News & Media

May 14th Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

May 14, 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: May 14

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 PM announced today that the federal government is creating a $470 Million fund to help people in the fishery survive the COVID-19 pandemic. People who have suffered at least a 25 per cent drop in income will be able to have up to 75 per cent of those losses covered, up to $10,000. Boat owners who fish will also be eligible for up to $10,000 in support.  The Government is also making $100 Million available through the Farm Credit Corporation to support fish processors and food processors.
  • He also said changes will be made to Employment Insurance. People applying for EI will be able to apply based on last year’s earnings rather than based on the depleted earnings from this year.
  • Trudeau also announced additional support Indigenous and Metis communities, including $10 Million for emergency shelters for Indigenous and Metis women at risk.
  • He also announce that some facilities in some national parks will be open as of June 1. Social distancing will have to be observed when parks are opened.
  • When asked, Trudeau said it was too early how summer vacation plans will be affected by COVID-19. But the Prime Minister did say:

“This summer will not be a summer like others in the past.”


  • Ontario announced additional workplace openings as part of the first stage of the government’s reopening framework, provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve.
    • As of Saturday, May 16:
      • Golf courses;
      • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches for recreational use;
      • Private parks and campgrounds to enable seasonal preparation and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract;
      • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
    • As of Tuesday, May 19:
      • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction;
      • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances;
      • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization;
      • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming, training, and veterinary;
      • Indoor and outdoor household services, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance;
      • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries, as well as resuming professional services such as Children’s Treatment Centres.
  • Ontario also launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers (Workplace PPE Supplier Directory) on top of businesses line for questions on reopening (1-888-444-3659).
  • The Premier reiterated that the government will provide an update on school closures and child care early next week.
  • The Premier repeatedly stressed that phase one opening will depend on “businesses remaining vigilant” otherwise the province would need to roll back the measures announced today. The Premier also made specific praise of the construction sector, noting “They’ve done an incredible job and hopefully they can set the gold standard across the country.”
  • The Finance Minister stated, “We are taking a cautious, practical and reasonable approach to restarting the economy, while maintaining the health and safety of the people of Ontario as our top priority.”
  • The Labour Minister stated: “We will leave no stone unturned in our mission to keep workers in this province safe … businesses must protect the health and safety of workers … our ministry has released practical safety guidelines, doubled our capacity to help people by phone and hired more inspectors. We want to ensure everyone is safe at work.”
  • The Health Minister tweeted that Ontario has “nearly completed testing all long-term care home staff and residents” and that Ontario is now expanding testing to “retirement homes” and “shelters and group homes.” The Minister also noted that Ontario has now become “a leader in Canada in terms of daily per capita testing.”

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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