News & Media

April 23rd Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

April 21, 2020

RECENT NEWS: James Barry Responds to Decision of Provincial Government to Deem Construction as Essential

Read the letter here: IBEW Response to Ontario Govt Re: Construction Workplaces as Essential Workplaces

UPDATE: April 23 4:12:11 PM

Message from Executive Secretary Treasurer, James Barry:

Below is the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • The Federal Government has unveiled a $9 Billion group of programs to help post secondary students facing bleak prospects finding summer work to support themselves and finance their education next year.
  • At the centre of the plan is the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit which will provide a payment of $1,250 a month from May through August. For students with disabilities or taking care of another person, the grant will be increased to $1,750.  People receiving grants under this program will be able to earn an additional $1,000. Students currently registered in post secondary programs planning to continue with their education in the fall, plus people planning to enroll in college and universities in September will be eligible, as will people who complete their education as of December 2019.
  • In addition, the Federal Government will provide an additional $291 Million in grants and fellowships to support researchers as well as doubling the money for grants for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. Of that amount, $75.2 Million will be earmarked for indigenous students.
  • Students who are willing to volunteer in sectors of the economy where help is needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for between $1,000 and $5,000 from the newly created Canadian Students Services Grant. The type of work that could qualify under this program would be in contact tracing to identify people who have been in contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. And with students willing to work in the agriculture sectors, where farmers are having difficulty getting temporary foreign works who traditionally are employed in the summer.
  • In all, Ottawa plans to create an additional 76,000 student summer jobs.  The program was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and his Government’s response to it. Trudeau said the Government decided to create a variety or programs to assist different segments of the economy rather than a universal benefit that everyone would receive, so that help could be targeted to people who need it, rather than include people who don’t.
  • The Prime Minister also said he would announce increased assistance for seniors in the near future.


  • Today, the provincial government gave a status update in their ongoing plan to combat COVID-19 in long-term care (LTC).  In order to battle the ongoing crisis the province formally requested military assistance from the federal government. Federal resources could include personnel and other support from the Canadian Forces, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada deployed to five priority long-term care homes.  The Premier said that the personnel will be deployed across 5 LTC homes to help the staff care for patients.
  • Additional ongoing measures for long-term care homes include:
    • Ramping up testing, screening and surveillance;
    • Deploying specialized SWAT teams of health officials;
    • Recruiting additional frontline staff; and
    • Increasing personal protective equipment
  • The Premier described the situation in LTC homes as the fight of our lives, and noted that what we are seeing is a “tale of two worlds” when we look at what is happening in the community vs. LTC.
  • The Premier also spoke about measures going to Cabinet to open the economy. He repeatedly noted that re-opening the economy would be done “slowly” or “turned on by a trickle” and that it would be “a long drawn out process.”

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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