COVID-19: Cross country update (April 3, 2020)

3 avril 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

$100 million will be provided to national, regional and local organizations, such as food banks, across Canada to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The previously announced increase to the Canada child benefit (up to $300 or $150 per child) will now be sent out in April instead of May.  As well, the government will be supplementing the GST credit to help low-income people.

The Government of Canada has entered into an agreement with Amazon Canada to help manage the distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies, purchased by the government, to provincial health authorities, hospitals and other government agencies across the country.  Amazon is providing these services to Canadians at cost, without profit.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

An additional $1.5 million will be provided to the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund, which assists Indigenous students who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that may affect their ability to finish their studies.  In addition to emergency living expenses like groceries, cell phone bills and childcare, the fund supports Indigenous learners through other unanticipated expenses like medical, dental and optical costs, and travel costs for family crisis or community obligations.  To access the assistance, Indigenous students can contact the Indigenous Student Service Centre on campus.

The province is partnering with the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) to launch EquipCare BC to help seniors in long-term care and assisted living homes.  EquipCare BC is a new program that will provide $10 million to enhance infection prevention and control, and improve quality and safety in long-term care and assisted living homes throughout the province.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

To allow continued service of individuals and businesses licensed under the Security Services and Investigators Act, the expiry dates will be extended to July 2, 2020 on all business and individual licences expiring between March 9, 2020, and July 1, 2020.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Manitoba Protection Plan

Faster Health Equipment Procurement

The government is investing more than $100 million to accelerate the pace at which Manitoba is procuring essential medical supplies and equipment, hotel capacity and other critical needs to help prepare for COVID-19.

It has issued calls to action for manufacturers and businesses prepared to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop local products to help in the fight against COVID-19 as well as suppliers and distributors with inventory or established channels to such products. Interested businesses are encouraged to complete this submission form on the government website’s portal.

Manitoba businesses can donate unused personal protective equipment supplies in original packaging, clean and in useable condition by visiting: sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/supply-donations/.

Cash Flow Tax Relief

The province is providing the following protections for the next six months until October 1:

  • instructing Manitoba Hydro, Centra Gas and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to not charge interest or penalties in the event that Manitobans are unable to pay at this time;
  • instructing MPI to relax ordinary practices on policy renewals and collections;
  • instructing Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries not to charge interest on receivables from restaurants, bars and specialty wine stores;
  • supporting Workers Compensation Board (WCB) to do the same and asking WCB to extend relief from penalties for late payments;
  • directing Manitoba Hydro and Centra Gas to not disconnect customers during these times; and
  • working with municipal partners to ensure municipalities do not charge interest on provincial education taxes and school division fees and the province is encouraging municipalities to do the same with respect to their own taxes and will start discussions to support implementation.

The government is also deferring provincial income tax and corporate income tax filing deadlines and payments to coincide with the current revised federal deferral of income tax to August 31 and has indicated it would be willing to extend these deferrals until October 1, should the federal government agree.

The new measures are in addition to the recently announced two-month deferral for small businesses that remit up to $10,000 in Manitoba payroll tax or $10,000 in sales tax.

Manitoba is also taking steps to make home and business property insurance more affordable to Manitobans by accelerating the removal of $75 million of annual PST from residential and business properties, effective July 1.

Expanded Shelter Capacity

Manitoba will add more than 140 new shelter beds to support people affected by homelessness and allow for social distancing protocols.

Work Safety

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced the province is introducing new safe work procedures that municipalities can implement to ensure the safety of high water response workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To view the province’s safe sandbagging procedures, visit www.gov.mb.ca/emo/.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Business Closures

The government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close to protect the health of Ontarians while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.

All businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order are ordered to close effective as of Saturday, April 4 at 11:59 p.m.  This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses.  All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.  Click here for the updated essential businesses list.

Public Health

Ontario has launched a new user-friendly online portal for the public to easily access their COVID-19 lab test results.

Ontario also issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, effective immediately, to provide public health units the authority and flexibility they need to make staffing decisions (including the use of volunteer retired nurses and medical students) that support their ongoing fight against the outbreak of COVID-19, despite any collective agreements.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

On April 3, the Minister of Finance, Éric Girard, and the Minister of Labor and Employment, Jean Boulet, presented the Programme incitatif pour la rétention des travailleurs essentiels (PIRTE) that aims to help low-income workers in essential sectors.  The budget for this measure totals $890 million.  This program represents an additional and temporary benefit of $100 per week for targeted workers for a maximum of 16 weeks, retroactive to March 15.

On April 3, the Quebec government announced the creation of a new program to support Quebec small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) impacted by COVID-19 entitled Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises. This program supports SMEs that need an amount of less than $50,000 for their working capital.  The total budget for the initiative is $150 million and it will be managed by regional county municipalities, cities and territories. The assistance will take the form of a loan or a loan guarantee.

This initiative is in addition to the Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE) launched on March 19, which targets businesses in need of more than $50,000 for their working capital.  It also complements the federal government’s measures, the Canada Emergency Business Account and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.  For more information, please consult the following page: quebec.ca/entreprises-et-travailleurs-autonomes/aide-urgence-pme-covid-19/.

