COVID-19: Cross country update (June 4, 2020)

4 juin 2020

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Federal

The Government of Canada announced the following measures:

Funding for Canadian Seniors

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced today that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive a special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6.

The  press release from the Prime Minister’s office provides more details regarding these payments.

 

Alberta

The Government of Alberta announced the following measures:

Permanent Changes for Expanded Care in Nursing Homes

On August 15, 2020, long-term changes to Alberta’s nursing home regulations will come into effect. The temporary amendments, which were introduced as part of the response to COVID-19, will now be permanent.

The regulations will permanently remove barriers so nurse practitioners are able to act as primary care providers in nursing homes. This will include admitting and assessing residents, offering follow-up care, prescribing medication, and ordering treatments in nursing homes, according to their scopes of practice. This will allow nursing home residents to receive prescriptions for Schedule 1 drugs and orders for common diagnostic tests, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans, directly from nurse practitioners and other qualified health professionals.

Changes will be made to the two regulations under the Nursing Homes Act: the Nursing Homes General Regulation and the Nursing Homes Operation Regulation.

Accessible Options for COVID-19 Support

Those with a disability, making it difficult to be tested, are asked to call 811 or reach out to someone they can trust to assist them with completing the online self-assessment.

For more information, an online guide from the government’s website can be consulted.

 

Saskatchewan

The Government of Saskatchewan announced the following measures:

Temporary Wage Supplement Program Expanded to Include More Workers

More workers, who are assisting with vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, will soon be able to apply to the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program. The program is being expanded to include anyone, regardless of income level, working at public or private long-term care facilities, which are under public health orders restricting visitations.

Additionally, workers at assisted living facilities which also are under public health orders, will also be eligible for the wage supplement if they earned a wage less than $24.00 per hour in the four-week period for which the worker has applied for the supplement. To be eligible, these workers must also have total earnings of less than $2,500 (gross), including outside earnings, in the four-week period during which the worker has applied for the supplement.

Private day care and approved private service home workers will also be eligible for the payments.

For more information about the wage supplement, visit the government’s website.

Re-Open Saskatchewan: Phase 3 Beginning on June 8, 2020

Phase 3 of Re-Open Saskatchewan is set to commence on June 8, 2020. This will allow the following businesses and services to begin operation:

  • Places of worship;
  • Restaurants and licensed establishments;
  • Gyms and fitness facilities;
  • Child care facilities; and
  • Personal care services that did not re-open in Phase 2.

Also starting on June 8, 2020, employees returning to work can now access school-based childcare facilities. The child care facilities are now able to have a maximum of 15 children per designated space; which is an increase from 8. Groups of children and staff members assigned to them must stay together throughout the day and cannot mix with other groups. Further details of the guidelines can be found on the government’s website.

At this time, both playgrounds and beaches in Saskatchewan remain closed. Further details will be available next week.

Increased Testing for COVID-19

Beginning tomorrow, June 5, 2020, testing criteria will be further expanded. Testing will now be offered to:

  • Those admitted to acute care for more than 24 hours, including expectant mothers; and
  • Immunocompromised individuals and their health care providers.

 

Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba announced the following measures:

Provincial Beach Guidelines and Restrictions

As of today, June 4, 2020, beach safety officers will be returning to patrol beaches in Birds Hill, Winnipeg Beach, and Grand Beach provincial parks.

Standard physical distancing practices must be followed for visitors of the beaches. This includes keeping two meters (six feet) of separation from other beach users outside of one’s family group and keeping four meters (12 feet) of separation between each group’s towels and blankets.

More information for Manitoba beaches can be found on the government’s website.

 

Ontario

The Government of Ontario announced the following measures:

Ontario Allows Short-Term Rentals to Operate

The Ontario government announced today that, starting tomorrow, June 5, 2020, the short-term rental of cottages, condos, and other sites will be allowed to resume. Currently, under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, short-term rentals are only allowed to be rented to those in need of emergency housing.

Starting tomorrow, these restrictions will be lifted. However, owners are encouraged to consult health and safety guidelines with respect to the tourism and hospitality sector.

Ontario Appoints Special Advisor to Develop Health Data Platform

The Ontario government has appointed Dr. Jane Philpott as the special advisor to support the design and implementation of the new Ontario Health Data Platform. The platform will provide researchers and health system partners with access to anonymized health data that will allow them to better detect, plan, and respond to COVID-19.

The information gathered will allow researchers to help with:

  • Increasing detection of COVID-19;
  • Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations;
  • Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen;
  • Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working; and
  • Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.

Hospital Assumes Management of Woodbridge Vista Care Community in Vaughan

Woodbridge Vista Care Community has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is appointing William Osler Health System as interim manager at Woodbridge Vista Care Community long-term care home in Vaughan, Ontario. These steps will enable a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of the disease and assist in returning the home to normal operations.

The Ministry of Long-Term Care will continue to make decisions on which long-term care homes may require additional management support on a case-by-case basis.

