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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 22, 2020

Fasken
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on April 22, 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 government announced nearly $9-billion in support for post-secondary students and recent graduates impacted by COVID-19, including the launch of a Canada Emergency Student Benefit. The benefit would provide support from May to August 2020 to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Most eligible students will receive $1,250 per month. Eligible students with dependents or disabilities will receive $1,750 per month. College and university students who are currently in school, planning to start in September, or who graduated in December 2019 will be eligible for the benefit, as well as students earning less than $1,000 per month.

The government hopes to pass legislation soon in order to put the Canada Emergency Student Benefit in place.

The government also announced it will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months.

These changes are in addition to the previously announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Alberta

The Court of Queen's Bench extended (PDF) its restriction on hearings to May 31, 2020. All civil matters scheduled for hearings up to May 31, 2020 have been adjourned. All filing deadlines under the Alberta Rules of Court are also suspended until May 31, 2020. The Court will only hear emergency and urgent civil matters which include injunctions, civil restraining orders, preservation orders and urgent administrative law orders.

British Columbia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 22, 2020.

Manitoba

The government announced funding of up to $120-million to support Manitoba's small and medium-sized businesses that are facing COVID-19 related challenges.

Known as the Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP), the initiative is designed to provide non-interest loans to those businesses that fail to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies available as a result of COVID-19.

In order to be eligible, a business must:

  • have been operational on March 20, 2020 (the date the province-wide state of emergency was declared);
  • have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by the health order;
  • be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
  • have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
  • have an email address and a bank account.

Furthermore, the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba has announced that it will be returning a $37-million surplus to provide financial relief to eligible employers in the province.

In May 2020, eligible employers will receive a credit based on 20% of their 2019 premium. In order to be eligible, employers must have fulfilled payroll reporting responsibilities and paid a WCB premium in 2019. For additional information regarding this initiative, please click here.

New Brunswick

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 22, 2020.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Chief Medical Officer of Health ordered that all workers who have returned from Kearl Lake, Alberta since March 29, 2020 must self-isolate for a period of 14 days. All workers returning to Newfoundland and Labrador from Kearl Lake are advised to contact the 811 Health Line for appropriate follow up and will be tested regardless of whether they are symptomatic.   

Nova Scotia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 22, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced further measures to protect long-term care residents and staff. According to the government press release, "the government has introduced more aggressive testing, screening, and surveillance, deployed specialized teams from hospitals, public health and the home care sector, recruited additional frontline staff, and increased personal protective equipment." 

Premier Ford also clarified in his press conference that there was no fixed date for reopening the economy, and that the easing of restrictions would gradually unfold based on the guidance of public health experts.

Prince Edward Island

The government is considering easing public measures related to COVID-19 on a gradual basis as early as May 1, 2020, particularly measures related to outdoor activities and non-urgent health care services.

The government confirmed that all travel into the province must be for essential purposes.

Quebec

Premier Legault announced that plans to reopen businesses and schools will be made public next week. It will be recommended to wear a mask, especially where social distancing measures (i.e., the 2 meters rule) cannot be respected. The reopening may begin in areas other than Montreal and Laval, where 74% of fatalities have occurred. In addition, parents will not immediately be required to send their children to reopened schools if they do not wish to do so.

The government has asked the federal government for the assistance of 1,000 soldiers to work in long-term care homes (CHSLDs).

Finally, the Premier commented that cultural and sporting events may not be permitted until 2021.

Saskatchewan

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 22, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

No major government updates from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or the Yukon, as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 22, 2020.

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