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

30 mars 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Wage Subsidy

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau announced today that the wage subsidy program will no longer be limited to small and medium-sized business.  Instead, any business or non-profit organization with a drop of at least 30% in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the government’s 75% wage subsidy program.  Further details are expected on March 31, but it is expected that the government will cover up to 75% of a salary on the first $58,700.  The Prime Minister encouraged businesses to top up their employees’ wages with the remaining 25% and said that there will be “serious consequences” to those who abuse the system.  The wage subsidies will be retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Relief for Broadcasters

After discussions with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will not issue letters requesting payment for Part I licence fees by broadcasters for the 2020–21 fiscal year. The government will transfer necessary funds to the CRTC to support its operations.

Support for Canada’s Air Transportation Sector

The government is waiving rents paid on ground leases for the 21 airport authorities that form part of the National Airport System and that pay rent to the government. The rents will be waived for March 2020 through December 2020.

The government is also providing comparable treatment for PortsToronto, which operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, by waiving payments made to the federal government on revenues generated by the airport.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

The Canadian Energy Centre is reducing its current operating budget by 90% to subsistence operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Spending will be limited to functions such as continuing and preparing research, office infrastructure and administrative support.  The reduced budget is in effect for three months or until regular operations can recommence.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Modification to Hours of Service for Commercial Truck Drivers

The Government is temporarily modifying hours of service regulations for commercial truck drivers in response to COVID-19.  The exemption applies to the transportation of goods and supplies to meet immediate needs related to COVID-19.  Drivers are encouraged to monitor their own ability and level of alertness to prevent driving while impaired by fatigue and to take appropriate measures to get adequate rest.  It is recommended drivers take a break of 24 hours after 14 continuous days of work.  At the conclusion of the emergency period and prior to returning to normal operations, the driver is required to take eight consecutive hours off duty before driving.

Extension to Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Deadline

Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister, David Marit, announced the deadline to apply, reinstate, cancel or make changes to Saskatchewan Crop Insurance contracts is extended to April 13, 2020.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Non-Critical Businesses Ordered to Close

A new order issued under The Public Health Act provides that, effective 12:01 a.m. on April 1, all businesses that are not listed in the schedule of critical services must close between April 1 and April 14.  However, non-critical businesses are allowed to operate on a remote basis and may accept orders on the Internet, or over the phone for delivery or pick up, as long as the employees are not working at the place of business.  Employees or others may come into the business to perform repairs, provide security services or take out items from the business premises if the business is going to operate remotely.

Critical services businesses must put in place measures to ensure appropriate social distancing rules are followed.  Municipal transit services, taxis and other private vehicles for hire can continue to operate but the operator of the vehicle must take measures to ensure there is a reasonable separation of people in a vehicle.  The order does not contain specific distance restrictions because it is hard to impose a limit in small vehicles.  The goal is to ensure a reasonable level of spacing between people.

Businesses with questions about how the order and schedule of critical services apply to their operations can visit engagemb.ca/covid19-csp for up-to-date information, and to ask questions that will be answered by government officials.

The order also prohibits restaurants and other commercial facilities that serve food from serving food to customers in their premises.  However, they can prepare and serve food for delivery or takeout as long as people maintain the appropriate social distancing from other customers when picking up food.

Public Gatherings

The order continues the previously announced restriction limiting public gatherings to no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor place or premises.  This includes places of worship, gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals.  This does not apply to a facility where healthcare or social services are provided including child care centres and homeless shelters.

Sale of Alcohol with Take-Out and Delivery

The government has started the process of bringing in necessary changes to authorize the sale of liquor with take-out and delivery meals service by licensed establishments.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued a statement strongly recommending that people stay in their homes except for essential reasons, such as:

  • Access health care services;
  • Shop for groceries;
  • Pick-up medication at the pharmacy;
  • Walk pets when required; and
  • Support vulnerable community members with meeting the above needs.

