COVID-19:  Cross country update (August 5-6, 2020)

6 août 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Expanded Infrastructure Program

The Investing in Canada Instructure Program is undergoing changes which will give provinces and territories the ability to use funding to quickly act on a wider range of more pandemic-resilient infrastructure projects, such as:

  • retrofitting schools;
  • upgrading hospitals and care facilities for social distancing requirements;
  • building new parks, cycling and walking paths; and
  • disaster mitigation projects that protect against floods or fires.

The new $3.3 billion COVID-19 Resilience funding stream would allow the Federal Government to cost share up to 80% of these project costs for provinces, municipalities and not-for profits organizations. Indigenous and territorial projects can apply to receive up to 100% of costs.

For more information on this program, visit the COVID-19 Resilience stream website.

Vaccine and Treatment Taskforces

The Government of Canada is working with international and domestic scientists and businesses to pursue the purchase and development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and related supplies and to strengthen Canada’s biomanufacturing sector.  To support this work, two task forces have been created.

The first is the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, which is advising the Canadian Government on how to best support vaccine research and bio-manufacturing and to build international partnerships to secure access to safe and effective products.  Based on the recommendations of this task force, the Canadian Government has entered into two agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.  It has also announced an investment of up to $56 million to support clinical trials for a COVID-related vaccine candidate from Variation Biotechnologies Inc. through the Strategic Innovation Fund.

The second task force is the COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force, which will provide advice to the Government on the development of COVID-19 treatments, including how best to prioritize financial support for promising COVID-19 treatment projects.

For more information, see the Government of Canada’s news release.

Fish Harvester Benefit

In May, the Government of Canada announced $469.4 million in funding to establish the new Fish Harvester Benefit and the new Fish Harvester Grant to help with the financial impacts of COVID-19.

On August 5, it was announced that the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program will open for applications on August 24, 2020, through to September 21, 2020.  Harvesters wishing to apply are encouraged to visit the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website to determine eligibility requirements and to ensure they are ready with the required documentation needed to apply.

Prohibition of Entry into Canada Extended

The restriction of entry into Canada of foreign nationals arriving from countries other than the United States, with some limited exemptions, has been extended until August 31, 2020.  For a full list of the exemptions, see Privy Council Order 2020-0549.

Extension of Deadline for Payment of Annual Cannabis Fees

The Order Amending the Cannabis Fees Order (Exten­sion of Deadline for Payment of 2020–2021 Annual Fee) defers the payment due date of the 2020–2021 annual fee for licence holders in their first full and subsequent fiscal years from September 30, 2020, to March 31, 2021. The payment due date for licence holders in their entry year does not change.  The objective of this Order is to provide short-term economic relief to the cannabis industry in light of COVID-19, while continuing to recover the costs associated with the regulation of the industry.

Essential Air Access to Remote Communities

In order to ensure remote communities receive a continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic, new measures were announced to support essential air services including:

  • Seeking bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to ensure continuity of service for at least six months; and
  • Establishing a $75-million funding program for the Federal Government contribution for the first six months and up to $174 million over 18 months if needed to maintain these essential services.

Under the agreements, the provinces and territories must determine minimum essential services to remote communities and administer a program with air operators to meet this need.

 

British Columbia

The Government of British Columbia announced the following measures:

Reminder to Apply for Temporary Layoff Extensions

Under B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until August 30, 2020, before the layoff becomes permanent, resulting in the need to compensate eligible workers for their length of service.

Employers can apply for an extension provided they have more than 50% of support from their workers.  Workers and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond the August 30 expiry date are reminded to jointly apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch’s new online application by Aug. 25.

Review of Recall Rights in Hotel Sector

The Minister of Labour, Harry Bains, has ordered a review of layoff and recall rights of workers in the hotel sector as a result of COVID-19.  The goal of the review is to help employers and hotel unions come together to find solutions to these issues.  A report is expected by August 20, 2020.

State of Emergency Extended

The B.C. Government has extended the provincial state of emergency until end of day August 18, 2020. The state of emergency allows the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to help the province’s response to COVID-19.

Revised Order for Restaurants and Others

The Provincial Health Officer has issued an Order pertaining to restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, cafeterias and licensed premises, including pubs, bars, lounges, nightclubs and tasting rooms.  This Order repeals and replaces her previous order of July 23, 2020.  Amongst other things, this Order requires:

  • patrons to maintain a distance of two metres from other patrons unless they are separated by physical barriers;
  • patrons who remain on the premises to be seated;
  • no more than six patrons to be seated together, even if they belong to the same party;
  • dance floors to be closed with physical barriers or occupied with tables;
  • there to be no dancing, singing, or engaging in karaoke on the premises; and
  • if, in the ordinary course of business, information from patrons is collected for the purpose of making reservations or seating patrons, then the first and last name and telephone number or email address of at least one member of every party must be collected.  This information must be retained for 30 days in case there is a need for contact tracing.

For the full list of requirements and for additional requirements for the hosting of events, see the Order.

Support for Employers

The Surrey Board of Trade has received $402,105 in funding for a community and employer partnership project, the COVID-19 Workforce Support Project.

