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April 24th Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

April 24, 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 24

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.


  • Small businesses with monthly rent of $50,000 or less will be able to have three-quarters of that rent covered under a federal – provincial  program announced in Ottawa today by the Prime Minister.
  • The rent relief depends on their landlords applying for assistance under The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program. That program will require landlords to reduce rents by 75 per cent and agree not to evict any tenants during April, May and June when the program is in effect. The federal government and the provinces will cover 50 per cent of the rent.  Within that per cent, the split will be Ottawa paying three-quarters of the amount and the provinces paying one quarter.
  • Small businesses who will have difficulty paying the remaining 25 per cent of their rent not covered by the program can apply for a loan of up to $40,000 from the Canada Emergency Business Loan program. Under certain circumstances $10,000 of the loan can be forgiven.
  • The Prime Minister said he will be having his weekly telephone call with the Premiers later on Friday. Among the topics will be how to lift current restrictions requiring social distancing and self isolation so the economy can be restarted. Trudeau said timing of the lifting of restrictions will vary in different provinces, depending on local conditions.
  • Yesterday, Saskatchewan announced it will begin re-opening steps on May 4th.


  • Today, the province announced that they will be releasing their action plan to re-open the economy early next week.  The plan will be a joint announcement by the Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance.  The Premier noted that the plan, which is currently being worked on, will be rolled out in coordination with the Chief Medical Health Officer.  Toronto also announced that they have formed a task force for economic recovery and rebuild.  Their task force will be chaired by Saad Rafi, a former Deputy Minister of Health and CEO of the Pan Am Games.
  • The Premier also announced that the province is going to be working with the federal government to provide rent relief.  The province is committing $241 million to help Ontario businesses and landlords cover their rent during the COVID-19 shut down.
  • The Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA) will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial properties experiencing potential rent shortfalls because their small business tenants have been heavily impacted .  In order to be eligible for the loan, property owners will be required to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants for April to June by at least 75% and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months.
  • Ontario also announced the five LTC homes that will receive federal military support:
    • Orchard Villa (Pickering)
    • Eatonville (Etobicoke)
    • Altamont Care Community (Scarborough)
    • Hawthorne Place (North York)
    • Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor (Brampton)

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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