On April 2, the Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Mr. Benoit Charrette, announced the implementation of a temporary measure exempting certain businesses from obtaining prior environmental authorization to modify their usual production. More specifically, this measure targets companies that temporarily modify an activity (e.g., increase in production) or add an activity (e.g., manufacture of new products) related to the fight against COVID-19.  The goal is to facilitate the administrative process related to the temporary conversion.  For more information on this subject or to take advantage of this exemption, please consult their website.

On April 2, a ministerial decree provided for the postponement of any sale of an immovable at public auction for failure to pay municipal or school taxes; the sale may not take place before the expiry of 15 days after the end of the state of health emergency.

On April 2, a ministerial decree also provided for a measure to encourage municipalities to continue their current projects.  Thus, rather than having tenders opened before the public and tenderers, municipal organizations will now proceed in the presence of two witnesses who have no interest in the contract.  The audiovisual recording of the session will then be available in the electronic tendering system.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes:

Le 3 avril, le ministre des Finances, Éric Girard, et le ministre du Travail et de l’Emploi, Jean Boulet, ont présenté le Programme incitatif pour la rétention des travailleurs essentiels (PIRTE) visant à aider les travailleurs à faible revenu des secteurs essentiels.  L’enveloppe budgétaire de cette mesure totalise 890M$.  Ce programme représente une prestation additionnelle et temporaire de 100$ par semaine pour les salariés visés pour un maximum de 16 semaines , et ce, rétroactivement au 15 mars.

Le 3 avril, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la création d’un nouveau programme pour soutenir les PME du Québec affectées par les répercussions de la COVID‑19. Il s’agit du programme Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises. Ce programme supporte les PME qui ont besoin d’un montant inférieur à 50 000 $ pour leur fonds de roulement. L’enveloppe totale de l’initiative s’élève à 150M$ et elle sera gérée par les MRC, villes et territoires. L’aide prendra la forme d’un prêt ou d’une garantie de prêt.

Cette initiative s’ajoute au Programme d’action concertée temporaire pour les entreprises (PACTE), lancé le 19 mars dernier et qui s’adresse aux entreprises ayant besoin de liquidités d’un montant supérieur à 50 000 $ pour leur fonds de roulement. Elle est également complémentaire aux mesures du gouvernement fédéral, soit le Compte d’urgence pour les entreprises canadiennes et la Subvention salariale d’urgence du Canada. Pour plus de renseignements, veuillez consulter la page suivante : quebec.ca/entreprises-et-travailleurs-autonomes/aide-urgence-pme-covid-19/

Le 2 avril, le ministre de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, M. Benoit Charrette, a annoncé la mise en place d’une mesure temporaire d’exemption de certaines entreprises de l’obtention préalable d’une autorisation environnementale pour modifier leur production habituelle. Cette mesure vise, plus précisément, les entreprises qui modifient temporairement une activité (ex. : augmentation de la production) ou ajoutent une activité (ex. : la fabrication de nouveaux produits) en lien avec la lutte contre la COVID-19. L’objectif est de faciliter le processus administratif relié à leur conversion temporaire. Pour plus d’information à ce sujet ou pour se prévaloir de cette exemption, veuillez consulter leur site internet.

Le 2 avril, l’arrêté ministériel a prévu le report de toute vente d’un immeuble à l’enchère publique pour défaut de paiement des taxes municipales ou scolaires après l’expiration d’un délai de 15 jours suivant la fin de l’état d’urgence sanitaire.

Le 2 avril, l’arrêté ministériel a également prévu une mesure visant à encourager les municipalités à poursuivre leurs projets en cours. Ainsi, plutôt que de procéder à l’ouverture des soumissions devant le public et les soumissionnaires, les organismes municipaux procéderont dorénavant devant deux témoins n’ayant aucun intérêt en lien avec le contrat visé. L’enregistrement audiovisuel de la séance sera ensuite disponible dans le système électronique d’appel d’offres.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Effective April 3, the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources is extending the annual validation expiry date for all current existing aquaculture licenses in Newfoundland and Labrador from March 31, 2020 to May 31, 2020. The department will work with industry during the extension period to ensure aquaculture license renewal requests are processed in a timely manner.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

Effective April 3, the province has clarified that all provincial parks and playgrounds province-wide are closed. If municipalities are going to keep their trails and parks open, they must implement mechanisms to ensure that applicable limitations on the number of people that can gather are enforced. Appropriate signage must be put up at access points to identify limitations on gatherings and the requirements for physical distancing.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Effective April 3, the government announced a $15 million increase to the previously announced Emergency Contingency Fund.  It also outlined additional financial measures to help Islanders with property tax relief through amendments to the Real Property Tax Act regulations, including the option to defer property tax payment.  The measures include:

  • Deferring provincial property tax and fee payments until December 31, 2020;
  • Extending property assessment appeal deadlines for assessment year 2020 to December 31, 2020;
  • Providing interest relief for tax year 2020, including all past due amounts;
  • Suspending tax sale processes for the remainder of 2020; and
  • Delaying mailing of provincial tax bills for 2020 until June.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Effective April 2, the territorial government has clarified that people can be punished with fines or jail time if they ignore public health orders.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Effective April 3, the government has clarified that residents with recently expired health care cards can continue to receive services.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Effective April 3, only emergency dental services will be provided in all Nunavut communities until further notice.

 

Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that we provide our clients with the appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For additional information, please see our COVID-19 resources page.

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