COVID-19:  Cross country update (April 29, 2020)

29 avril 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Bill C-15, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit Act had First Reading April 29, 2020.  As previously announced, if passed, this bill will provide $9 billion in support for students including:

  • the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which will provide $1,250 a month to students during the summer and an additional $750 for students with disabilities and students with dependents;
  • the creation of an additional 76,000 jobs for students in those sectors that need a hand or are actively contributing to the fight against COVID-19;
  • the Canada Student Service Grant for volunteer hours, which will provide students with $1,000 to $5,000 for those who volunteer in the fight against COVID-19;
  • additional support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation students; and
  • extension of scholarships, fellowships and grants for grad students.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

The B.C. Government has extended the provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Program Act until the end of the day on May 12, 2020.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Re-opening the Province

Today, Premier Brian Pallister announced that, as of May 4, Manitoba will begin a methodical, multi-phased effort to reopen the province, called Restoring Safe Services:  Manitoba’s Pandemic Economic Recovery Roadmap (Roadmap). The Roadmap is outlined as follows:

Phase One – Beginning May 4

Critical public health measures and travel restrictions remain. Priority elective surgeries have been restarted, diagnostics screening will resume and some non-essential businesses will reopen but must limit occupancy to 50% of normal business levels or one person per ten square metres, whichever is lower. Services, businesses and venues include:

  • non-urgent surgery and diagnostic procedures;
  • therapeutic and medical services;
  • retail businesses;
  • restaurants – patio/walk-up services;
  • hair salons;
  • museums, galleries and libraries;
  • seasonal day camps; and
  • outdoor recreation and campgrounds.

Phase Two – No Earlier Than June 1

Critical public health measures and travel restrictions may remain in place. Public gathering sizes may be increased and more non-essential businesses will be considered for reopening including:

  • additional personal services, such as nail salons;
  • restaurants – dine-in services;
  • non-contact children’s sports; and
  • film production.

Future Phases

Public health measures may be eased further. Additional guidelines will be developed, public gathering sizes will be increased and some non-essential business will fully open. Others may begin to reopen, such as bars, pools and spas, movie theatres and indoor recreational facilities. Travel restrictions may be eased.

Specific considerations for other businesses and sectors may be made including:

  • performing arts venues;
  • other non-essential businesses;
  • tattoo parlours, estheticians, cosmetologists and tanning studios; and
  • large gatherings/events.

Mass gatherings such as concerts, summer festivals and major sporting events will not be considered before September 2020.

Businesses seeking further information should visit engagemb.ca.

The timing and specifics noted in each phase are subject to change, based on the advice of public health experts and a continuous assessment of transmission patterns and other factors. Full details about the multi-phased Roadmap are available at manitoba.ca/restoringsafeservices.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Child Care

Today, the Ontario Government announced the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-1 outbreak will be expanded to include:

  • Workers in grocery stores and pharmacies;
  • Truck drivers (driver’s licence Class A and Class D);
  • Workers in the food supply chain, including food processing;
  • Workers in retirement homes;
  • Auxiliary workers in health care settings, including cooks and cleaning staff in hospitals and long-term care homes;
  • Interpreters and intervenors who support people who are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deafblind;
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry emergency personnel;
  • Provincial officers and onsite staff in Ontario courts;
  • Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence staff working in Ontario; and
  • Additional workers supporting public safety and correctional services.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Regional Re-openings

On April 29, 2020, further to the April 28th announcement of the plan to reopen certain sectors of the Quebec economy, the Government of Québec announced a plan to gradually reopen certain regions of Québec, starting on May 4, 2020. The objective is to gradually remove police controls on comings and goings in certain regions in order to follow the plan to reopen the economy.

However, the main directive remains the same: avoid unnecessary travel and avoid moving from one region to another. The gradual reopening will take place in the following steps:

  • As of May 4, police controls will be removed for the Laurentians, Lanaudière and Chaudière-Appalaches regions and for the city of Rouyn.
  • Starting May 11, if all goes well, police checks will be removed in the Outaouais, with the exception of Gatineau, in the Abitibi region, in La Tuque and in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
  • As of May 18, again if all goes well, the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Charlevoix and Côte-Nord regions will be reopened for comings and goings.

