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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for May 4, 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 4, 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

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 4, 2020.

Alberta

The Chief Medical Officer of Health issued CMOH Order 16-2020(PDF) to allow for the resumption of non-essential health services in Alberta.  Effective May 4, 2020, non-essential health services including non-emergency dental care, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, social workers, occupational therapists, and dieticians, among others, may provide services, subject to the following:

  • each regulatory college established under the Health Professions Act must publish COVID-19 guidelines that are substantially equivalent to the Workplace Guidance For Community Health Care Settings and provide them to the Chief Medical Officer of Health;
  • until the college guidelines are established, service providers must comply with the Workplace Guidance For Community Health Care Settings, including its requirements on:
    • communication related to COVID-19 for staff and volunteers;
    • COVID-19 specific workplace considerations;
    • staff and patient screening;
    • symptomatic staff and volunteers;
    • staff, volunteers or clients/patients diagnosed with COVID-19; and
    • preventative measures; and
  • the Chief Medical Officer of Health may amend the COVID-19 guidelines issued by a college if it is determined that they are insufficient to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The government also published Workplace Guidance For Business Owners(PDF) which provides information to employers regarding:

  • requirements relating to sick staff and volunteers;
  • required and recommended preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19; and
  • information and recommendations for hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting in the workplace.

British Columbia

The government amended BC's Employment Standards Act Regulation to allow for 16 weeks of temporary layoff during a 20 week period before employment is deemed to be terminated under the Act.  Prior to this amendment, the Act deemed employment to be terminated after 13 weeks of layoff during any 20 week period.

The government announced that the amendment is intended to align with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit ("CERB"), and eliminate the possibility that employees will be deemed to be terminated when otherwise eligible for CERB.

Manitoba

The government announced that Manitobans can now access their COVID-19 test results through a secure online portal. 

To raise awareness about Canadian Mental Health Week, the government also highlighted its free internet-based therapy program, AbilitiCBT, which provides learning modules and access to live 24-hour crisis counsellors.  The program is available in both English and French and can be accessed here

New Brunswick

The government launched its virtual job matching platform, JobMatchNB. The platform will connect individuals in New Brunswick with job opportunities throughout the province. Employers may visit the JobMatchNB platform here to add available jobs.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Chief Medical Officer of Health's previously-announced order(PDF) restricting entry into Newfoundland and Labrador became effective May 4, 2020 (the "Travel Ban"). Under the Travel Ban, the only individuals permitted to enter the province are:

  • residents of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • asymptomatic workers and individuals who are subject to the Updated Exemption Order(PDF); and
  • individuals who have been permitted entry to the province in extenuating circumstances, as approved in advance by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The government published guidance with respect to the Travel Ban, including information related to who is considered a "resident" of the province and what documentation is required to demonstrate residency.

Nova Scotia

The government published (PDF) its previously-announced order lifting certain restrictions related to provincial parks and trails.

Ontario

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 4, 2020.

Prince Edward Island

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 4, 2020.

Quebec

Premier Legault announced that the reopening of businesses and daycares in the Montreal region has been postponed to May 19, 2020 given the current level of outbreak and capacity of the healthcare system. The exceptions to the announcement were businesses in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are still permitted to operate as of May 11, 2020.

The reopening plans for other regions of Quebec are expected to proceed as previously announced.

For the restaurant, cultural and accommodations sectors, the government confirmed that reopening (other than for take-out or delivery food) is not probable in the near future

Saskatchewan

The Chief Medical Health Officer issued a new public health order(PDF), requiring the following measures:

  • public and private gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, except in the following circumstances where 2-metre distancing can be maintained:
    • people are distributed into multiple rooms or buildings, and workplaces; and
    • the gathering is to provide a critical public service or an allowable business service;
  • in the event that a critical public service or allowable business service is unable to maintain 2-metre distancing, other measures such as self-monitoring of personal health or supervision by Infection Prevention and Control Officers or Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace shall be applied; and
  • businesses that are not a critical public service or an allowable business(PDF) must remain closed.

The government amended the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment ("SSBEP") to include a seasonal SSBEP(PDF), which provides a one-time grant for seasonal small businesses directly affected by government public health orders related to COVID-19. Grants will be paid based on 15% of a business's average sales revenues for the operating months in the previous year, to a maximum of $5,000. The updated application form can be viewed here.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In Nunavut, the government lifted measures and restrictions specific to the municipality of Pond Inlet.

In the Yukon, the government announced it is waiving commercial aviation fees for the following businesses:

  • air carriers;
  • commercial aircraft operators (fixed and rotary wing);
  • aircraft maintenance operators; and
  • aviation-related concessionaires (e.g. food services, vehicle rentals, gift shops, and aircraft fuelling services).

Additional information is available online.

There were no major government updates in the Northwest Territories as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 4, 2020.

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