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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for May 13, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 5 minute read
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on May 13, 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

The government announced a temporary policy that  a temporary foreign worker already in Canada who has secured a new job will not need to wait until their work permit application has been fully processed before starting that job.  The government expects this will temporarily decrease the wait time from 10 weeks or more to 10 days or less.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced that students and recent graduates will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit ("CESB") on Friday May 15, 2020. Further details on the CESB are available here.

The government also announced that the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund ("RRRF"), aimed at supporting small businesses and communities, is accepting applications. The RRRF is specifically targeted to entities that have been unable to access existing support measures while faced with COVID-19. Businesses interested in receiving support through this initiative are invited to apply through their local regional development agency.

Alberta

The government announced that Stage 1 of its relaunch strategy will commence on May 14, 2020. Except for those businesses located in Calgary and Brooks, the following businesses will be permitted to reopen to the public with restrictions:

  • retail stores;
  • hair styling and barber shops;
  • museums and art galleries;
  • daycares and out-of-school care, with limits on occupancy;
  • day camps, including summer school, with limits on occupancy;
  • restaurants and cafes, up to 50 per cent capacity;
  • post-secondary institutions; and
  • places of worship and funeral services.

All of these businesses must continue to follow public health orders and implement procedures to minimize the risk of infection in accordance with business and sector specific guidelines.

Seperate reopening measures are being implemented for businesses in Calgary and Brooks. The Stage 1 schedule in those cities was announced as follows:

  • May 14, 2020: retail businesses, all vendors at farmers' markets, museums and art galleries, daycares and out-of-school care (with limits on occupancy);
  • May 25, 2020: hairstyling and barbershops and restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars (at 50 per cent capacity); and
  • June 1, 2020: day camps and summer school (with limits on occupancy), and additional flexibility for places of worship and funeral services.

British Columbia

The government extended the provincial State of Emergency until May 26, 2020.

Manitoba

The government announced the launch of a new online marketplace to connect Manitoba businesses with suppliers of non-medical grade personal protective equipment and other materials required for businesses as they reopen. 

New Brunswick

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 13, 2020.

Newfoundland and Labrador

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 13, 2020.

Nova Scotia

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 13, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced a new emergency order that permits the government to intervene in the management of long-term care homes with any cases of COVID-19. According to a government press release, the government may intervene when "a long-term care home may require management assistance if they face challenges like a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an outbreak that has not yet been resolved, significant staffing issues or outstanding requirements from infection prevention and control assessments."

The government also announced that it is working with the education sector to match and redeploy certain education workers to congregate care settings (e.g., hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, women's shelters, and homes serving those with developmental disabilities) to address staffing shotages.  According to a government press release, "starting later this week, subject to a local agreement of the framework, eligible education sector staff who volunteer will be able to register through an online portal and to be matched with congregate settings that are facing staffing shortages. Positions available may include custodial, maintenance, food preparation, children and youth service workers, social workers, and educational assistants."  Further information is available here.

The government also announced $1-million in funding for frontline agencies supporting victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking for the purposes of remote service delivery.

Prince Edward Island

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 13, 2020.

Quebec

Premier Legault indicated that the government will not require individuals to wear face masks on public transit until there is an appropriate supply of masks.        

Premier Legault also confirmed that despite the pandemic the government expects to continue all previously-announced large investment projects .

Saskatchewan

The government announced the extension of the provincial State of Emergency for 2 weeks, effective May 13, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Northwest Territories, the Public Health Emergency and the State of Emergency were both extended until May 26, 2020.

The government published its reopening plan, Emerging Wisely.  The plan has three phases to ease restrictions, with the first phase expected to commence in mid-May 2020. The first phase includes the following measures, subject to certain restrictions:

  • some businesses and organizations would be allowed to reopen (e.g. personal services, museums and art galleries, bottle depots, personal training at gyms and fitness centres);
  • specific types of mass gatherings would be allowed (e.g. farmers' markets, campgrounds, recreational facilities, libraries, golf courses, beaches, boat launches, outdoor fields, and playgrounds); and
  • schools, except colleges, adult learning, and trade schools, would  reopen.

Some measures, including travel restrictions at the border and self-isolation for returning travellers, will remain until the end of the pandemic. The plan's details are available online, and the Worker's Safety and Compensation Commission has published a guidance document for businesses preparing to reopen.

Finally, the government announced that it will provide up to $6.2-million in funding for low-wage workers. Under the Northwest Territories' Wage Top-up Program, businesses will receive funding to increase the wages of their employees earning less than $18 per hour, for a maximum of 16 weeks between April 1 and July 31, 2020. According to the government's announcement, the wage top-up will be considered a taxable benefit for employees. Applications for employers are available online.

There were no major government updates in Nunavut or the Yukon as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 13, 2020.

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