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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for April 9, 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 9, 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 more than 4.5 million applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit had been processed since the application system opened on April 6, 2020.

The Public Health Agency of Canada released its national COVID-19 projections. Prime Minister Trudeau explained that these projections anticipate that Canada may reach the initial peak of the pandemic curve by late spring, with the end of the first wave in the summer, and smaller outbreaks to follow after that.

Alberta

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 9, 2020.

British Columbia

The government posted new COVID-19 guidelines for operating businesses in the Hotel Sector

Manitoba

The government continued its request for help from the business community in procuring and manufacturing equipment for the province’s COVID-19 response. Specifically, the government has asked for assistance from the garment industry to source non-medical cotton gloves and gowns to be used by social service workers. For more information regarding the request and additional requests for equipment, please click here.

The government has also introduced new measures to enforce public health orders issued in response to COVID-19. These measures include new pre-set fines and a multi-tiered enforcement approach to enforce orders. The fines currently range from $486 for individuals to $2,542 for businesses. Click here for more information regarding the added enforcement measures.

New Brunswick

The application period for the New Brunswick Emergency Income Benefit for workers ended at 8:00 p.m. ADT on April 9, 2020.

Newfoundland and Labrador

No major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 9, 2020.

Nova Scotia

The government announced that its Worker Emergency Bridge Fund and its Small Business Impact Grant (previously introduced on April 2, 2020) will open for applications on Friday, April 10, 2020.

The Worker Emergency Bridge Fund is a one-time payment of $1,000 for Nova Scotians who are laid off or out of work because of COVID-19, who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance, and who earn between $5,000 and $34,000. Applications will be taken via telephone beginning April 10, 2020, 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ADT.

The Small Business Impact Grant is a one-time grant for eligible small business, non-profits, charities and other social enterprises of up to $5,000. Applications will open online (PDF) on Friday, April 10, 2020. The deadline to apply is April 25, 2020.

The Medical Officer of Health’s Order was amended with new requirements, including:

  • all out-of-province workers in the fishing and offshore industry must self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the province. Workers may self-isolate on their vessel; and
  • all temporary foreign workers must self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the province.

Ontario

The government announced the launch of a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee. According to a government press release, the Committee will “focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over” and will consult with a variety of stakeholders, “including business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.”

The government also announced that it is partnering with SPARK Ontario, a volunteer hub, to help seniors and other vulnerable persons to stay healthy and connected during the COVID-19 outbreak. The hub will allow volunteer organizations to post opportunities and will allow volunteers to see opportunities available in their local communities.

Prince Edward Island

As part of the Canada Agriculture Partnership, the government announced a new $750,000 COVID-19 Strategic Fund to assist commodities and small processors in the agricultural sector. Initiatives eligible for funding could include altering a physical workplace to accommodate physical distancing, doing more business on-line, or adjusting quickly to changing markets.

Quebec

Premier Legault announced an expansion of the wage and bonus payments for health care workers in the public sector to include health care workers in long term care homes (CHSLD) and private seniors’ residences. This will be retroactive to March 13, 2020. Eligible beneficiary attendants may receive a wage increase of $4/hour, eligible nurses (including auxiliary nurses) may receive a salary increase of 8%, and other eligible health care workers may receive a 4% salary increase.

Saskatchewan

The government announced that small businesses will receive additional provincial support to help deal with current COVID-19 challenges through the new Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP).

The SSBEP will provide a one-time grant for small and medium-sized enterprises directly affected by government public health orders related to COVID-19. Grants will be paid based on 15% of a business’ monthly sales revenue, to a maximum of $5,000.

To be eligible for the SSBEP, a business must:

  • have been fully operational on February 29, 2020;
  • have ceased or curtailed operations as a result of the COVID-19 public health order;
  • have less than 500 employees; and
  • commit to reopen business operations following the cancellation of the COVID-19 public health order.

Applications for the SSBEP, and further details, are expected on April 13, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Northwest Territories, the government created a Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce of officers tasked with enforcing public health orders and investigating non-compliance. Officers will be supported by the RCMP and local bylaw officers.  Penalties for a first contravention of any orders from the Chief Public Health Officer or requirements under the Public Health Act or its regulations can be fines of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months.

There were no major government updates from the Yukon or Nunavut, as of 5:00 p.m. EDT on April 9, 2020.

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