Ontario Creates Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity

Today, the Ontario government announced the implementation of the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity. This is a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers. The council will also advise the government on long-term actions that can be taken to support youth during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today, in areas including education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ontario government is further supporting Black communities to address the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. The government is allocating $1.5 million in funding to organizations that support Black families and youth. The funding will be used to provide urgent COVID-19 supports and address the immediate needs of children, youth, and families.

 

Quebec

The Government of Quebec announced the following measures:

Gradual Resumption of Outdoor Sports

On June 4, the Québec government announced the resumption of team sports in the form of outdoor training as of June 8. Several Québec sports federations have prepared guides for the resumption of activities, which can be consulted on their respective websites.

This resumption also concerns supervised and guided activities, such as supervised training for individual sports (e.g., outdoor yoga classes) and guided outdoor outings, as well as the holding of local outdoor competitions of individual sports.

The government has also confirmed that these sports activities can be practiced in public and private outdoor swimming pools open to the public, play modules or by using outdoor training equipment made available to the public. On May 30, the government had announced the reopening of public outdoor swimming pools, the public outdoor paddling pools, the sanitary blocks of these facilities as well as play modules located in public parks.

New Job Placement Service Jetravaille!

On June 4, the ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale announced the launch of the new placement service Jetravaille! This service makes it easier to match the labour needs of businesses with job seekers. All businesses in all regions of Québec have access to the service, but priority will be given to processing offers from businesses corresponding to priority services and activities and from businesses authorized to resume their activities. A list of these businesses can be found on the government’s website.

The service is free and available immediately at Quebec.ca/jetravaille. The platform will only be accessible to employers until June 9, so that they can register their job offers. Employers who posted job offers on the transitional Web platform that went online on April 21 will have to register again with Jetravaille! as it will replace the old platform.

State of Emergency Renewal

On June 3, 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 June 10, 2020.

Montreal – State of Emergency Renewal

On June 4, the Montreal agglomeration extended the state of emergency on its territory until June 9.

__________

Le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé les mesures suivantes :

Reprise graduelle des sports extérieurs

Le 4 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a annoncé la reprise des sports d’équipe sous la forme d’entraînements extérieurs à compter du 8 juin. Plusieurs fédérations sportives québécoises ont préparé des guides de reprise des activités, qu’il est possible de consulter sur leurs sites respectifs.

Cette reprise concerne aussi les activités supervisées et guidées, comme les entraînements supervisés pour les sports individuels (ex. cours de yoga à l’extérieur) et les sorties en plein air guidées, ainsi que la tenue de compétitions locales à l’extérieur pour les sports individuels.

Le gouvernement a également confirmé que ces activités sportives pourront être pratiquées dans des piscines extérieures publiques et privées ouvertes au public, des modules de jeux ou en utilisant des appareils d’entraînement extérieurs, mis à la disposition du public. Le 30 mai, le gouvernement avait annoncé la réouverture des piscines extérieures publiques, des pataugeoires extérieures publiques, des blocs sanitaires de ces installations ainsi que des modules de jeux situés dans les parcs publics.

Nouveau service de placement Jetravaille!

Le 4 juin, le ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale a annoncé la mise en ligne du nouveau service de placement Jetravaille! Ce service vise à faciliter le jumelage entre les entreprises ayant des besoins de main-d’œuvre et les personnes à la recherche d’un emploi. Toutes les entreprises de toutes les régions du Québec ont accès au service, mais le traitement des offres des entreprises correspondant aux services et activités prioritaires et des entreprises autorisées à reprendre leurs activités sera privilégié. La liste de ces entreprises se trouve sur le site Web du gouvernement.

Le service est gratuit et accessible dès maintenant sur le site internet Quebec.ca/jetravaille. La plateforme sera uniquement accessible aux employeurs jusqu’au 9 juin, afin qu’ils procèdent à l’inscription de leurs offres d’emploi. Les employeurs ayant publié des offres d’emploi sur la plateforme Web transitoire mise en ligne le 21 avril dernier devront s’inscrire à nouveau à Jetravaille!, puisque cette dernière remplacera l’ancienne plateforme.

Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

Le 3 juin, le gouvernement du Québec a adopté un décret pour renouveler l’état d’urgence sanitaire sur tout le territoire québécois et pour prolonger les mesures prises par arrêtés ministériels jusqu’au 10 juin 2020.

Montréal – Renouvellement de l’état d’urgence

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

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the following measures:

Public Service Employees

Beginning Monday, June 8, 2020, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will begin the process of gradually increasing the number of public service employees in physical workplaces. This coincides with Newfoundland and Labrador moving to Alert Level 3 in ‘NLife with COVID-19: A Foundation for Living with COVID-19.’

Over the coming days, employees who have been identified to return to the workplace will be contacted by their supervisor to discuss this transition. Any employee who is not contacted, should continue in their current work arrangement unless advised otherwise.

Training materials have been prepared to assist employees returning to the workplace and will be available on PSAccess. This training will help ensure a safe transition, as well as highlight the new protocols that will be in place to ensure appropriate hygiene and physical distancing. This training is important for all employees, including those who have continued to work in government settings throughout the pandemic, as protocols will shift once the overall employee presence begins to increase.