He also strongly recommended self-isolation for individuals over 70 years of age and those with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions.

Protecting Seniors

The government is investing $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors and it is working with grocers and pharmacists to prioritize seniors’ delivery orders and establish senior-only shopping hours.  The government is also working with province-wide organizations including Ontario Community Support Association and Older Adults Centres’ Association of Ontario to identify and mobilize potential volunteer supports and expand the use of innovative technologies in the community to address social isolation and support daily living assistance.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

On March 30, Premier Legault announced that for all Sundays of April, all businesses will be closed with the exception of gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies and take-out in restaurants.

On March 30, the government also announced that he would give $133 million in funding to residences for seniors and vulnerable people.

From March 30 until April 17, the Tribunal administratif du travail cancelled all hearings and conciliation sessions, with the exception of urgent cases. Additional information can be found on the Tribunal’s website.

On March 29, an Order (388-2020) was adopted to renew the state of public health emergency throughout the Quebec territory and extend the measures provided for by orders in council and by ministerial orders for a period of 10 days, that is, until April 7, 2020.

On March 28, the Quebec government announced an accommodation for healthcare system workers who wish to interrupt or defer their parental leave, in order to go back to work during the public health emergency. They are granted six additional months to use their benefits from the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

On March 28, the Quebec government announced the closure of tourist accommodation establishments until further notice and prohibited the rental of cottages. Two types of accommodation have exceptions to this measure: certain campgrounds that host snowbirds with no other lodging option and hotels for customers in need.

On March 28, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General announced the authorization for bailiffs to serve pleadings by technological means until the end of the emergency period.

From March 28, by ministerial Order (2020-011), the Government of Quebec has restricted travel and access to the following regions:

  • Bas-Saint-Laurent;
  • Saguenay — Lac-Saint-Jean;
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue;
  • Côte-Nord;
  • Nord-du-Québec;
  • Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine;
  • Nunavik; and
  • Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James.

The objective is to better protect those populations that are considered more vulnerable since they are more isolated. Only essential travel is allowed in these eight sectors.

On March 27, the city of Montreal declared a local state of health emergency. On March 29, the elected officials for the urban agglomeration of Montreal extended the state of emergency for a period of five days.

On March 27, a ministerial Order (2020-010) suspended the decisions and orders made by the Superior Court concerning any supervised visit between a child and his parent, his grandparents or any other person, when the responsible community organizations consider that the health of the population is at risk. That said, the organization should, where possible, make other arrangements for safe visits, including through technological means.

On March 27, this ministerial Order also authorized notaries to remotely conclude notarial matters using technological support. Certain conditions must, however, be respected.

_____

Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes:

À compter du 1er avril et pour tout le mois d’avril, le premier ministre François Legault annonce que les commerces prioritaires seront fermés le dimanche à l’exception des stations-service, dépanneurs, pharmacies et des restaurants qui proposent des commandes à emporter.

Le 30 mars, le gouvernement a également annoncé l’octroi d’une aide financière de 133 millions de dollars aux ressources en hébergement pour les personnes aînées et les personnes vulnérables dans le but de mieux protéger les résidents.

À compter du 30 mars et jusqu’au 17 avril, le Tribunal administratif du travail a annulé toutes les audiences et séances de conciliations à l’exception des cas urgents.  Vous trouverez de plus amples renseignements sur le site Web du tribunal.

À compter du 29 mars, un décret (388-2020) a été adopté pour renouveler l’état d’urgence sanitaire sur tout le territoire québécois et prolonger les mesures prévues par arrêtés ministériels pour une période de 10 jours, soit jusqu’au 7 avril 2020.

Le 28 mars, le gouvernement du Québec annonce un accommodement pour les travailleurs du réseau de la santé qui souhaitent interrompre ou reporter leur congé parental, afin de participer aux efforts dans le contexte d’urgence sanitaire. On leur accorde six mois additionnels pour utiliser leurs prestations du Régime québécois d’assurance parentale (RQAP).

