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Bulletin | Covid-19

Weekend Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 25 and 26, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 6 minute read
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on April 25 and 26, 2020 that touch on workplace issues.  We also summarize "in case you missed it" ("ICYMI") stories from the previous week. Our daily and weekend overviews of previous government announcements, employment analyses and other COVID-19 information are available here

The Federal Government

On April 25, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $62.5-million in funding to support fish and seafood processors so that they can purchase personal protective equipment for workers, adapt to health protocols, and support other social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICYMI: On April 24, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance ("CECRA") program for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for eligible small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

Alberta

The government issued Ministerial Order 26.2020, which, among other things, amended the Labour Relations Code and Employment Standards Code for clarity and direction on how health care employers are to restrict health care staff from working at multiple facilities. The Order sets out processes for:

  • determining what  health care facility an employee should work at if they work at more than one facility;
  • requiring employers to place employees who choose to work at an alternative facility on a leave of absence and requiring employers to return such employees back to their position within a reasonable period of time after CMOH Order 10-2020 is no longer in effect;
  • requiring employers to follow scheduling practices so as to provide additional hours and preferential overtime to employees who have lost income as a result of no longer being able to work at multiple health care facilities; and
  • granting the Labour Relations Board with the jurisdiction to resolve any disputes arising from the implementation of the Order.

The government also issued Ministerial Order 16.2020, which allows income support recipients who have lost income because of COVID-19 to receive a portion of of the federal government's Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) without having the CERB affect their provincial income support benefits.

British Columbia

The government published new guidelines for employees, operators and contractors working in the silviculture sector, including guidelines on:

  • screening workers for symptoms or potential COVID-19 exposure;
  • added hygiene measures in camps;
  • training workers on how to stay safe while travelling to camps and to worksites;
  • food preparation guidelines;
  • limiting travel outside of camps; and
  • having at least one infection and control co-ordinator at each site.

ICYMI: On April 23, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer published an Order for employers in the forestry, agriculture, and aquamarine industries that operate industrial camps. 

Manitoba

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 26, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 24, 2020, the government announced a Summer Student Recovery Plan, a new program that will provide support to employers and high school and post-secondary students (age 15 to 29) from May 1 to September 4, 2020.

New Brunswick

The government released a guidance document for phase 1 of New Brunswick's COVID-19 recovery plan. The guidance document includes information on public health measures for business, organizations, service providers and the general public to enable reopening.

ICYMI: On April 24, 2020, the government amended its State of Emergency order and announced a loosening of public health restrictions in the province's first phase of its recovery plan.

Newfoundland and Labrador

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 26, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 23, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued new orders for travelers arriving in the province.

Nova Scotia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 26, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 24, 2020, the government announced a Small Business Credit Support Program for businesses which are ineligible for the federal CEBA program.

Ontario

On April 24, 2020, the government announced an Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative, including $2.5-million in funding to assist the agri-food sector to expand online.  According to the government press release, the "initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products."

On April 25, 2020, the government announced temporary funding to top up certain front line employees' existing hourly wages by $4, regardless of their rate of pay, and by providing each employee working over 100 hours monthly a lump sum of $250 per month for the next four months.  According to the government press release, these temporary payments are being provided "[in] recognition of the dedication, long hours and increased risk of working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak" and will be available to "staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals."  More information is available here.

The government also announced new emergency orders amending regulations under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act relating to, among other things, long-term care homes and the deafblind community.  According to the government press release, the new and amended emergency orders:

  • "Allow health service providers, including hospitals, to temporarily reassign frontline staff to provide services and supports in long-term care homes. This will help to quickly provide much-needed staffing support to long-term care homes while they continue to fight outbreaks."  This amending order is available here.
  • "Provide staffing flexibility to service providers and employers in the intervenor services sector, which helps people who have a combined loss of hearing and vision. This will give employers the temporary authority to redirect staff to carry out essential tasks to support and protect people who are deafblind. It will also ensure staffing measures are in place to allow for physical distancing."  This amending order is available here.

On April 26, 2020, the government announced that publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31, 2020. 

ICYMI: On April 21, 2020, the government announced $11-million dollars in funding to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to seniors and persons with disabilities during the pandemic.

Prince Edward Island

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 26, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 22, 2020, the government announced that it 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.

Quebec

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 26, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 22, 2020, Premier Legault announced that plans to reopen businesses and schools will be made public during the week of April 26, 2020.

Saskatchewan

The government published its April 24, 2020  Public Health Order which restricts all non-critical travel into northern Saskatchewan.

ICYMI: On April 20, 2020, the Agriculture Minister David Marit announced that the AgriStability enrollment deadline for the 2020 program year has been extended without penalty to July 3, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon, there were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 26, 2020.

ICYMI: On April 24, 2020, in the Northwest Territories, the government announced additional support for essential workers responding to COVID-19 to ensure access to child care. On April 24, 2020, in the Yukon, the government extended the deadline for property tax payments to September 2, 2020 for citizens and businesses.

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