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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 8, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 4 minute read
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on April 8, 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

Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the parameters to qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are being relaxed:

  • for the initial eligibility period starting March 15, applicants will only need to show either a 15% decline from March 2019 revenue, or a 15% decline from their average January or February 2020 revenues; and
  • charities and non-profits will have the option to include or exclude revenue from government sources when calculating loss of revenue.

The government has updated its information page on the CEWS to reflect these changes.

The new information clarifies how the CEWS will interact with the Work-Sharing program. For employers and employees that are participating in a Work-Sharing program, employment insurance (EI) benefits received by employees through the Work-Sharing program will reduce the benefit that their employer is entitled to receive under the CEWS.

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program that will help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to jobs in the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors. The temporary changes to the program for this year include:

  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
  • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services; and
  • allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.

Alberta

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 8, 2020.

British Columbia

Premier Horgan announced that all BC residents returning to British Columbia from international travel will be required to register (PDF) a plan on the measures they will take to self-isolate and quarantine for at least 14 days. The plan must be acceptable to, and approved by, provincial and/or federal border officials at the point of entry.  The government has not yet clarified how this requirement applies to those providing essential services in the province.  The Premier stated that failure to submit an acceptable plan may result in the resident being put into quarantine at a public facility.

Manitoba

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 8, 2020.

New Brunswick

The Human Rights Commission issued an online information resource (PDF) with some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and human rights.

Newfoundland and Labrador

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 8, 2020.

Nova Scotia

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 8, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced the extension of construction hours for essential construction projects (e.g., construction projects in the health care sector). Such construction is now permitted 24 hours a day, overriding local noise bylaws effective April 7, 2020. 

This is intended to expedite construction on key facilities (e.g., new hospital builds, expansions, temporary COVID-19 response units, and COVID-19 assessment centres).  It is also intended to enhance worker safety by providing more flexibility to stagger shifts, limit the number of people in one place.

The government press release indicates that, to assist with making essential workplaces across the province safer, the province is, among other things:

  • "Redeploying more than 30 employment standards officers to help businesses understand and comply with health and safety requirements;
  • Working with health and safety associations to deploy up to 30 specialists to support employers and workers in the field;
  • Doubling the capacity of Ontario's Health and Safety Call Centre from 25 to 50 phone lines; and
  • Issuing a call to recently-retired inspectors who may be able and willing to return to their positions."

Prince Edward Island

The government expressed its hope that there will be a commercial fishing season this year, and has asked for guidance and a decision on the fishing season from the federal government.

Further, the government extended employers' deadline to apply for wage subsidies for youth through the Jobs for Youth Program to April 30, 2020.

Quebec

Premier Legault announced that he expects some businesses that are currently restricted from operating under the province's COVID-19 measures will be permitted to operate in the coming days or weeks. In particular, he expects the construction sector will be among the first sectors permitted to restart operations.

The government also announced that it will begin systematic COVID-19 testing of staff and residents in long term care homes. Some doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals will also be transferred from hospitals to long term care homes to treat residents.

Saskatchewan

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 8, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Yukon, the government suspended all in-person classes for the remainder of the school year. Starting on April 16, 2020, education will be provided to students through alternative learning methods.

There were no major government updates from the Northwest Territories or Nunavut as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on April 8, 2020.

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