This project will develop a back-to-work strategies playbook to help employers prepare for workforce-related impacts and opportunities resulting from the pandemic.  It will also help people who have lost their job to find re-employment, redeployment, retraining and sustainable employment opportunities.  The playbook can be adapted and used by other communities and tailored to specific industry sectors.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Supports for Homeless during COVID-19

The Alberta Government will be providing an additional $48 million to provide supports for those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional funding will be used to ensure that the expanded shelter sites set up to meet physical distancing guidelines can continue to operate and, where possible, will allow for 24/7 access.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Safe Schools Plans

Each Saskatchewan school division has now released plans for a safe return to school in September that meet provincial guidelines and the eight components for a safe return to school, as set out in Saskatchewan’s Safe Schools plan.  The divisions’ plans can be accessed through the Saskatchewan Government’s website.

Safe Schools Plan: Sanitization and Disinfection

Sanitization and disinfection procedures for the return to school will include:

  • objects that cannot be effectively cleaned or disinfected, such as story time rugs, will be removed;
  • hand sanitizer will be at accessible entry points, such as the main entrance to the school and classrooms;
  • mobile sink stations will be used in common areas;
  • scheduled hand washing times and protocols will be incorporated into structured learning for younger students; and
  • there will be special consideration for cleaning products that are safe for food surfaces, including water fountains.

Schools have procured sanitizer, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. All students and staff will have regular access to hand sanitizer, which will be supplied by the province and school divisions.  Teachers and staff are not expected to purchase their own products.

State of Emergency Extended

Effective August 5, 2020, the declaration of a state of emergency has been renewed pursuant to The Emergency Planning Act.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Funding for Respect in School Program

Up to $100,000 will be provided to renew and extend the Respect in School (RIS) program for the 2020-21 school year.  RIS is an online evidence-based program for adults interacting with students in a school environment, which helps to heighten adults’ awareness of the distress and harm that students might experience from a variety of sources, and equips them with knowledge and skills to make timely and appropriate interventions.

It is hoped that this program will help students dealing with anxiety and distress that they may have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The program will also be extended to the early learning and child-care sector for educators and assistants working at licensed centres and homes.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Supports for Non-Profits

The Ontario Government will be investing $83 million through the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to provide grants to help non-profit organizations recover from COVID-19. These organizations will include food banks, child and youth programs and Royal Canadian Legion branches.  The OTF’s Resilient Communities Fund will provide grants of up to $150,000 to help eligible non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19

For more information, see this news release.

Investment in the Tourism Industry

To assist with the province’s tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Government will be investing $1.5 million through the Tourism Economic Development Recovery Fund to support projects that develop innovative tourism products and experiences, drive private sector tourism investments, workforce development, and support tourism operators to learn more through tourism industry associations.  To apply, visit the Ontario Government’s website.

Additionally, this summer, frontline workers are being offered special rates or discounts at a number of attractions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Niagara Parks Commission, Royal Ontario Museum, Royal Botanical Gardens, Huronia Historical Parks, Fort William Historical Park and the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory.  For details of the discounts, see the Ontario Government’s news release.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Resumption of Festivals and Events

On August 5, the Québec Government announced that, in conjunction with the adoption of the decree allowing a maximum of 250 people at outdoor gatherings, festivals and events can resume as of today, everywhere in Québec, provided that public health directives are respected.

State of Emergency Renewal

On August 5, 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 12, 2020.

Montréal – State of Emergency Renewal

On August 4, the Montréal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until August 9.

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Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Reprise des activités des festivals et des événements

Le 5 août, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé que, concomitamment à l’adoption du décret permettant un maximum de 250 personnes lors de rassemblements extérieurs, les festivals et les événements peuvent reprendre à compter d’aujourd’hui, partout au Québec, à condition de respecter les directives de santé publique.

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 5 août, 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 12 août 2020.

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 4 août, l’agglomération de Montréal a renouvelé l’état d’urgence jusqu’au 9 août sur l’ensemble de son territoire.

 

Prince Edward Island

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced the following measures:

Students Return to In-Class Learning

Public schools across Prince Edward Island will return to full-time in-class learning on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The reopening plan was announced August 5, 2020 and outlines the health and safety measures that will be in place when schools reopen.

For more information and to review the plan, visit the Government of Prince Edward Island’s website.

 

Yukon

The Government of the Yukon announced the following measures:

Community Wellbeing Survey Launch

The Government of Yukon, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health are undertaking a comprehensive study of wellbeing in Yukon.

All Yukon residents are being asked to complete the Yukon Community Wellbeing survey to measure wellbeing and better understand the local impacts of COVID-19. The survey will generate data to support informed decision making to meet the changing needs of residents. The COVID-specific questions will be used to inform the next steps in the pandemic response.

To take the survey, visit the Government of Yukon’s website.

Child Care Guidelines Updated

Updated guidelines for child care services have now been provided to all child care and day home operators in Yukon. Parents are no longer required to fill out an assessment tool daily.

Changes to Guidelines for Bars, Pubs and Lounges

Music, including singing and wind instruments, are now permitted in bars, pubs and lounges provided all requirements are met. These include a physical distance between musicians and patrons. Karaoke is not permitted for solo-performers. All musicians and performers must be screened for illness prior to performing.

For more information on the updated guidelines, visit the Government of Yukon’s website.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Public Health Emergency Extended

The current Public Health Emergency has been extended to August 18, 2020.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Travel Restrictions Extended

On July 30, the Government of Nunavut extended the current travel restrictions for another 14 days. For more information on the travel restrictions, visit the Government of Nunavut’s website.

Public Health Emergency Extended

The Public Health Emergency has been extended to August 20, 2020.

 

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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