Below are the key government announcements made on May 6, 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 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal published a Practice Direction for Electronic Conduct of Mediations and Hearings During the COVID-19 Emergency (PDF) confirming new processes for electronic filings, mediations and hearings as a result of COVID-19.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health issued CMOH Order 17-2020 (PDF), which permits shooting ranges to reopen effective May 6, 2020. Shooting ranges may only operate if:
reservations, retail and rental services are made available by online or telephone transactions, to the extent possible;
food and drink services comply with existing health orders;
measures are implemented to enable attendees to comply with social distancing requirements;
every item rented or loaned is cleaned and disinfected before future use;
it implements practices to minimize the risk of transmission of infection between attendees;
it ensures high levels of sanitation and personal hygiene among staff and attendees; and
it creates procedures for rapid response if a person develops symptoms of illness while working at or attending the facility.
The government announced a 4-phase plan (the "Plan") for economic recovery and transition towards a "new normal."
Premier Horgan announced that the province is currently in "Phase I" of the Plan.
Phase II is expected to take effect during mid-May, which will involve:
- small social gatherings;
- a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
- provincial parks opening for day use;
- opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans; and
- recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
Additional businesses are expected re-open during Phase III, which is anticipated to occur between June and September 2020.
Any businesses that have been ordered to close (such as restaurants, taverns, and personal services establishments) will be required to develop re-opening plans approved by WorkSafeBC.
The government further announced (PDF) a phased approach to reopening elementary and secondary schools.
The government announced increased funding for the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, matching funds raised by participating universities and colleges on a dollar for dollar basis.
The government encouraged employers to participate in a free virtual career fair being hosted by WorkingNB on May 12-13, 2020. Employers may visit the WorkingNB site here for further details and to sign up.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Premier announced the following supports for certain eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19:
- deferral of loan payments under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation's Business Investment Fund has been increased to 6 months;
- the hiring maximums for commercial Research and Development (R&D) projects will be temporarily increased. Specifically, salary support for up to 6 positions may be considered for eligible commercial R&D projects. The positions may include existing employees, new employees or a combination of the two. This temporary policy applies to applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020;
- contribution levels have been temporarily increased for eligible project applications under R&D Commercial and Business Development Support. Eligible costs will now be covered up to 75% (up from 50%) for applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a Special Measures Order (Travel Exemption Order) (PDF). The Order exempts the following individuals from the province's current entry restrictions, provided they make a formal request to the Chief Medical Officer of Health and comply with all other Special Measures and Exemption Orders:
- individuals who have a significant injury, condition or illness and require the support of family members resident in the province;
- individuals who are visiting a family member in the province that is critically or terminally ill;
- individuals who intend to provide care for a family member who is elderly or has a disability;
- individuals who are permanently relocating to the province;
- individuals who are recently unemployed and who will be living with family members;
- individuals who intend to fulfil a short term work contract, education internship or placement;
- individuals who are returning to the province after completion of a school term out of province; and
- individuals who are required to comply with a custody, access or adoption order or agreement.
Effective May 6, 2020, amendments to the following legislation became law:
- the Liquor Control Act and the Liquor Corporation Act were amended to give the board authority to temporarily authorize certain licensees and their employees to sell and deliver alcohol for personal consumption;
- the Temporary Variation of Statutory Deadlines Act was amended to change the expiry of the Act to September 30, 2020;
- the Pharmacy Act, 2012 was amended to allow the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board to issue emergency registrations to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians where there is an immediate need for services due to an actual or potential threat to public safety, health or welfare or where the federal Minister of Health makes a request;
- the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act was amended to:
- allow for the authorization of peace officers to enforce the Chief Medical Officer of Health's orders during a public health emergency, including the authority to detain individuals and to convey individuals to a point of entry in the province;
- clarify the powers of inspectors; and
- allow inspectors to require an individual to stop a motor vehicle.
In addition, the new Temporary Alternate Witnessing of Documents Act became law effective May 6, 2020. The Act temporarily allow lawyers to witness documents identified in the Wills Act, Notaries Public Act, Commissioners for Oaths Act and Registration of Deeds Act, 2009 using audio-visual technology.
There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 6, 2020.
The government announced the extension of all emergency regulations currently in place under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 19, 2020. A list of the regulations can be found here.
The government announced an easing of restrictions on retail stores and essential construction. According to a government press release:
- "On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces (PDF) and occupational health and safety requirements."
- "As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies."
- "Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9."
- "Below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums [will be permitted to] begin and existing above-grade projects to continue."
As 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. the orders required to implement these items were not yet published.
The government also announced the extension of emergency electrical rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020.
Prince Edward Island
The government announced a COVID-19 Agriculture Labour Support Initiative to help workers connect with employment opportunities in the agriculture industry.
The government announced its Covid-19 Mental Health Action Plan (Plan d'Action Covid-19 en santé mentale), including $31-million in funding for mental health.
The government also confirmed the following:
- daycares permitted to reopen as part of the government's reopening plan will be initially limited to 30% capacity; and
- a plan for certain summer events and sporting activities will be announced in the coming weeks.
Finally, the CNESST launched COVID-19 health and safety toolkits for the education sector, as well as daycare services and home childcare providers. The toolkits include a guide of health standards, a daily checklist and a poster on preventive measures.
The Chief Medical Health Officer issued a Public Health Order (PDF) extending the travel restrictions applicable to the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District ("NSAD") to include La Ronge and Stony Rapids. These travel restrictions include, among other things:
- restrictions on all non-critical travel (including those with primary residences) into and out of the NSAD, as well as restrictions all non-critical travel between northern communities;
- northern residents must remain in their local communities and to practice appropriate social distancing. The only exceptions are for critical items like collecting groceries and medical appointments; and
- only travel related to the delivery of essential services is permitted. A complete list of approved travel can be viewed here.
Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon
In the Northwest Territories, the government announced $86,000 in funding for loan payment deferrals for clients of the Northwest Territories Community Futures Development Corporations. In addition, the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment confirmed that territorial income assistance benefits will not be reduced by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
There were no major government updates in Nunavut or the Yukon as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 6, 2020.