As for the City of Gatineau, Nord-du-Québec, Basse-Côte-Nord, Minganie, Nunavik and James Bay Cree Lands, these regions remain « closed » except for authorized travel. Authorities are still in the process of assessing the situation.

It should be noted that this schedule for the gradual reopening of the regions may have to change as the situation evolves.

Housing Supports

The Government of Quebec has also announced two housing measures to help people affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interest-Free Loan for Rent Payment

The Société d’habitation du Québec offers tenants whose income is reduced due to COVID-19 an interest-free loan of $1,500.00 corresponding to two months’ rent. This loan will be repayable by August 1, 2021, without interest. The application must be made by July 15, 2020. This financial assistance will be paid directly to the landlord.

Temporary Accommodation Measures

Eligible individuals whose plans to move into their principal residence have been postponed due to COVID-19 will receive a maximum of $2,000.00 per month for a period of up to two months. This amount will be provided as a reimbursement for temporary accommodation costs. To be eligible, the principal residence of eligible persons must have been started before March 25, 2020, for delivery between April 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, and cannot be completed in that time frame due to these circumstances.

In addition, financial assistance of up to $1,000.00 will also be provided to cover the storage and moving costs of these households.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Réouvertures régionales

Le 29 avril 2020, le gouvernement du Québec, pour faire suite à l’annonce du plan de réouverture de certains secteurs de l’économie du Québec du 28 avril, a annoncé un plan de réouverture graduelle de certaines régions du Québec, et ce, à partir du 4 mai 2020. L’objectif est de progressivement retirer les contrôles policiers sur les allées et venues dans certaines régions afin de suivre le plan de réouverture de l’économie.

Le mot d’ordre reste toutefois toujours le même, soit d’éviter les déplacements superflus et d’éviter de se déplacer d’une région à l’autre. La réouverture graduelle se fera selon les étapes suivantes :

  • À partir du 4 mai, les contrôles policiers seront retirés pour les régions des Laurentides, de Lanaudière, de Chaudière-Appalaches et pour la ville de Rouyn.
  • À partir du 11 mai, si tout se passe bien, les contrôles policiers seront retirés dans l’Outaouais, à l’exception de Gatineau, dans la région de l’Abitibi, à La Tuque et au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
  • À partir du 18 mai, toujours si tout se passe bien, les régions du Bas-Saint-Laurent, de la Gaspésie, des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, le secteur de Charlevoix et la Côte-Nord seront rouvertes pour les allées et venues.

Pour ce qui est de la ville de Gatineau, du Nord-du-Québec, de la Basse-Côte-Nord, de Minganie, du Nunavik et des Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James, ces régions restent toujours « fermées », sauf pour les déplacements autorisés. Les autorités sont toujours dans le processus d’évaluer la situation.

Il est à noter que ce calendrier de réouverture graduelle des régions peut être amené à changer en fonction de l’évolution de la situation.

Aide au logement

Le gouvernement du Québec a également annoncé deux mesures en habitation dans le but d’aider les personnes affectées par les conséquences de la pandémie de la COVID-19.

Prêt sans intérêt pour le paiement du loyer

La Société d’habitation du Québec offre aux locataires dont les revenus sont diminués en raison de la COVID-19 un prêt sans intérêts de 1 500,00$ correspondant à deux mois de loyer. Ce prêt sera remboursable d’ici le 1er août 2021, et ce, sans intérêt. La demande doit être faite d’ici le 15 juillet 2020.  Cette aide financière sera versée directement au propriétaire.

Mesures d’hébergement temporaire

Les personnes qui voient leur projet d’emménagement dans leur résidence principale reporté en raison de la COVID-19 et sont admissibles recevront une somme maximale de 2 000,00$ par mois pour une période d’au plus deux mois. Cette somme sera remise sous forme de remboursement pour des frais d’hébergement temporaire. Pour y avoir accès, la résidence principale  des personnes admissibles doit avoir été mise en chantier avant le 25 mars 2020 en prévision d’une livraison entre le 1er avril 2020 et le 31 août 2020 et qui ne pourra avoir lieu dans cet intervalle compte tenu des circonstances.

