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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for May 14, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 7 minute read
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on May 14, 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 Prime Minister announced up to $469.4-million in new measures to support certain fish harvesters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government also announced the launch of a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund, backed by Farm Credit Canada. The fund is to support a wide range of enterprises in the agribusiness and agri-food sector, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging, and distribution.

Alberta

The Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that businesses reopening under the provincial Relaunch Strategy must complete a plan detailing how the business intends to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among staff and customers. The plan must be in the form developed by the government and must be posted at the business location within 7 days of the business reopening.

The government issued Ministerial Order No. 2020-27, which provides clarification on the maximum length of layoffs permitted under the Employment Standards Code as a result of COVID-19. The new order clarifies that a layoff can be for up to 120 days:

  • where the layoff notice is given to the employee on or after March 17, 2020; or
  • if it was a result of COVID-19 and commenced prior to March 17, 2020

British Columbia

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 14, 2020.

Manitoba

The government introduced the Additional Enforcement Personnel Regulation, which empowers certain government officials to enforce public health emergency orders and emergency health hazard orders.  These include safety and health officers under The Workplace Safety and Health Act, inspectors under the Liquor Gaming and Cannabis Control Act, public health officers under The Public Health Act, park patrol officers under The Provincial Parks Act, and public health officers within the Manitoba Agriculture and Resources Development department. 

The government also announced impending temporary orders extending tax deadlines, exempting operators from certain childcare licensing requirements, suspending municipal by-elections, suspending meeting provisions for condominiums, co-operatives, corporations, and credit unions, suspending in-person commission and witnessing provisions, and suspending fees for marriage licenses and commissioners under certain circumstances. 

New Brunswick

The government announced the extension of the provincial state of emergency order for another 14 days.

The government also released an online guide for parents regarding the May 19, 2020 re-opening of regulated early learning and child care facilities.

Newfoundland and Labrador

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 14, 2020.

Nova Scotia

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 14, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced the following businesses will be permitted to open, with restrictions, effective Tuesday May 19, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. E.D.T.:

  • "Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot.
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
  • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling; in-person services, in addition to virtual services, delivered by health professionals; and scheduled surgeries, all based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic."

In addition, effective Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. E.D.T., the following seasonal services and activities will be permitted to reopen according to a government press release:

  • "Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal."

The regulation required to permit these operations was not yet published by 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 14, 2020.

The government also:

  • launched a website with a list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment to businesses; and
  • announced $2.25-million in funding for farmers.  According to a government press release, "the funding will be used for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations." 

Prince Edward Island

The government is now accepting applications from employers for its COVID-19 Support for Essential Workers – Earning $3,000/Month or Less program. Under the program, eligible employers will be refunded $1,000 plus an administrative fee for providing a qualifying employee with a one-time $1,000 top-up payment during the program's eligibility period (April 6, 2020 through to July 26, 2020).  The application deadline is August 28, 2020.

Quebec

The government announced the further postponement of reopening plans in Montreal:

  • primary schools will not be reopened until late August/early September 2020 at the earliest; and
  • daycare services will not be reopened until June 1, 2020 at the earliest.

Retail stores may still reopen on May 25, 2020; however, the government confirmed that the current state of the healthcare system may result in further postponement.

The government announced that it will provide financial assistance to the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) and its transit authorities to provide masks for use on public transit.

Finally, the government has asked that employers not require any employees get tested for COVID-19 unless they have been in contact with a symptomatic person.

Saskatchewan

The government announced golf courses and drive-in theatres will be able to begin operation May 15, 2020, subject to restrictions and the guidance in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.

Additionally, owners and employees of outfitting operations are now permitted to travel to outfitting camps, including those in the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District (NSAD), to prepare for the season and secure the premises.  These operators must comply with the requirements of the public health order, including the travel restrictions within the NSAD. The Re-Open Saskatchewan plan was amended to add guidelines for outfitting operations (page 48).

Phase 2 of Re-Open Saskatchewan, beginning May 19, 2020, will permit the following operations:

  • retail businesses;
  • shopping malls;
  • select personal services (hairstylist/barber, registered massage therapist, acupuncturist and acupressurist); and
  • public markets and farmers markets.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In the Northwest Territories, notwithstanding that schools are permitted to reopen under the Territory's reopening plan, the Education, Culture and Employment Minister and education stakeholders (including the Territory's teachers' union) agreed to keep schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

The government also announced that it is developing an inventory of local mask producers and sellers.

In the Yukon, the government introduced a new Leave (COVID-19) Regulation, under which an employee can take a 14-day unpaid leave related to COVID-19 if:

  • the employee is subject to a health protection measure; or
  • the employee is providing care for their child or another eligible person while the child or eligible person is subject to a health protection measure.

The leave entitlement is retroactive to March 27, 2020, and expires June 23, 2020. In conjunction with this new leave, the government announced a complementary Paid Sick Leave Rebate Program. More information is available online.

The government also extended the statutory timelines prescribed by the Business Corporations Act, the Cooperative Associations Act, the Partnership and Business Names Act and the Societies Act have been. The government announced that societies, business corporations and cooperatives can now hold meetings through electronic and teleconferencing technology, retroactive to March 17, 2020.

There were no major government updates in Nunavut as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 14, 2020.

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