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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 16, 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 16, 2020 that touch on workplace issues. Our daily and weekend overviews of previous government announcements, employment analyses and other COVID-19 information are available here

The Federal Government

The Prime Minister announced additional measures to support small businesses, including:

  • expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to include businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previously qualifying range of $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll; and
  • introducing the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June, 2020. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. 

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced that on the evening of April 16, 2020, he would be meeting with the premiers to discuss the previously announced wage top-ups for essential workers who earn less than $2,500 a month, among other things. Further details on this measure are expected soon.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) announced that it has developed a series of pandemic guidance tip sheets available on the CCOHS website,  These tip sheets provided guidance for employers and employees on work safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tip sheets are available for specific industries and sectors including construction, correctional services, daycares, healthcare, mining, retail, and transportation.

Alberta

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 16, 2020.

British Columbia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 16, 2020.

Manitoba

The government introduced its previously announced public health emergency leave.  This is a temporary unpaid job-protected leave for employees who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The leave is available for all employees who are:

  • in quarantine, isolation or self-isolation in order to follow guidance or directives issued by public health authorities;
  • under medical examination or treatment due to COVID-19;
  • required to comply with COVID-19 related orders under the Emergency Measures Act or the Public Health Act;
  • providing care, support or assistance to family members as a result of COVID-19;
  • directed by their employer not to work because of concerns about the employee's exposure to others; or
  • impacted by travel restrictions and cannot be expected to travel to work.

The leave applies retroactive to March 1, 2020 and can be taken for as long as is needed due to the eligibility criteria noted above. Employers cannot force employees to take the leave – employees must request it. Employers cannot request a medical note to substantiate the leave, however other forms of reasonable verification are allowed. For more information regarding the public health emergency leave, click here.

The government also launched an internet-based therapy service program to help Manitobans cope with COVID-19 related mental health and anxiety issues. 

New Brunswick

The government announced the extension of the provincial state of emergency for another 14 days, ending April 30, 2020. Certain revisions were made to the government's emergency order, including the following:

  • any restaurant offering take out must take all reasonable steps to ensure the physical distancing of its customers on the premises awaiting food; and
  • property owners must take steps to prevent gatherings.

Further details are included in the order.

The government also announced that gardening and agricultural retailers will reopen beginning on April 16, 2020. Further, restaurants with a proper license may sell liquor as part of their take-out menu or delivery during the state of emergency.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Minister of Health and Community Services ordered the extension of the provincial public health emergency through and until the end of April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nova Scotia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 16, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced the expansion of hospital capacity, including a number of new acute care and critical care beds, and pandemic staffing plans.  According to the press release, pandemic staffing plan "measures include:

  • redeploying surgical nursing staff who can now work with medicine units;
  • sharing highly trained emergency department and intensive care unit nursing staffs across units;
  • sharing physician resources across hospitals in a given region;
  • recruiting family doctors to complete shifts within the hospital; and
  • recruiting retirees, including nursing and support services." 

Prince Edward Island

The government declared a state of emergency effective until at least the end of April 2020, and renewed the province's state of public health emergency for an additional 30 days. For the duration of the state of emergency, individuals travelling to the province will be required to disclose the purpose of their travel in order to determine if that travel is essential or not. The state of emergency will be in effect from April 17, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. until April 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. A.D.T.

Quebec

Premier Legault declared that 2,000 specialists have accepted the government's invitation to work in long-term care homes (CHSLDs).

The Premier also indicated the government is working on a plan to reopen currently shuttered locations and facilities in Quebec, which will start with companies and not with schools.

Saskatchewan

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 16, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In Nunavut, the territory's Public Health Emergency was extended until April 30, 2020.

There were no major government updates from the Northwest Territories or the Yukon, as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 16, 2020.

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