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Bulletin | Covid-19

Daily Workplace Wrap-up on COVID-19 for July 20, 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 6 minute read
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Labour, Employment & Human Rights Bulletin

Below are the key government announcements made on July 20, 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

Further to the government's earlier announcement on July 17, 2020 regarding proposed changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the "CEWS"), the government introduced Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures. According to the government press release, the changes proposed in Bill C-20 would:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020;
  • Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues;
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis;
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules;
  • Address technical issues with the CEWS identified by stakeholders, including by providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity's business assets; and
  • Make the proposed amendments to the CEWS previously introduced in Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures.

Subject to the legislation being passed, the government intends to provide a one-time payment of up to $600 to holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and proposes to extend it to include persons with disabilities who as of July 1, 2020 are beneficiaries of Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, Quebec Pension Plan disability, or one of the disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Further, Part 3 of Bill C-20 would enact the Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19), which would automatically suspend time limits relating to civil litigation and allow federal ministers to make orders to suspend other time limits in some federal legislation and regulations.  More specifically:

Regarding civil litigation, this proposed legislation would automatically suspend time limits established under federal legislation for starting a legal proceeding or doing something in a legal proceeding. This suspension would be valid for a maximum of 6 months, retroactive to March 13, 2020 and ending on September 13, 2020, or on an earlier date fixed by order of the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

Regarding regulatory matters, the proposed legislation would allow federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend other time limits identified in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible, where failure to meet those time limits could have a significant impact on individuals, businesses, and the government. Orders made under this provision could be retroactive to March 13, 2020 and valid for a maximum of 6 months, but would not have effect beyond December 31, 2020. Such orders could not be made after September 30, 2020.

Alberta

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 20, 2020.

British Columbia

Employers who need to extend temporary layoffs due to COVID-19 beyond 24 weeks can apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch's new online application. Employers will need support from at least 50% of their employees before applying. These variance applications are due by August 25, 2020.

Manitoba

The federal and Manitoba government announced a new cost-shared program to support projects that will help agricultural processors mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The program will provide financial assistance to agri-processors, food distributors and agri-food industry organizations for:

  • Personal protective equipment, and sanitation supplies; and
  • Business continuity practices, training, and resources to support COVID-19 mitigation.

In September 2020, financial assistance will also be available for materials, supplies and equipment rentals needed to adapt production processes to meet social distancing and other public health precautions.

Eligible costs must be incurred between April 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021, and must be directly related to the execution of a project. Projects must be completed on or before January 31, 2021. The costs will be split equally between the governments and the applicant up to a maximum of $25,000. Further information about the program, including the funding application, is available here.

New Brunswick

Businesses offering seating for eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment were reminded that, under section 2 of the state of emergency mandatory order, they must maintain a record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend. This mandatory requirement also extends to anyone who hosts, organizes or permits gatherings larger than 50 people. The government also released templates to assist with compliance.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development announced that the reopening date for K-12 schools for principals, teachers and staff has been changed to September 2, 2020 from September 8, 2020 to allow for orientation and preparation time related to COVID-19 protocols for the new school year. Schools will reopen to students on September 9, 2020 as previously scheduled.

Nova Scotia

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 20, 2020.

Ontario

The government announced that more regions across the province will be entering Stage 3 of the reopening, effective July 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m E.D.T.   The seven regions moving into Stage 3 are:

  • Durham Region Health Department;
  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
  • Halton Region Health Department;
  • Hamilton Public Health Services;
  • Lambton Health Unit;
  • Niagara Region Public Health Department; and
  • York Region Public Health Services (which includes Markham and Thornhill).

The following regions will remain in Stage 2 until local trends of key public health indicators demonstrate readiness to move into Stage 3:

  • Peel Public Health (which includes Mississauga);
  • Toronto Public Health; and
  • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

More information on the restrictions that remain in place during Stage 3 is available here.  The regulation implementing the above announcement was not yet available as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 20, 2020.

Prince Edward Island

The State of Public Health Emergency is extended for another 30 days until August 15, 2020.

Quebec

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 20, 2020.

Saskatchewan

There were no major government updates as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 20, 2020.

Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon

In Nunavut, the government announced that it will receive up to $18.9 million in funding through the "Safe Restart Agreement". The funding will be allocated as follows:

  • $12.1 million as a cash transfer;
  • $5.7 million for testing and PPE; and
  • $1.1 million as sick leave benefits to be administered through a federal program.

In addition, the government launched ShopNunavut.ca, a platform aimed at helping the territory's small businesses and tourism community by highlighting local products and services.

There were no major government updates from the Northwest Territories and the Yukon as of 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 20, 2020.

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