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July 31st Update from the Federal and Provincial Governments

July 31, 2020

Please see below the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal

  • A tracing app called COVID Alert that works on smart phones has been successfully tested in Ontario and is now available for download across Canada.  People who download the app will receive a notification if they have been in close contact with a person who had tested positive for COVID-19, and instructed to seek medical assistance.  At the moment only people in Ontario will be able to use the app,  but work is ongoing to introduce the program to Atlantic Canada and then across the country.
  • The Federal Government will commit $59 Million to help temporary foreign workers in Canada to assist the agriculture industry in dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be directed towards inspections, emergency relief and improved living conditions. The workers, who mostly come from Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, help plant and then harvest fruits and vegetables in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia and work in fish processing plants in Atlantic Canada.
  • The Prime Minister also announced that the Government Commercial Rent Assistance Plan will be extended until the end of August. The plan can cover up to 75 per cent of a business’ rent, if a landlord applies to the Government for assistance and then agrees to help subsidize its tenant’s relief. The plan was to have ended now.
  • Trudeau also announced that people still receiving the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit when it terminates at the end of the summer will be enrolled in a new, “twenty-five century” unemployment insurance system. The CERB has been the Government’s most popular assistance program, with more than eight million people accessing its $2,000 a month payment for people who have lost all or most of their income because of COVID. There have been complaints that the generosity of the CERB payment has been a deterrent to people returning to work as the economy starts to open up.
  • And finally, the Canada – U.S. Border, which has been closed to all but essential traffic and travel since April, will remained closed at least until the end of August.

Provincial

  • Today, joined by Treasury Board President, Peter Bethlenfalvy,  Premier Ford echoed the Prime Minister’s announcement of the privacy first, made in Ontario, COVID Alert app.  Working with the privacy commissioner the app was developed by Shopify and the Ontario digital service. The province encourages everyone to download the app for people to be able to monitor their exposure to COVID-19.
  • The app is free and available to download through Apple and Google Play app stores
  • Bluetooth technology is used to detect when users are near each other and if a user who tested positive for COVID-19 a notification will be sent out when within 10 meters of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • COVID Alert does not collect personal information or health data and does not know or track location, name or address.
  • Ontario is the first province in the country to introduce the COVID Alert app and all are encouraged to download in order to assist with minimizing the spread of COVID-19
  • Upon receiving an alert, individual should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested.
  • Please view and download This Poster and Fact Sheet which can be used to help encourage Ontarians to download and use the COVID Alert app.
  • When asked about job sites or professions where the use of phones is prohibited, the Premier referenced LIUNA as an organization that has developed their own app to maintain employee health and safety and have been working with the federal government.
  • Minister Bethlenfalvy was asked about potential issues with downloading the app, and he reminded reporters that 90% of Ontarians have smartphones that will allow for the app to be properly downloaded.
  • The Premier encouraged everyone to remain vigilant over the long weekend by socially distancing and practicing proper hygiene, especially with almost all of the province in Stage 3.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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