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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 14, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 5 minute read
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on April 14, 2020 that touch on workplace issues.  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 April 13, 2020, the government announced $50-million in funding for food production and processing employers, farmers and fish harvesters dependent on workforces largely comprised of temporary foreign workers entering Canada.  The funding will make up to $1,500 available to eligible employers for each temporary foreign worker required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their entry to Canada. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order. This program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is followed.

On April 14, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that effective Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at midnight, any Canadian who returns from abroad and is not able to explain a "credible quarantine plan" will be required to quarantine in a location determined by the government, such as a hotel.

Alberta

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 14, 2020.

British Columbia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 14, 2020.

Manitoba

The government announced that it will provide front-line healthcare workers paid administrative leave if they are required to self-isolate as a result of possible exposure to COVID-19.

The government also announced forthcoming amendments to employment standards legislation that would provide job-protected leaves for absences related to COVID-19.  The proposed legislation would allow employees to take as much unpaid time off as needed to:

  • isolate or quarantine in accordance with directions from health professionals and the government;
  • obtain medical treatment or supervision;
  • comply with orders made under The Emergency Measures Act or The Public Health Act;
  • provide care or support to a family member as a result of COVID-19; or
  • comply with travel restrictions.

The new provisions, once approved, would apply retroactively to March 1, 2020. Click here for more information.

New Brunswick

In order to ensure quality, any business interested in donating personal protective equipment to frontline health professionals was asked to contact Service New Brunswick and to complete and submit an online form.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador's Chief Medical Officer of Health officially issued an order prohibiting operators of personal care homes and long term care facilities from permitting staff to work across multiple personal care homes and long term care facility locations, unless required in exceptional circumstances and where an exemption has been granted.

Nova Scotia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 14, 2020.

Ontario

On April 14, 2020, the Ontario government extended its declaration of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for 28 days, ending May 12, 2020. 

In addition, the legislature passed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020, available online, which amends a number of other acts.  According to the government press release, the amendments are as follows:

  • Education Act: Amendments to "allow school boards with an expiring education development charge by-law to use their existing by-law for an additional six months after the end of the COVID-19 outbreak, so they can continue to charge fees on new construction."  In addition, amendments were made to procedures for addressing school suspensions and expulsions.
  • Planning Act: Amendments to "temporarily pause the need for municipalities and planning boards to make planning decisions within specified timelines without the risk of appeal."
  • Development Charges Act:  Amendments to "[allow] municipalities with an expiring development charge by-law to use their existing by-law during the current emergency and for six months following the end of the emergency declaration, so they can continue to charge fees on new construction."
  • Police Services Act:  Amendments to "give municipalities an extension on the deadline to prepare and adopt a community safety and well-being plan."
  • Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act: Amendments to "temporarily suspend student loan payments for OSAP borrowers and initiate a six-month interest-free moratorium on OSAP loans."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also stated in a press conference that further announcements would be made on April 15, 2020 regarding long-term care facilities.  Based on the statements made by the Premier, it is anticipated that new emergency measures will prohibit workers in the long-term care sector from working at multiple facilities, and will introduce additional testing procedures for high-risk long-term care facilities.

Prince Edward Island

The government announced a new initiative to create and subsidize employment and economic opportunities for high school and post-secondary students. The government expects its new initiatives will support the creation of 1,000 jobs for youth.

Quebec

To address critical staffing shortages in long-term care, the government asked that all general practitioners, specialists, beneficiary attendants, retirees or teachers who have any experience in dealing with health care to join those who are working on the front lines in long-term care.

Given issues raised during the COVID-19 pandemic thus far, Premier Legault also announced that a list of "critical" long-term care facilities that are "under surveillance" will be published and will be updated daily. Currently, 41 of the 2,600 long-term care facilities in Quebec are "under surveillance."

Finally, the government confirmed that it does not currently intend to make use of its April 10, 2020, emergency order.  That emergency order provides that despite any collective agreement involving a schoolboard or college, any personnel (including non-unionized and management personnel) could be redeployed within the public health and social services sectors and be subject to other employment conditions and duties.

Saskatchewan

The government announced a series of relief measures for the provincial oil and gas sector.  These relief measures include, but are not limited to, extending a series of filing and other deadlines to assist the oil and gas sector in stabilizing operations, as their employees transition to working from home.  These extensions do not impact health or environmental safety.

Additional details of these measures can be viewed here.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

The federal government announced that it will provide $129.9-million in COVID-19 related funding to the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. The funding is targeted at the following:

  • $72.6-million to boost healthcare systems;
  • $17.3-million for northern airlines;
  • $15-million in "non-repayable support" for businesses affected by COVID-19 that do not qualify for available federal financial assistance programs; and
  • $25-million for Nutrition North Canada.

There were no major government updates from Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 14, 2020.

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