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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 29, 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 29, 2020 that touch on workplace issues. Our daily (weekday) and weekend overviews of previous government announcements, employment analyses and other COVID-19 information are available here

The Federal Government

On April 29, 2020, Parliament convened to debate the legislation required for the government's previously announced emergency support measures for students, including the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

The legislation was passed by the House of Commons late yesterday. The Senate will convene tomorrow (May 1, 2020) to finalize the Bill.

Alberta

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 29, 2020.

British Columbia

The government extended the provincial State of Emergency until May 12, 2020.

Premier Horgan announced that he anticipates certain orders for the relaxation of public health restrictions next week.  The Premier indicated that physical distancing requirements will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future, and that businesses should consider operating online services to the greatest extent possible.  He also indicated that the government is considering amendments to employment standards legislation that will provide for paid sick leave, without indicating who would bear the cost of such leave.

Manitoba

The government shared a multi-phased plan to gradually restore services, open some businesses, and increase recreational opportunities commencing May 4, 2020.

The first phase of reopening will include, among others, the reopening of certain non-essential healthcare services, retail businesses, restaurants, hair salons, museums, galleries and libraries under conditions requiring them to maintain occupancy limits, social distancing and strict cleaning practices. For more information regarding the province's roadmap to reopen businesses and services safely, please click here.

New Brunswick

The government published a regulation applicable to its new COVID-19 Emergency Leave. The regulation states that an employer shall grant an unpaid emergency leave to an employee that is:

  • under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment related to COVID-19;
  • acting in accordance with an order under section 33, 36 or 41 of the Public Health Act related to COVID-19;
  • in quarantine or isolation or is subject to a control measure, which may include self-isolation, and the quarantine, isolation or control measure was implemented as a result of information or directions related to COVID-19 (in certain circumstances);  
  • under a direction given by his or her employer in response to a concern of the employer that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to COVID-19;
  • providing care or support to an individual with whom the employee shares a close family relationship because of a matter related to COVID-19 that concerns that individual, including school or early learning and childcare facility closures; or
  • directly affected by travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and, under the circumstances, cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to New Brunswick.

Eligibility for the emergency leave is retroactive to March 12, 2020.

The government also announced that it will arrange engagement sessions with business owners and officials at Public Health, WorkSafeNB and other applicable government departments to help businesses reopen. Opportunities NB will also host a webinar on economic recovery on May 8, 2020. 

Further, Premier Higgs announced several steps the government will take to help businesses affected by its prohibition against the entry of temporary foreign workers into New Brunswick, including:

  • exploring opportunities to fill vacant positions by recruiting post-secondary students and other individuals unemployed as a result of COVID-19;
  • considering ways to employ temporary foreign workers who are already in the province and have also been affected by the pandemic; and
  • redeploying or calling back unemployed casual or seasonal workers from government departments to work in the fishery and agriculture sectors.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Chief Medical Officer of Health issued an order applicable to all operators, staff, new clients and residents of assisted living facilities that provide care and assistance to seniors in their daily living. The order has immediate effect and includes the following:

  • operators of assisted living facilities are prohibited from permitting staff to work across multiple assisted living facility locations or engaging in any other employment while simultaneously employed at an assisted living facility, unless required in exceptional circumstances and where an exemption has been granted;
  • staff must use personal protective equipment, as appropriate;
  • staff providing care must wear personal protective equipment when interacting with an individual in isolation and the operator must make every effort to minimize the number of staff providing care to an individual in isolation; and
  • all staff must be screened for risk of COVID-19 at the beginning of every shift.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health also amended a previous order related to individuals arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador from outside the province. Effective May 4, 2020, all individuals will be prohibited from entering the province with the following exceptions:

  • individuals whose primary place of residence is Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • asymptomatic workers and individuals who are subject to the Updated Exemption Order issued on April 22, 2020;
  • individuals permitted entry in extenuating circumstances as approved in advance by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The Premier announced that the government will provide compensation for private sector employers for continuation of pay to employees who were required to self-isolate for 14-days due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This includes individuals who are self-employed. Employers are expected to apply for any available federal funding under the federal Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Temporary Wage Subsidy program. The maximum amount of funding under the provincial program will be $500 per week for each employee (to a combined maximum of $1,000 per week for each employee when receiving both federal and provincial funding).

Nova Scotia

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 29, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced a further expansion of the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency childcare during the pandemic to include "people who work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, and certain federal employees, including the military."  Further information regarding emergency child care can be found here.

Prince Edward Island

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 29, 2020.

Quebec

The government announced the following plans for the gradual removal of travel restrictions for certain regions:

  • on May 4, 2020, restrictions will be lifted for the Laurentides, Lanaudière and Chaudière-Appalaches regions and the city of Rouyn;
  • on May 11, 2020, restrictions will be lifted for the Outaouais (except the city of Gatineau, where restrictions will be maintained, including for crossing the bridges linking the city to Ottawa), Abitibi, La Tuque and Saguenay-Lac -Saint-Jean regions; and
  • on May 18, 2020, restrictions will be removed for the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Charlevoix and Côte-Nord regions.

Restrictions for the city of Gatineau and the regions of Northern Quebec, the Basse Côte-Nord, Mingamie, Nunavik and the James Bay Cree Lands will remain in place and have no current timeline for removal.

Saskatchewan

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 28, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Yukon, the government announced it was planning the reopening of the economy and the easing of public health restrictions. The government reiterated and clarified the following current restrictions:

  • the ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people does not apply to workplaces. The maximum number of people in a workplace depends on the size of the establishment. Appropriate space between employees and increased hygiene precautions are required;
  • retail businesses may remain open, but must implement measures to serve the public safely; and
  • certain other businesses or establishments must remain closed to the public (i.e. bars, restaurants [except for take-out and delivery], recreation facilities and personal services businesses).

There were no major government updates in the Northwest Territories or Nunavut as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 29, 2020.

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