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.
- Today, the Prime Minister announced that commercial property owners are now able to apply for the federal rent assistance program online at www.cmhc.ca. Those with 10 tenants can apply today, except in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, who will be able to apply tomorrow. Those with more than 10 tenants will be able to apply later this week.
- The government also announced that they will be introducing a phone line to help businesses during this uncertain time. The initiative, being done in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, will give businesses the assistance of an accountant or financial advisor. Additionally, the government announced that they are pushing back the deadline for tax return declarations, to September 1, 2020.
- The Prime Minister also confirmed that his government is working with the provinces to give workers 10 days of paid sick leave per year.
- Today the Premier along with Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction thanked the many volunteers that have stepped up to deliver food, run errands and connect with seniors and people with disabilities during COVID-19.
- On April 9, the government announced it was investing $100,000 in its partnership with SPARK Ontario to support the province’s first bilingual volunteer hub connecting volunteers with community organizations that support vulnerable Ontarians. To date, the response has been tremendous:
- Over 54,000 users have visited the SPARK Ontario website to learn how they can volunteer;
- Over 3,500 civic-minded Ontarians have signed up on the site to volunteer, and over 3,100 have contacted community organizations regarding a volunteer opportunity; and
- 141 community organizations have registered for volunteer matching and more than 100 COVID-19-related volunteer opportunities have been posted online.
- The government has partnered with the Older Adults Centres Association of Ontario to help implement the Seniors Centres Without Walls model of programming, where isolated seniors can participate in group programs over the phone.
- When asked by the media today about the situation this past weekend regarding the large gatherings at Trinity Bellwoods, the Premier encouraged all people that were in attendance to go get tested for COVID-19. He further encouraged anyone that attended places with large crowds to go get tested. When the Premier was asked about rolling back opening the economy because of the situation at Trinity Bellwoods he confirmed that he would not punish the entire province and encouraged people to do better.
- The Premier confirmed that the government has begun the first steps of a robust testing program in the community, reiterating that they have initiated testing of more hospital workers, inmates and correctional service workers and will be moving to launch the next steps of the testing program going into hot spots and large employers.
- When the Premier was asked about the moratorium about commercial rent he reiterated that it is important for the landlords to sign up for the relief packages that the Provincial and Federal government will be rolling out this week (you can apply here). He confirmed that he is focused on protecting the tenant and their interests.
- Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliot spoke today about the increase of positive COVID-19 cases over the last week. Minister Elliott advised that these results would be from people gathering over the Mother’s Day weekend and will be closely watching the results as things move forward and the economy starts reopening.
- The Premier was questioned today about allowing curbside pick-up and delivery of alcohol and cannabis and if these measures would continue post-pandemic. Both the Premier and Minister Sarkaria confirmed that the government is looking at new ways of doing business and will use regulations to modernize the way business can provide service not only with the government but with customers.
- When asked about increasing the number of people that are allowed to gather together, the Minister of Health advised that the Chief Medical Officer is not ready to increase that number at this time as positive cases have increased over the last few weeks. They continue to monitor the situation closely.
- Today the government further announced that the Ministry of Long-Term Care has issued Mandatory Management Orders appointing local hospitals to temporarily manage two long-term care homes for 90 days:
- Southlake Regional Health Centre will temporarily manage River Glen Haven Nursing Home in Sutton and Humber River Hospital will temporarily manage Downsview Long Term Care in North York.
- If required, the government advised that these orders may be extended beyond the 90 days, if necessary
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario