orders.

There are some services that registry agents cannot process remotely, and therefore require in-person service, including:

  • New driver’s licence or ID card applications;
  • Driver’s licence and ID card renewals requiring an updated photo; and
  • Vital Statistics services, such as ordering birth or death certificates.

Albertans with driver’s licences, ID cards and vehicle registrations expiring March 17 through May 14 have until May 15 to renew.  Registry agents can be found online.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

New Temporary Emergency Orders

Today, Premier Brian Pallister announced that the government is implementing the following new temporary orders under The Emergency Measures Act, retroactive to the beginning of the state of emergency March 20, to protect vulnerable Manitobans, to help the economy, and to ensure the flow of goods and supplies into and out of Manitoba:

  • Youth-in-Care Provisions Order – Youth in the Child and Family Services system who turn 18 during this period must continue to be offered ongoing supports.  This extension also applies to young adults who have chosen to sign a voluntary agreement to continue to receive assistance as they transition to independence, which would allow them to remain eligible beyond age 21.
  • Student Aid Provisions Order – Post-secondary students will remain eligible for aid, even if they temporarily stop qualifying during the state of emergency period.  The provision lowers the minimum monthly repayment to $0 from $25, suspends the obligation for a student to start paying back their loan eight months after they end their studies, prevents borrowers from going into default during the state of emergency period and extends the maximum term for repayment.  Those with existing loans are not obligated to pay back their loan for six months beginning March 30.
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement Credential Provisions Order – This order suspends the requirement that a carrier licensed under the agreement must have and display credentials, and the province will not fine licensed carriers if their licensing authority was unable to distribute their credentials.
  • Trucking and Transportation Provisions Order – This order extends the expiry dates on certain permits, certificates or registrations until July 31.  This includes qualifying vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP), the vehicle registration system for trucks and buses operating inter-jurisdictionally between Manitoba and other provinces or states throughout North America.  Deadlines to pay IRP registration renewal charges are also extended.  The order also extends the period between required inspections on vehicles such as buses and commercial carriers, extends annual overweight or over-dimensional vehicle permits, and extends safety fitness certificates for commercial carriers.  The order will also provide a temporary exemption from the need for single-trip permits for increased vehicle weights and for commercial vehicles from other jurisdictions.

The regular three-month deadline for new residents and non-residents to replace their out-of-province driving permits with a Manitoba driver’s licence, vehicle registration or insurance is also extended to July 31 (or three months after they enter the province, whichever time period is longer).

Expanding Testing

Today, Premier Brian Pallister announced that the province is expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to any Manitoban with symptoms of COVID-19, even mild symptoms including a cough, runny nose, sore throat and/or fever, to be tested to better determine the spread of the virus in Manitoba.

In order to facilitate enhanced testing province-wide, Dynacare will begin significantly increasing COVID-19 testing alongside Manitoba’s primary public health lab, Cadham Provincial Lab (CPL).

The province expects to have testing capacity of well over 3,000 tests a day, as CPL’s capacity is at over 1,000 tests daily and the Manitoba government and Dynacare have partnered to be able to provide up to 2,000 tests a day before the end of summer.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Support for Businesses

Today, the Ontario Government announced it is launching the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic.  Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website.  The province is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

On April 27, 2020, the City of Montréal renewed the state of emergency until May 1, 2020 with respect to the territory of the Montréal agglomeration, in accordance with the Civil Protection Act.

Meetings

On April 27, 2020, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Québec announced that it would be possible, for the duration of the health emergency, to hold assemblies, meetings or sittings at distance where laws or regulations would normally prevent it.  This measure targets:

  • Corporations whose by-laws prohibit participation in a meeting or assembly by technological means;
  • Not-for-profit legal persons incorporated under Part III of the Companies Act whose constitution or by-laws prohibit participation in a meeting by technological means;
  • Co-operatives for their annual meeting or those whose by-laws do not permit it for a special meeting;
  • Partnerships whose contract prohibits participation in a meeting or assembly by technological means;
  • The board of commissioners of an English school board and the school council of an elementary or secondary school; and
  • Professional orders and condominium associations.

Where a secret vote must be held, it may be held by any agreed means of communication that preserves the secrecy of the vote.

Plan to Reopen Certain Sectors of the Economy

On April 28, 2020, the Government of Québec announced its plan to reopen certain economic sectors in Québec.  This reopening, which will take place in May, will be done gradually depending on activities and regions.  Furthermore, teleworking remains the preferred option for as many sectors of activity as possible until further notice.

Retail Stores and Supply Chain

Retail stores with direct access to the exterior located outside the Montreal Metropolitan Community region will be able to reopen their doors as of May 4, 2020.  As for the Montreal Metropolitan Community region, retail stores with direct access to the exterior will be able to reopen as of May 11, 2020.  Companies in the retail supply chain will be able to resume operations on the same dates.  Shopping centres must remain closed.

Manufacturing Sector

The resumption of manufacturing sector activities will take place in two stages in order to ensure compliance with the health rules enacted by the public health authorities and the CNESST.

  • As of May 11, 2020, manufacturing companies in all regions of Québec will be able to resume their activities.  A maximum of 50 workers, plus 50% of the remaining employees, can be present per shift in the workplace at all times.
  • As of May 25, 2020, if all goes well, manufacturing companies in all regions of Québec will be authorized to resume their activities without any restriction as to the number of employees present.  The health rules enacted by the public health authorities and the CNESST will still have to be followed by employers and workers.

Construction Sector

The entire construction industry will be able to reopen as of May 11, 2020.  Teleworking will be prioritized for employees performing administrative tasks.  Construction sites will, therefore, resume in all sectors of the construction industry, i.e., public transit and road construction sites, residential, institutional, commercial and industrial.  The industry’s supply chains will thus be able to reopen.

Employers and workers in the construction sector will have to comply with the health guidelines set out in the COVID-19 Guide – Construction Sites.

Reopening of other sectors

Shopping malls, restaurants, personal care, venues, and the cultural and tourism sectors remain closed and are currently the subject of work and discussions between Quebec’s public health authorities, CNESST and the ministries concerned.

Extension of temporary changes to hours and days of operation

The Government of Québec will maintain temporary changes to business hours and days of operation for as long as the health emergency lasts.  Thus, pharmacies, grocery stores and other food businesses, as well as establishments offering grocery or pharmacy services outside shopping centres will be able to continue to extend their business hours beyond the legal hours from Monday to Saturday until May 31, 2020.  All commercial establishments must remain closed to the public every Sunday in the month of May, with the exception of pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations.  Restaurants will only be able to make orders, the same as grocery stores.

It should be noted that these extensions could be reviewed based on the decisions of the public health authorities.

Workplace Health Standards

All establishments will have to comply with the health rules enacted by the public health authorities and the CNESST as set out in the Generic Guide to Workplace Health Standards – COVID-19, which is only available in French for the moment.  Among other things, employers will have to install hygiene stations and encourage the adoption of flexible hours.  Sanctions will be applicable in the event of violation of the rules set out in the guide.

CNESST has made available a virtual toolkit online to help and support employers and workers in complying with public health guidelines.  This kit includes a workplace health standards guide specific to COVID-19, checklists for all sectors, sample posters for preventive measures, and additional tools for certain sectors, namely the manufacturing, retail and construction sectors.

This toolkit is intended to evolve over time and will adapt to Public Health measures and recommendations.  It is only available in French at the moment at the following link: https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/salle-de-presse/covid-19/Pages/trousse.aspx.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

État d’urgence prolongé

Le 27 avril 2020, la Ville de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 1er mai à l’égard du territoire de l’agglomération de Montréal, en vertu de la Loi sur la sécurité civile.

Réunions

Le 27 avril 2020, la ministre de la Justice et procureure générale du Québec a annoncé qu’il serait possible, durant toute la durée de l’état d’urgence sanitaire, de tenir à distance des assemblées, des réunions ou des séances pour lesquelles les lois ou règlements l’empêcheraient en temps normal. Cette mesure vise notamment :

  • Les sociétés par actions dont le règlement intérieur interdit la participation à une réunion ou à une assemblée par des moyens technologiques;
  • Les personnes morales sans but lucratif constituées en vertu de la Partie III de la Loi sur les compagnies et dont l’acte constitutif ou les règlements interdisent la participation à une assemblée par des moyens technologiques;
  • Les coopératives pour leur assemblée annuelle ou encore celles dont le règlement intérieur ne le permet pas pour une assemblée extraordinaire;
  • Les sociétés de personnes dont le contrat interdit la participation à une réunion ou à une assemblée par des moyens technologiques;
  • Le conseil des commissaires d’une commission scolaire anglophone et le conseil d’établissement d’une école primaire ou secondaire;
  • Les ordres professionnels et les syndicats de copropriété.

Lorsqu’un vote secret doit être tenu, il pourra l’être par tout moyen de communication convenu qui permette de préserver le caractère secret du vote.

Plan de réouverture de certains secteurs de l’économie

Le 28 avril 2020, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé son plan de réouverture de certains secteurs économiques du Québec. Cette réouverture qui aura lieu au mois de mai se fera progressivement en fonction des activités ainsi que des régions. Par ailleurs, le télétravail reste toujours l’option à privilégier jusqu’à nouvel ordre pour le plus de secteurs d’activité possible.

Commerce de détail et chaîne d’approvisionnement

Les commerces de détail ayant un accès direct à l’extérieur situés à l’extérieur de la région de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal pourront rouvrir leurs portes dès le 4 mai 2020. Quant à la région de la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, les commerces de détail ayant un accès direct à l’extérieur pourront rouvrir à partir du 11 mai 2020.

Les entreprises de la chaîne d’approvisionnement des commerces de détail pourront reprendre leurs activités aux mêmes dates.

Les centres commerciaux doivent demeurer fermés.

Secteur manufacturier

La relance du secteur manufacturier se fera en deux étapes afin de permettre le respect des règles sanitaires édictées par les autorités de santé publique et la CNESST.

  • À partir du 11 mai 2020, les entreprises manufacturières de toutes les régions du Québec pourront reprendre leurs activités. Elles devront compter, en tout temps sur un même site, un nombre maximal de 50 travailleurs additionné de 50% des employés excédentaires par quart de travail.
  • À partir du 25 mai 2020, si tout se passe bien, les entreprises manufacturières de toutes les régions du Québec seront autorisées à reprendre leurs activités sans aucune restriction quant au nombre d’employés présent. Les règles sanitaires édictées par les autorités de santé publique et la CNESST devront toujours être suivies par les employeurs et les travailleurs.

Secteur de la construction

L’industrie de la construction complète pourra rouvrir à compter du 11 mai 2020. Le télétravail devra être privilégié pour le personnel effectuant des tâches administratives. Les chantiers reprendront donc dans l’ensemble des secteurs de l’industrie de la construction, soit : les chantiers de transport collectif et routier, le résidentiel, l’institutionnel, le commercial ainsi que l’industriel.  Les chaînes d’approvisionnement de l’industrie pourront par ce fait même rouvrir.

Les employeurs et les travailleurs du secteur de la construction devront respecter les consignes sanitaires édictées au Guide COVID-19 – Chantiers de construction.

Réouverture des autres secteurs

Les centres commerciaux, la restauration, les soins personnels, les lieux de diffusion ainsi que les secteurs culturel et touristique restent fermés et font actuellement l’objet de travaux et de discussions entre les autorités de santé publique du Québec, la CNESST et les ministères concernés.

Prolongation des changements temporaires aux heures et aux jours d’ouverture

Le gouvernement du Québec maintient les changements temporaires aux heures et aux jours d’ouverture des commerces aussi longtemps que durera l’urgence sanitaire. Ainsi, les pharmacies, les épiceries et les autres commerces d’alimentation ainsi que les établissements offrant des services d’épicerie ou de pharmacie en dehors des centres commerciaux pourront continuer d’étendre leurs heures d’ouverture au-delà des périodes légales du lundi au samedi jusqu’au 31 mai 2020. Tous les établissements commerciaux devront demeurer fermés au public tous les dimanches du mois de mai 2020, à l’exception des pharmacies, des dépanneurs et des stations-service. Les restaurants pourront uniquement offrir les commandes, même chose que pour les épiceries.

Il est à noter que cette reprise pourrait être revue en fonction des décisions des autorités de santé publique.

Normes de santé au travail

Tous les établissements devront se conformer aux règles sanitaires édictées par les autorités de la santé publique et la CNESST prévues dans le Guide générique de normes sanitaires en milieu de travail – COVID-19.  Les employeurs devront, entre autres, installer des stations d’hygiène et favoriser l’adoption d’horaires flexibles. Des sanctions seront applicables dans l’éventualité de violation des règles édictées au guide.

La CNESST a mis en ligne une trousse d’outils virtuelle pour aider et soutenir les employeurs et les travailleurs à se conformer aux consignes sanitaires de la santé publique. Cette trousse comprend un guide de normes sanitaires en milieu de travail spécifique pour la COVID-19, des aide-mémoires pour tous les secteurs, des modèles d’affiches pour les mesures de prévention ainsi que des outils supplémentaires pour certains secteurs, soit le secteur manufacturier, le secteur du commerce de détail et le secteur de la construction.

Cette trousse est vouée à être évolutive et s’adaptera aux mesures et recommandations de la Santé publique. Elle est disponible au lien suivant : https://www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca/salle-de-presse/covid-19/Pages/trousse.aspx.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Effective April 28, the government has amended an order which prohibits long-term-care and personal care workers from working at multiple sites; they are now prohibited from working at any other outside job when employed by one of those facilities.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Extended

On April 30, the state of emergency will be renewed for an additional 14-day period.

COVID-19 Emergency Leave

Retroactive to March 12, an employee is eligible for an unpaid COVID-19 emergency leave if they are:

  1. Under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment related to COVID-19;
  2. Acting in accordance with an order under the Public Health Act related to COVID-19;
  3. In quarantine or isolation or otherwise subject to a control measure implemented in relation to COVID-19;
  4. Directed by their employer in response to the employer’s concern that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to COVID-19;
  5. Providing care or support to an individual with whom the employee shares a close family relationship because of a matter related to COVID-19 that concerns that individual (including school/childcare closures); or
  6. Directly affected by travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to New Brunswick.

An employer who suspends, lays off, dismisses or otherwise terminates an employee eligible or deemed to be eligible to be granted an emergency leave shall be deemed to have granted the employee an emergency leave.  An employee intending to take the leave shall notify the employer in writing as soon as possible of their intention and the anticipated commencement and duration of the leave.  Employers may not request a medical certificate or other proof from a medical practitioner regarding eligibility for the leave.

Expanded Testing Protocols

Effective April 28, the government expanded testing protocols; if an individual or anyone in their family is experiencing any two of the following symptoms, they should call 811:

The new symptoms are:

    • a new onset of fatigue;
    • a new onset of muscle pain;
    • diarrhea;
    • loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
    • in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes.

These symptoms are in addition to:

    • fever above 38°C;
    • a new cough or worsening chronic cough;
    • sore throat;
    • runny nose; and
    • headache.

Temporary Foreign Workers

The provincial government has updated its mandatory order under the state of emergency to restrict temporary foreign workers from entering New Brunswick.  This restriction does not affect the status of temporary foreign workers currently in the province.

Moving Students

With the conclusion of the academic year for students attending universities and community colleges, the following rules are in place for students and anyone helping them to move their belongings in and out of the province:

  • People may enter New Brunswick for a period of not more than 24 hours to remove belongings from a students’ residence.  They are expected to isolate themselves as best as possible while in the province.
  • Staying longer than 24 hours is considered remaining in the province and the 14-day self- isolation period would apply.  Before traveling to New Brunswick, people should check with their home province to see if further restrictions may be applied upon their returning home.
  • Anyone leaving New Brunswick for any length of time to remove belongings from a residence in another province is ordered, upon their return, to self-isolate for 14 days and follow the directions of public health officials.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

On April 28, the government announced plans to continue at-home learning until at least May 19.  All public schools and licensed child-care centres will remain closed until then to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, a new operating loan program is being introduced to help municipalities with financial losses due to COVID-19.  The $380 million loan program, which was developed in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities and the Association of Municipal Administrators, will be available through the Municipal Finance Corporation.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Effective April 28, the government outlined its plans to ease public health restrictions.  The first phase will begin Friday, May 1.  The plan will be implemented in four distinct phases with a progressive lifting of public health measures on individuals, communities and organizations over three-week periods.

Priority non-urgent health care services will begin May 1.  This includes certain elective surgeries and other priority services (e.g. cardiac supports, cancer screening) and select health service providers including, for example, physiotherapists, optometrists, opticians, chiropractors, foot care providers, occupational therapy and naturopaths.  Where possible and feasible, other health care delivery will continue virtually.

Also beginning May 1, outdoor gatherings and non-contact outdoor recreational activities of no more than five individuals from different households, while maintaining physical distancing, will be permitted.  This includes recreational fishing, golf courses and current PEI residents going to their own seasonal properties.  In addition, select outdoor and construction services – landscaping, road construction, indoor construction projects, watershed clean-up and outdoor photography – will be allowed with proper physical distancing practices in place.

For the foreseeable future, border screening will continue at points of entry and all persons entering the province will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Visitor restrictions in long-term care facilities will be maintained as well as priority public services, child care for essential service workers and home-based learning options.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Effective April 27, new restrictions exist for individuals entering the NWT.  Residents returning to the territory must self-isolate for 14 days, submit a resident self-isolation plan, complete a symptom check form on each of the 2nd, 6th, 10th and 14th days following entry into the NWT, and contact a local health care provider if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.

Essential service workers, non-remote infrastructure workers, and support workers, on entering the NWT, must:

  • Self-isolate for 14 days immediately following entry in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith;
  • Prior to entering, complete and submit an approved worker self-isolation plan;
  • Obtain an approval document from the Chief Public Health Officer;
  • Comply with the self-isolation plan;
  • Complete and submit a symptom check form on each of the 2nd, 6th, 10th and 14th days following entry into the NWT; and
  • Contact a health care provider if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.

Employers may contact the Chief Public Health Officer to seek a written exemption if they reasonably believe a worker will be unable to comply with the above requirements.

Persons in transit must abide by social distancing protocols if in the NWT for less than 12 hours, and, if there for more than 12 hours, must comply with all self-isolation requirements.

Supply chain workers, flight crew workers and airline employees must abide by social distancing protocols if in the NWT for less than 36 hours; if in the NWT for more than 36 hours, they must submit a worker self-isolation plan and abide by self-isolation protocols.

 

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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