Skip to main content
This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies as described in our privacy policy.
Bulletin | Covid-19

Long Weekend Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 10, 11 and 12, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 9 minute read
Subscribe

Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on April 10, 11 and 12, 2020 that touch on workplace issues. We also summarize the "in case you missed it" ("ICYMI") top stories in each province from the previous week. These changes will undoubtedly affect many of your businesses. 

Our daily and weekend overviews of previous government announcements, employment analyses and other COVID-19 information are available here

The Federal Government

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, the House of Commons and Senate passed Bill C-14, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, No. 2.

The bill contains the legislative amendments required to implement the government's previously announced Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the "CEWS").

Through this legislation, the government expanded the CEWS by introducing a new 100% refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund covers 100% of employer-paid contributions for eligible employees for each week in which the eligible employer receives the CEWS. Employers are required to continue to collect and remit employer and employee contributions to each program as usual. Employers apply for a refund, as described above, at the same time that they apply for the CEWS.

Employers will be able to apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency's My Business Account portal.  Finance Minister Bill Morneau stated that the money will begin to flow within two to five weeks. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

Full details on the CEWS are available on the Government of Canada website.

ICYMI: On April 8, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that certain parameters to qualify for the CEWS were being relaxed.

Alberta

On April 10, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued CMOH Order 10-2020(PDF), placing further restrictions on the movement of health care workers between health care facilities, and revising operational protocols and outbreak standards applicable to licensed health care providers. Health care facilities and providers must now adhere to the following requirements and standards:

  • effective April 16, 2020, designated supportive living and long-term care staff will be limited to working within one single healthcare facility;
  • health care workers (including contractors, certain doctors and nurses) who are employed or contracted to provide services within more than one health care facility must disclose that fact to their supervisor as soon as possible; and
  • all health care workers providing direct resident care or working in resident care areas must wear a surgical/procedure mask continuously, at all times and in all areas of the workplace if they are either involved in direct resident contact or cannot maintain adequate physical distancing from residents and co-workers.

ICYMI: On April 6, 2020, the government announced the implementation of temporary employment standards in order to provide job protection for workers and flexibility for employers.

British Columbia

British Columbia's Provincial Health Officer ("PHO") released a "Travellers and Employers" (PDF) Order. Pursuant to the Order, persons entering British Columbia through the Vancouver International Airport, or other points of entry, must submit an approved 14 day self-isolation plan. However, different requirements apply to certain employees of "Essential Services."

The Order permits "Essential Workers" of Essential Services who are asymptomatic to continue to attend at work. "Essential Services" are defined in Appendix B to an associated Guidance Document(PDF). To characterize an employee as an Essential Worker, employers must determine whether the employee (returning from international travel for the purpose of providing the Essential Service), is critical to providing the Essential Service, such that a 14 day period of self-isolation would unreasonably impede delivery of the Essential Service.

The Order sets out various principles that employers must consider to make this determination. Even though an Essential Worker is permitted to continue to provide the Essential Service, the Essential Worker is required to self-isolate during non-working hours, maintain hygienic standards, monitor for symptoms, and refrain from attending work if symptoms of illness develop.

ICYMI: On April 8, 2020, Premier Horgan announced that all BC residents returning to British Columbia from international travel will be required to register a plan on the measures they will take to self-isolate and quarantine for at least 14 days.

Manitoba

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 7, 2020, the government announced it is seeking businesses able to manufacture and/or supply personal protective and other medical equipment for its COVID-19 efforts.

New Brunswick

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 8, 2020, the Human Rights Commission issued an online information resource with some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and human rights.

Newfoundland and Labrador

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 7, 2020, the government announced that a number of tax return filing deadlines are being delayed and that interest and penalty relief will be available to support eligible businesses suffering from the impacts of the pandemic.

Nova Scotia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 9, 2020, the government announced that its Worker Emergency Bridge Fund and its Small Business Impact Grant would open for applications on Friday, April 10, 2020.

Ontario

On April 9, 2020, the government amended (PDF) its regulation regarding the closure of non-essential workplaces to permit the operation of certain construction workplaces for projects which are due to be completed before October 4, 2020 and that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products.

On April 10, 2020, the Ontario government issued a temporary order (PDF) preventing child care centres from collecting payments from parents while care is not being provided, and protecting parents' child care spaces. The government announcement reminded child care providers that they can seek government financial support to assist their business.

On April 11, 2020, the Ontario government announced the extension (PDF) of all previously issued emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.  Those orders have been extended to April 23, 2020 and include the orders respecting the closure of non-essential workplaces.

In addition, the government's press release announced a number of new orders, including:

  • An order (PDF) regarding temporary health or residential facilities, which the government announcement indicates will "[make] it easier to repurpose existing buildings and put up temporary structures, like tents, so communities can meet their local needs quickly. This will reduce pressure on health care facilities, where needed, and help shelters provide more space for sleeping to maintain the physical distancing requirements to reduce the spread of the virus."
  • An order(PDF) which allows hospitals and retirement homes to enter into agreements which will "[temporarily enable] hospitals to increase their capacity by using the beds and services of retirement homes without certain labour relations implications during the declared provincial emergency."
  • An order(PDF), effective April 16, 2020, to "[support] construction workers and businesses with emergency action to help improve cash flow in the construction industry during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will lift the suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Construction Act and allow the release of holdback payments to contractors and subcontractors."

On April 12, 2020, the government announced that it is, together with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner, developing a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR).  According to the government press release, PANTHR will "hold secure health data that will allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness."

ICYMI: On April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. E.D.T., the government's amended list of essential businesses/workplaces came into effect by regulation, resulting in further closures of and restrictions on workplaces in Ontario. 

Prince Edward Island

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 8, 2020, the government extended employers' deadline to apply for wage subsidies for youth through the Jobs for Youth Program to April 30, 2020.

Quebec

On Friday, April 10, 2020, Premier Legault announced that he hopes to see businesses reopen shortly as the province expects to  hit its peak number of COVID-19 cases.  The Premier also announced the province has reached an agreement with medical specialists, making more physicians available for work in long-term care residences.

On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Premier Legault announced that the salaries of employees in long-term care residences will be increased after the COVID-19 crisis. He also confirmed  that the government is studying different scenarios for the resumption of in-person school on or after May 4, 2020. Finally, the Premier announced that major festivals in the province are cancelled through August 31, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 6, 2020, the government announced $100-million for a new program called the Concerted Actions Program for the Maintenance in Employment ("PACME"). PACME will provide grants to eligible employers to help cover the costs of training activities.

Saskatchewan

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 9, 2020, the government announced that small businesses will receive additional provincial support to help deal with current COVID-19 challenges through the new Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Northwest Territories, the Chief Public Health Officer announced two new binding public health orders:

  • The first order introduced mandatory measures for mines and oil and gas remote camps. The order applies to all companies, employers, and employees operating or working in these sectors. Details of the mandatory measures to be taken are available online(PDF).
  • The second order banned all indoor gatherings and required the closure of certain types of businesses that are unable or unlikely to maintain proper physical distancing. The order specifies that grocery stores, gas stations, banks, pharmacies and liquor stores can remain open, but that other types of businesses are to be closed down, with certain exceptions. Corner stores, large retail stores, and restaurants offering takeout, drive-thru or delivery may remain open if capable of enforcing and maintaining proper physical distancing and as long as their operations do not present a high-risk to public health. Details of the order are available online(PDF).

The government of the Northwest Territories also postponed the opening of its territorial parks until further notice.

In the Yukon, the government introduced the Yukon Business Relief Program to help Yukon businesses that have experienced a 30% reduction in revenue and require immediate relief. Eligible businesses can apply for a grant of up to $30,000 per month to cover fixed costs from March 23 to May 22, 2020. Eligible fixed costs could include:

  • commercial rent or lease;
  • water, sewage and waste disposal;
  • electricity and heating fuel;
  • telephone, cable, internet and satellite;
  • software, data services, and subscriptions;
  • business insurance; and
  • pest control.

Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2020. More information regarding the program, application and eligibility is available online.

In Nunavut, there were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 12, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 7, 2020, the Government of the Northwest Territories extended its territory-wide state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act, and in Nunavut, the government provided an update and technical details related to COVID-19 isolation procedures. In the Yukon, the government suspended all in-person classes for the remainder of the school year on April 8, 2020.

    Sign up for updates from this team

    Receive email updates from our team

    Subscribe