Le 28 mars, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la fermeture des établissements d’hébergement touristique jusqu’à nouvel ordre et interdit la location de chalets. Deux types d’hébergement font exception à cette mesure : certains terrains de camping faisant l’accueil de snowbirds n’ayant pas d’autre option de logement et les hôtels pour les clientèles dans le besoin.

Le 28 mars, la ministre de la Justice et procureure générale a annoncé l’autorisation pour les huissiers de justice à procéder à la signification d’actes de procédure par des moyens technologiques, et ce, jusqu’à la fin de la période d’urgence sanitaire.

À compter du 28 mars, par arrêté ministériel (2020-011), le gouvernement du Québec a restreint les déplacements et l’accès aux régions suivantes :

  • Bas-Saint-Laurent,
  • Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean,
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue,
  • Côte-Nord,
  • Nord-du-Québec,
  • Gaspésie — Îles-de-la-Madeleine,
  • Nunavik et
  • Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James.

L’objectif est de contrôler les déplacements pour mieux protéger ces populations qui sont considérées comme plus vulnérables puisqu’elles sont plus isolées. Seuls les déplacements essentiels sont permis dans ces 8 secteurs.

Le 27 mars, la ville de Montréal a déclaré l’état d’urgence sanitaire au niveau local. Le 29 mars dernier, les élus de l’agglomération montréalaise ont adopté une résolution prolongeant l’état d’urgence pour une période de 5 jours.

Le 27 mars, un arrêté ministériel (2020-010) vient suspendre les décisions et les ordonnances rendues par la Cour supérieure visant toute visite supervisée entre un enfant et son parent, ses grands-parents ou toute autre personne, lorsque les organismes communautaires responsables considèrent que la santé de la population est à risque. Ceci étant dit, l’organisme doit, lorsque cela est possible, prévoir d’autres modalités de visite sécuritaire, notamment par des moyens technologiques.

Le 27 mars, ce même arrêté ministériel autorise par ailleurs, les notaires à conclure à distance un acte notarié en minute par l’intermédiaire d’un support technologique. Certaines conditions et modalités doivent toutefois être respectées.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Effective March 30, the Newfoundland Provincial Court will not be operating from its courthouses. Public access is unavailable. Judges and most Provincial Court staff will work from home using technology-based applications and telecommunications. Court services may be accessed by law enforcement officers and other civilian authorities in the following circumstances:

  • Ex parte matters;
  • In-custody inter partes criminal cases (where practicable);
  • Emergency family matters; and
  • Emergency applications in exigent circumstances as permitted under its Rules.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

Effective March 30, applications are available for the $900 income benefit for workers or self-employed people in New Brunswick who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 situation. Applications may be completed online or by calling the Red Cross at 1-800-863-6582 (toll free) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

Effective March 29, the provincial government ordered all municipal authorities to close their respective playgrounds.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Effective March 30, school closures in Nova Scotia have been extended to May 1. Additionally, the province has created an online tool to help businesses and non-profits clarify if they may remain open and how they can comply with public health orders and workplace safety requirements. This tool is available at covid19-employer-assessment.novascotia.ca.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Effective March 30, the government announced a $1 million Temporary Rental Assistance Program to assist households that are currently renting and have seen a loss of income due to the pandemic. More information is available at 1-877-368-5770.

The government also announced the Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program, which encourages landlords to defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for three months, spreading the deferred amount over the remainder of the lease term. Landlords who defer rent because their tenant’s business has slowed could be eligible to have the government cover up to $15,000 per tenant, up to a maximum of $50,000 per landlord, if the landlord cannot recover the deferred rent from the tenant.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Effective March 30, the territorial government has clarified that all individuals identified as persons under investigation for COVID-19 are subject to a mandatory isolation order and will be fined should the mandatory isolation be broken. The maximum penalty is a $50,000 fine or up to six months in jail.

 

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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