COVID-19:  Cross country update (July 28-29, 2020)

29 juillet 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Support for the Minerals and Metals Sector

To support the minerals and metals sector in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 29, the Federal Government announced that it will invest $98 million over five years to two geoscience programs led by the Geological Survey of Canada, namely, the Geo-mapping for Energy and Mineral Program and the Targeted Geoscience Initiative.  For more information, see the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Plans to Bring Students Back Full-Time

On July 29, the B.C. Government announced that enhanced safety measures and additional resources will allow most students in grades K-12 to return to school with full-time in-class learning on September 8, 2020, as the province moves to Stage 2 of B.C.’s Education Restart Plan.  Students will be organized into learning groups, a consistent group of staff and students, to reduce the number of people each student or staff member will come into contact with.

All boards of education and independent school authorities will continue to be required to implement health and safety measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, following the recently updated COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Settings from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The return to school will be supported by a one-time investment of $45.6 million by the BC government to ensure increased cleaning of high-contact surfaces, increased number of hand-hygiene stations, the availability of masks upon request, and so on. There will also be a requirement for both students and staff to complete a daily self-assessment for symptoms of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Education is developing operational guidelines that will further assist school districts and independent schools with their planning for September.  Final details regarding learning groups, schedules, enrolment and registration information will be posted online by the districts on August 26, 2020.

For more information, see the B.C. Government’s news release.

Support for the Technology Sector

As part of the previously announced $304 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Western Businesses, the Federal Government will provide $2.95 million in funding to support businesses in B.C.’s technology sector cope with the impact of COVID-19. The funding will create up to 1,000 jobs and support up to 2,500 companies.

The funding will be delivered through the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, a program developed by Innovate BC in partnership with the BC Acceleration Network (a provincial network of business accelerators and incubators). The program will expand existing advisory services and resources to support tech entrepreneurs starting and scaling up their businesses, with a focus on training, advice and resources dedicated to helping them recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The “Digital Economic Response” program will also be expanded.  This program provides one-to-one business and technical expertise to help companies improve their digital capacity by transitioning them into the digital economy or expanding their digital footprint.

Court Backlog Response

Six new judges, including the re-appointment of 3 retired judges, have been appointed to try to clear the backlog caused by COVID-19 shutdowns. Further, the provincial traffic court will be using school sites to allow physical distancing at these widely attended matters.  To keep the courts operating in a safe manner, there will be enhanced cleaning, new courtroom layouts, physical distancing protocols and verbal health screenings prior to entry.

Funding for Community Sports

The B.C. Government is providing $1.5 million in funding to help local sport organizations with their financial challenges during the pandemic. Many of these organizations have lost registration fees, event revenues and sponsorships. The funding will help these organizations with fixed costs during this difficult time.

Additionally, as part of the previously announced $72 million COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations, Canadian Heritage is investing $3.4 million in sports organizations in British Columbia.  This funding will be distributed through viaSport.

New Order for Gatherings and Events

On July 27, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer issued a new Order to persons who organize or attend events at vacation accommodations or other places.  This order repeals and replaces the previous Order of May 22, 2020 with respect to mass gatherings.  Some of the requirements of the new Order are:

  • a maximum of five individuals may attend a social gathering or an event in a vacation accommodation, in addition to the occupants;
  • up to 50 patrons may attend an event in a place if a number of specified conditions are met (for the complete list of conditions, see the Order);
  • the first and last names and telephone number, or email address, of every patron who attends an event must be collected and retained for 30 days; and
  • if the event is a drive-in, more than 50 patrons may be present if a number of specified conditions are met (for a complete list of conditions, see the Order).

New Child Care Spaces

In addition to the previously announced new child care spaces (see our July 23-24 Update and our July 25-27 Update), the B.C. Government has announced the following new spaces as part of its commitment to increasing child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:

  • 40 new spaces in Cawston;
  • 50 new spaces in Barriere;
  • 40 new spaces in Xa’xtsa (Douglas) First Nation;
  • 163 news spaces in Kelowna;
  • 30 new spaces in Coldstream; and
  • 120 new spaces in Kamloops and Chase.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

$1.1 Billion of Support for Municipalities and Public Transit

Today, the Government of Alberta announced that it is providing $500 million in additional funding to municipalities to assist in building core infrastructure that is expected to create 2,500 jobs. This initiative is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. Further, Alberta announced that it will match $233 million in federal funding under the Safe Restart Agreement to support municipal operating costs incurred during COVID-19 and $70 million to support public transit operating costs.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Payment for Front-Line Workers During COVID-19

On July 29, 2020, the Manitoba Government announced that it is issuing payments to 78,442 Manitobans as part of the $120 million Risk Recognition program to acknowledge front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be divided equally amongst all eligible recipients for a payment of $1,530. Eligible recipients include health care, social services, justice, security, transportation, food and beverage, hotels and essential retail.

Full program details, along with eligibility requirements, are available on the Manitoba Government’s website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Toronto and Peel Region Moving into Stage 3

Toronto and Peel Region will move into Stage 3 of reopening on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 a.m.  Stage 3 allows nearly all businesses and public spaces to gradually reopen, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, although some high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations.

In Stage 3, indoor gathering limits are increased to 50 and outdoor gathering limits are increased to 100, though physical distancing remains a requirement for people not from the same household or social circle.

Businesses and sectors that are not able to reopen in Stage 3 or that are experiencing significant challenges opening with restrictions in Stage 3 may work with the government on a reopening plan.  For more information on Stage 3, see the Ontario Government’s website.

Windsor-Essex County Health Unit region will remain in Stage 2 at this time.

Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission

The Ontario Government has launched a three-person independent commission into COVID-19 and long-term care.  The commission will investigate how COVID-19 spread within long-term care homes, how residents, staff, and families were impacted, and the adequacy of measures taken by the province and other parties to prevent, isolate and contain the virus. The commission will also provide the government with guidance on how to better protect long-term care home residents and staff from any future outbreaks.

The commission will have the power to compel persons to give or produce evidence, issue summons, and hold public meetings. The commission is expected to deliver its final report by April 2021.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

State of Emergency Renewal

On July 29, 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 August 5, 2020.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 29 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 5 août 2020.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Upgrades to Nova Scotia Community College Campuses

The Nova Scotia Community College provides industry-driven education and training in communities across the province. As part of the $230 million infrastructure stimulus spending to help with the economic impact of COVID-19, the Government of Nova Scotia is investing $19.4 million in infrastructure upgrades at nine campuses across Nova Scotia. The project is expected to generate the employment equivalent of 100 full-time jobs.

 

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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