News & Media

April 29th Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

April 29, 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 29 4:38:48 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 House of Commons is meeting with a reduced number of MPs today to pass legislation enacting $9 Billion in support for post-secondary students whose lives, studies and summer jobs have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau one week ago. It will provide students either in the middle of their post secondary education, or with plans to begin in September,  $1,250 a month between May and August.  Student who have a disability or a dependent will receive $1,750 a month. The Government will also work to create 76,000 summer jobs, set aside $291 Million for indigenous students, double the money for research grants and fellowships and provide grants of between $1,000 to $5,000 for students  working to contain COVID-19.
  • The opposition parties were shown the legislation on the weekend. The Conservatives want it amended to have more incentives to work and the New Democrats want the monthly payment increased to the same level as people who qualify for the Canadian Emergency Revenue Benefit, $2,000 a month. Negotiations were ongoing as the session began. Ultimately legislation that has the support of at least one of the Opposition Parties will be passed later today.
  • At his briefing today, Prime Minister Trudeau said the Government is monitoring the situation in meat packing plants where workers have been hard hit by COVID-19.  He said the imperative is to protect both the health of workers and the food supply.
  • He said talks are underway with the Canadian Football League on it’s request for $150 Million in support. Because of the pandemic the league has placed its schedule on hold.
  • The Prime Minister also announced that Canadian Forces Snowbirds will soon take to the skies over Canadian cities to salute Canadians that are working on the frontlines to stop the spread of COVID-19.


  • Today the government expanded the list of essential workers eligible to receive free emergency child care during the COVID-19 crisis.  Those added are people that work in the food supply chain, retirement homes, grocery stores, pharmacies, and certain federal employees (including military).
  • The Premier again eluded to his desire to see the economy re-opened.  However, he said that Ontario will proceed “cautiously”, he added that the government will have some good news in a little while.  He remarked that the government likes the trends that they have seen, as it leads us to be closer to opening up.  He said “I cannot give you dates right now, but I can give you hope”.
  • On speculation that Ontario might revise its return to schools timeline in the wake of the Quebec government’s quicker movement, the Premier stressed that “we don’t want to put our kids at risk” emphasizing that Ontario would stick to its timeline and “make that decision by the end of the month” (end of May).
  • The Premier acknowledged that the top priority is improving the situation in long-term care and increasing the access to testing.  He also urged all residents of Quebec and Manitoba to not cross the border into Ontario if their provinces open up before we do.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


More News