COVID-19:  Cross country update (June 30, 2020)

30 juin 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Travel Restrictions Remain in Place for July Holidays

The Canada Border Services Agency is reminding all travellers that travel restrictions are still in place at all Canadian international border crossings until at least July 21.  Foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, will not be allowed to enter Canada if their travel is of an optional or discretionary nature, including tourism, recreation and entertainment.

However, asymptomatic immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from this prohibition, provided they are coming for more than 15 days.

Once arriving in the country, those exempt from the above restrictions, will be subject to a quarantine. The quarantine rules require travellers to isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada. This requirement has been extended until August 31, 2020. Failing to comply with the Quarantine Act can result in a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.

For more information on travel restrictions, see the Government of Canada’s website.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Investments in Long-Term Care and Senior Facilities

The Province is investing $160 million to help facilities hire up to three full-time staff in all 680 of BC’s long-term care homes and seniors’ assisted living residences. They will be dedicated to ensuring infection prevention and COVID-19 control measures. They will also schedule visits and make sure visitors follow safety rules, including frequent hand washing, not visiting if they are sick, cough etiquette, and maintaining at least two metres of physical distance from patients and staff.

The Province will also be providing an additional $26.5 million dollars to help facilities recoup costs they incurred between March 1 and June 30th for additional screening, sick-time, changes to services, and infection prevention and control.

These initiatives will help facilities begin to allow visitors.  Once a facility has developed a written visitation plan, in line with provincial requirements, residents will be able to have a single designated visitor in a specified visiting area. These designated spaces will include outdoor and indoor locations and all visitors must wear masks.  This approach will be monitored through July, with the goal of expanding it in August.

In addition, personal service providers, including hairdressers, will be able to come into long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities if they have completed a WorkSafeBC safety plan.

For more information, see the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Increase in Limit for Outdoor Gatherings

The Alberta Government has increased the limit on attendees of outdoor gatherings from 100 people to 200. The increase applies to attendees at all community outdoor events, including festivals, fireworks displays, rodeos and sporting events, and outdoor performances, among others.

Despite the increase in attendees, all public health measures, including physical distancing, remain in place. Seated outdoor events will still require the necessary space between families and cohorts within stadium-style seating.

More information on outdoor and indoor gathering restrictions can be found on the Alberta Government’s Website.

Investment in the Agri-food Sector

As part of its Recovery Plan, the Alberta Government is investing $27.8 million in an agri-food hub at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge in order to create jobs and to spur investment in the agriculture and agri-food industries. The project is expected to generate 400 construction jobs and an estimated 50 incremental jobs after completion.

The project aligns with the work of the regional partners in Canada’s Premier Food Corridor to attract private investment and includes collaboration with Lethbridge College, capitalizing on their applied research success in the agri-food sector and providing applied learning opportunities for culinary students.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

More Businesses, Events and Activities are Now Permitted to Re-Open

As Re-Open Saskatchewan proceeds into the second part of Phase 4, a number of businesses, events and activities will be able to re-open and specific activities will be able to resume on timelines outlined below:

  • July 6: indoor pools, indoor rinks, indoor sports and activities, as well as facilities for the performing arts (including music, dance and theatre);
  • July 9: casinos and bingo halls;
  • July 16: racetracks and rodeo-related activities;
  • July 6: video lottery terminals (VLTs), pool tables, dart boards, arcade games and other recreation areas in restaurants and other licensed establishments, provided that physical distancing can be maintained; and
  • July 16: live entertainment in restaurants and other licensed establishments.

In addition to the foregoing measures, fall planning for post-secondary institutions is also underway in consultation with public health.

Outdoor Pools Opening in Provincial Parks

As of July 1, outdoor pools in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park and Pike Lake Provincial Park will be open with the following safety protocols:

  • Capacity in the pools will be significantly reduced;
  • There will be no swimming lessons or programming, including lane swimming and special events, which will allow for longer public swim times;
  • Physical distancing rules will be in effect at all times;
  • Specific entry and exit directional signage protocols will be in effect;
  • Pool staff will provide reminders to visitors throughout the day about the requirement for physical distancing; and
  • Wherever possible, visitors should enter and exit the facility in their swim clothes to minimize crowding in change room areas.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Investment in Student Jobs to Support Manitoba’s COVID-19 Recovery

Through the Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program, the Manitoba government has facilitated the creation of more than 7,100 student jobs as part of the province’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

The Program provides a wage subsidy to businesses, charities and non-profit organizations for up to five student employees, for a total of $25,000. To date, more than 1,700 businesses have applied for support with respect to more than 3,815 student positions. These applications have resulted in a total of over $19 million in financial assistance.

For more information on programs to support summer employment, visit the Manitoba Government’s website.

Feedback on Phase 3 of COVID-19 Reopening and School Restart Plans

The Manitoba government has released public feedback data regarding Phase 3 of the province’s Restoring Safe Services roadmap to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as on surveys completed by parents and students on its school re-entry plan.

Between June 11 and June 21, 5,379 people provided feedback on Phase 3.  The survey showed that 67% of respondents either somewhat or definitely agreed that increasing public gathering sizes should be a priority. In addition, 62% of respondents either somewhat or definitely agreed that restrictions should be eased to allow inter-provincial travel from areas such as Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario.  For more information, see the detailed survey results.

Between June 12 and 21, 7,000 students and 30,538 parents participated in a survey on the school re-entry plan.  According to the survey, 84% of students said they are doing OK or very well adjusting to physical distancing measures for COVID-19. In addition, 75% of parents who took the survey said they are somewhat or very comfortable with the possibility of their children going back to in-class instruction in September.  For more information, see the detailed survey results.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Support for Local Small Businesses

The Ontario Government is celebrating International Small Business Week with the launch of the « Shop Local! Shop Safe! Shop with Confidence! » campaign.

The campaign calls on mayors, local leaders and groups to support small businesses in the province by committing on social media to « Shop Local, Shop Safe, Shop with Confidence, » while highlighting the best practices put in place by businesses to help keep shoppers safe while ensuring that the reopening of Ontario continues to be a success.

Connecting Links Program

The Ontario government is aiming to help connect communities and to create jobs by providing an additional $10 million in funding for the Connecting Links program. The funding is part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 and will support road and highway projects in nine more municipalities across the province. The latest funding increase brings the total annual investment for the program to $40 million.

The 2020-21 Connecting Links program supports municipalities across the province to help them build, repair or replace municipal roads and bridges that connect two ends of a provincial highway through a community or to a border crossing.

For more information, or to apply, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s website.

Courts Gradually Resuming In-Person Proceedings

On July 6, 2020, Ontario courts will begin resuming in-person proceedings across the province.  To start, 149 courtrooms in both the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice are reopening in 44 locations. Additional courtrooms will open by September with the remaining opening by November 1, 2020

The gradual reopening will include strict health and safety protocols to protect staff and those attending the courthouse from COVID-19.  To help maintain physical distancing, plexiglass barriers are being installed in courtrooms, interview rooms, intake offices and at public counters. Everyone who visits a courthouse will be required to wear a face covering and will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Provincial Historic Sites

The following Provincial Historic Sites will reopen in July:

  • Cape Bonavista, Cupids, and the Newman Wine Vaults will open to the public on July 4;
  • Beothuk Interpretation Centre, Commissariat House, Heart’s Content Cable Station, Mockbeggar Plantation and the sites at Trinity will reopen to the public on July 11; and
  • Point Amour Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site will open later in July, although an exact date has not been set.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Northwood, Long-Term Care Centre

The Nova Scotia Government has announced that it will conduct a review of the COVID-19 outbreak at Northwood’s Halifax campus, pursuant to the Quality-improvement Information Protection Act (Nova Scotia). An infectious disease consultant will analyze the outbreak and the response to determine what factors contributed to the spread of COVID-19 at Northwood.

A separate, internal review of broader infection prevention and control within the long-term care sector will also be conducted. Both reviews will make recommendations to help avoid or contain future outbreaks, which will be delivered to the Health and Wellness Minister by September 15.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Isolation Centre Payment Policy

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is currently paying the costs of all stays in the territory’s four isolation centres. As of July 1, 2020, non-residents who have received an exemption from the travel restrictions where alternative arrangements have not previously been made will now be required to pay for the cost of their stay at an isolation centre.

The GNWT will continue to pay the costs for residents of the Northwest Territories, and those intending to become residents.

Self-isolation requirements for workers, including essential service workers, supply chain workers, and non-resident workers, who are already employed, will need to have their isolation costs arranged and paid for by the employer or as otherwise agreed to between the employer and the employee.

 

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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