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: May 11
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 will provide bridge financing loans to mid-size and large Canadian companies who need the help to keep operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The plan was initially announced in Toronto by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains as the markets were opening. It was expanded upon by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Details of the plan include:
- Mid sized companies are defined as ones who have annual revenues of up to $300 Million. They will be able to access loans of up to $60 Million either through the Business Development Bank or the Export Development Bank. Under certain conditions loan guarantees of up to $80 Million could be available.
- Companies larger than that will be able to access Bridge Financing through a new federal program called the Large Enterprises Emergency Funding Facility, or LEEFF.
- The program will provide repayable loans on what was described as a “commercial basis”. The cost of the program depends on the take up, but since the loans must be repaid Finance Minister Morneau said the major cost will be the administrative expenses of the programs.
- All sectors of the economy will be eligible. The Energy, Airlines and Hospitality sector have been particularly hard hit and have been asking for help. Morneau and Bains said companies in all of those sectors will be eligible for these loans.
- Companies receiving this bridge funding will have to use the money to support workers, continue to pay pensions, pay rent maintain supply chains and other costs of doing business. It cannot be used for executive bonuses or share buy backs. Companies will have to produce ongoing plans for dealing with the environment and climate change.
- Today the Premier said “The re-opening of more businesses and provincial parks is a clear sign that we are making progress in our battle against COVID-19,”. He further said that “We are getting more people back to work when safe to do so and laying the groundwork for a full economic recovery. At the same time, we are moving carefully and cautiously to ensure we don’t put people at risk and remain ready to respond to any potential outbreaks or surges in cases.”
- Starting today, more people will be returning to work across the province as the Ontario government allows retail stores with a street entrance to offer curbside pickup and delivery. Over the weekend, garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores began offering in-store purchasing. All retailers should follow available safety guidelines in order to protect staff, consumers and the general public during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ministry of Health has released a Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces. Business owners should use these guidelines to develop reopening plans that work for their business and protect workers, customers and the general public as the province prepares for the gradual reopening of the economy.
- In addition, provincial parks and conservation reserves will begin opening today with limited access. To start, recreational activities will be restricted to walking, hiking, biking and bird watching. People will be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
- Easing restrictions on retail stores is aligned with the first phase of the government’s framework, which allows for businesses that can operate safely to do so. The framework also includes guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces, and sets out the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts are using to advise the government on adjusting or loosening public health measures.
- Both the Premier and the Minister of Finance were questioned today about the recent report from the Financial Accountability Officer stating that the provincial deficit will double from the initial projections back in March. The Minister of Finance reiterated that when the pandemic started the government ensured that a historic amount of prudence was used when in the economic statement and that he anticipates releasing an economic update late in the summer.
- The Premier was also questioned about extending the state of emergency in Ontario to June 2nd. In his response, he advised that there needs to be consistency for at least a two-week period in COVID-19 cases declining and is confident that the Province is moving the in the right direction.
- The Premier also advised that the government will have an announcement for childcare and students returning to school next week.
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario