Today’s vital updates:
- In his daily address, the Prime Minister indicated that the economy would likely be re-opened in a staggered fashion and not all at once, with the current situation of near-total closure likely to last for weeks longer. A complete return to pre-pandemic conditions would not be possible until a vaccine is researched and has been deployed. Vaccination is itself likely to be staggered, and while a vaccine may be available for front-line healthcare workers and the most vulnerable in a few months, full vaccination of the population is likely to take the 12-18-month timeframe that has been widely discussed. Until then, the GNCC urges everyone to continue following social distancing guidelines and to obey the provincial directives on business closures.
- The Government of Canada has made changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program. No new applications are being allowed at this time; applications closed on February 28. However, the government is discussing whether to re-open applications for organizations providing essential services. The changes include:
- an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
- an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
- allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
- allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis
- The Government of Ontario is sitting today in order to extend the provincial state of emergency until May 12. The government had previously extended the emergency measures until April 23rd, but the longer extension necessitated a meeting of the legislature. The emergency measures include the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and the prohibition of price gouging.
- The Government of Ontario has lifted the suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Construction Act and will allow the release of holdback payments to contractors and subcontractors, beginning April 16th. Read the Attorney General’s announcement here (PDF link).
- Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced a $50 million program to help farmers and food processors in their response to the mandatory 14-day quarantine required for all temporary foreign workers arriving from abroad. The funds are intended to help employers cover costs such as accommodations during the waiting period. In addition, the federal government is offering a $1,500 subsidy to employers for each temporary foreign worker to further help cover these costs.
It is important that everyone practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remain at home unless absolutely necessary. Minimize contact with other people. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. Maintain a 2-meter distance from others if you are required to be out in public. If you have recently traveled outside the country, self-isolate for 14 days. This means that you must not leave your home under any circumstances. Have supplies delivered and left at your door.
Previous updates can be accessed at https://gncc.ca/covid-19/covid-19-gncc-news/.
Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.