 

New Brunswick

The Government of New Brunswick announced the following measures:

Re-Opening

The provincial government’s COVID-19 recovery plan is moving to the next phase of the yellow level on Friday, June 5, for all areas of the province except Zone 5 (Campbellton region). The yellow level includes the gradual reopening of more businesses and activities while working to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

During this phase of the yellow level, more restrictions are being eased, subject to maintaining physical distancing measures, general guidelines from Public Health and the Guidelines for New Brunswick Workplaces issued by WorkSafeNB.

Effective Friday, June 5:

  • Indoor gatherings in private homes of 10 people or fewer are permitted.
  • Outdoor public gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be permitted with physical distancing.
  • Religious services, including weddings and funerals, of 50 people or fewer may take place indoors or outdoors with physical distancing.
  • Elective surgeries and other non-emergency health-care services will increase.
  • Outdoor visits with up to two visitors for residents in long-term care facilities will be permitted with physical distancing.
  • Low-contact team sports will be permitted. Sports may operate as per the guidance provided by their respective national or provincial organizations if they identify means to limit the number and intensity of close contact during play. Players should check with their local organization to ensure it will be operating. All provincial, regional and local leagues shall maintain operational plans. Sport organizations can contact the Sport and Recreation Branch of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture for more information. Youth leagues must ensure that spectators are limited to one accompanying adult per child.
  • The following will be permitted to open:
    • swimming pools, saunas and waterparks (gathering limit of 50 people per separate activity area);
    • gyms, yoga and dance studios;
    • rinks and indoor recreational facilities (gathering limit of 50 people per separate activity area, and gathering limit of 50 spectators); and
    • pool halls and bowling alleys.

Effective Friday, June 19:

  • Overnight camps will be allowed to open.
  • Indoor visits with one visitor at a time for residents of long-term care facilities will be permitted. (Unless the visitor requires support, in which case, two visitors at a time will be allowed.)
  • Canadian residents owning property in New Brunswick will be permitted to enter the province provided they self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Canadian residents with immediate family in New Brunswick (parent, child, sibling, grandchild, grandparent, significant other) will be permitted to enter the province provided they self-isolate for 14 days.

The reopening of casinos, amusement centres, bingo halls, arcades, cinemas, bars (without seating), trade shows and conferences, large live performance venues, and larger public gatherings will be determined once additional evidence is available on the province’s success in managing a resurgence of the virus.

 

Nova Scotia

The Government of Nova Scotia announced the following measures:

Agricultural Businesses

The Government of Nova Scotia announced a support package to help farmers manage risks that are currently threatening the viability of their farm operations and Canada’s supply system.

In partnership with the federal government, the assistance includes a new COVID-19 Response and Mitigation Program, to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will help food producers with the costs of meeting extra health requirements due to COVID-19, help producers get their crops to market, fund projects aimed at maintaining competitiveness, productivity, profitability, and support abattoir efficiency and development.

Nova Scotia and the Government of Canada have agreed to increase the 2020 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 to 75 per cent for producers. The program supports producers experiencing a large decline in farm income. They are also providing a 10 per cent discount on producers’ share of AgriInsurance premiums, saving farmers from making these payments during difficult times. AgriInsurance is insurance against natural hazards in place to reduce the financial impact of production losses.

Agricultural businesses can apply for the assistance now through the Government of Nova Scotia website.

 

Northwest Territories

The Government of the Northwest Territories announced the following measures:

Air Travel

Effective June 8, 2020, Northwest Territories residents must bring their own non-medical masks on flights in order to comply with Transport Canada regulations.

Passengers will not be allowed to board their flight without demonstrating that their non-medical face mask will adequately cover their mouths and noses for the duration of their flight with durable material like cotton.

An inventory of non-medical face mask manufacturers across the territory has been established by the Government of the Northwest Territories for those wishing to purchase them. The Government of Canada has released tips on how to make masks at home with common materials, with or without sewing them.

Tourism Licensing Fees and Insurance Requirements

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) has  waived tourism insurance requirements and licensing fees for the 2020-21 seasons as another element of short term relief for tourism operators.

Under the Tourism Act, all tourism operators providing tourism services in the NWT are required to have a valid Tourism Operator Licence (TOL) with prescribed support documents including proof of insurance.

For this fiscal year, licenced tourism operators wishing to renew or significantly amend their TOL will not be charged. Nor will fees be collected for significant renewal applications.

Through amendments to its tourism regulations, the Department of ITI will also grant a temporary waiver on the insurance requirements required by the Tourism Act for operators unable to conduct tourism activities.

 

Nunavut

The Government of Nunavut announced the following measures:

Critical Worker Travel Exemption

Currently, travel out of Nunavut is not recommended and before returning to Nunavut travellers are subject to a 14-day isolation at a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer. All Nunavummiut, regardless of employer, are subject to the 14-day isolation. Critical workers can apply for an isolation exemption, the approval of which is at the sole discretion of the Chief Public Health Officer’s office. It cannot be granted by any Nunavut employer.

If you believe you are a critical worker, apply to the Chief Public Health Officer by submitting the Critical Worker exemption form to CPHOTravelRequests@gov.nu.ca.

 

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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