De plus, une aide financière maximale de 1 000,00$ sera aussi prévue pour couvrir les frais d’entreposage et de déménagement de ces ménages.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Court Operations Expanding

Effective May 4, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador will begin expanding its operations to accept filings on matters such as probate, estate administration; bankruptcy and insolvency matters that can be dealt with ex parte or by consent; interlocutory applications that can be dealt with solely in writing; and consent orders. Some family law matters will also be dealt with. Priority will continue to be given to the processing and hearing of urgent and emergency matters. The Court will accept unsworn/unaffirmed affidavits or documents where it is not possible to obtain a signature from a person authorized to administer oaths.

Compensation for Self-Isolation

Effective April 29, the Newfoundland and Labrador Government announced that it is providing compensation for private sector employers for continuation of pay to employees who were required to self-isolate for 14-days due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. This includes individuals who are self-employed. Employers should apply for any available federal funding under the CEWS or the Temporary Wage Subsidy program. The maximum amount of funding under the provincial program will be $500 per week for each employee (to a combined maximum of $1,000 per week for each employee when receiving both federal and provincial funding). The amount paid under this program will depend on federal funding received.

To qualify for provincial compensation, the following criteria must be met:

  • International travel must have originated on or before March 14 with arrival into Newfoundland and Labrador on or after March 14 and interprovincial travel must have originated on or before March 20 with arrival into Newfoundland and Labrador on or after March 20. This applies to individuals who travelled for personal or professional reasons;
  • Reimbursement is only for employees who are residents of Newfoundland and Labrador for pay between the period when an employee is scheduled to return to work and the end of the 14-day isolation period; and
  • Employers with employees who work part-time/shift work, but were not scheduled to work during the isolation period due to the timing of when a schedule is set can avail of compensation based on the average weekly hours worked in the preceding month. Proof of this prior compensation will be required.

Compensation assistance will not apply in the following circumstances:

  • If an employee is/was able to work from home while in isolation. Employers will not be compensated for employees who are working during their period of self-isolation;
  • If an employee is/was scheduled to use vacation/leave days during the period of isolation. Employees would be expected to use this leave or any other special leave with pay that is available before applying for this program;
  • Compensation through this program is only available for individuals who have travelled and were self-isolating, compensation will not be provided for others in the household; and
  • Any individual who falls ill or is diagnosed with COVID-19 after the 14-day self-isolation period will be required to follow their regular sick leave arrangement with their employer, or apply for the CERB program.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

Opportunities NB will issue a webinar on May 8 about economic recovery. It will feature an expert panel providing tips and answers to common questions that businesses might have as they get ready to reopen.

The government has stated that steps will be taken to help businesses affected by the decision to restrict temporary foreign workers from entering the province. They include:

  • Exploring opportunities to fill vacant positions by recruiting from the 30,000 post-secondary students; 7,000 Grade 12 students about to graduate; and tens of thousands of unemployed people who have been displaced by COVID-19.
  • Looking for ways to employ temporary foreign workers who are already in the province and have also been affected by this pandemic.
  • Exploring the possibility of redeploying or calling back unemployed casual or seasonal workers from government departments to work in the fishery and agriculture sectors.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Effective May 1, the recreational angling season will open. Normal angling regulations as well as additional guidelines related to COVID-19 will be in effect (e.g., outdoor gatherings of more than five people from different households are not permitted). Licenses are being distributed to vendor locations across the Island starting Thursday, April 30. Anyone wishing to purchase their license in person are reminded to exercise physical distancing practices.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Effective April 28, seniors and commercial drivers will not be penalized or face license suspensions if they cannot provide their medical examination certificate during the state of emergency. The exemption period started on March 18 and will end 90 days after the end of the state of emergency declared by the government.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Effective April 29, the territorial public health emergency and state of emergency has been renewed until May 12.

 

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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