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May 3rd Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

May 3, 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


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.


  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today, how both the National and Provincial stockpiles of equipment and supplies to combat a pandemic like COVID-19 will be one of the “Lessons Learned” for Governments when the current crisis eases.
  • He made the comment amid reports that the federal stockpile was inadequately stocked when the current crisis began in mid-March. Trudeau said the Federal stockpile is meant to backstock stockpiles in each of the provinces, but that the speed with which the virus spread and the severity of the cases caught everyone by surprise and had them scrambling for personal protective equipment and other supplies for front line workers trying to combat the disease.
  • He said aggressive buying of supplies off shore and production now coming from domestic manufactures is expected to now be adequate.
  • At a separate briefing Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said it was impossible to give an accurate account of the size of the stockpile, since it fluctuates daily with supplies arriving and being sent out. She said the majority of equipment goes to the provinces.
  • Most of the Prime Minister’s briefing did not deal with COVID-19,  but with the government ban today on 1,500 types of military grade assault weapons.  The ban is immediate, and will become fully effective in two years. It will initially be done by regulation, but Parliament will have to pass legislation to fund a buy back program in order to acquire the guns of people who already possess them.
  • As well today, the Government announced the appointment of Tiff Macklin to be the next Governor of the Bank of Canada. He will succeed current Governor Stephen Poloz on June 2nd. In appointing Macklin, the Government passed on the chance to appoint the first woman as Governor of the Bank. Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins was a leading contender for the job. Similarly when Macklin was Senior Deputy Governor in 2013 he was bypassed for the top job which went to Poloz instead.



  • Today the province announced that, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, they are ready to allow some businesses (a small list) to open as of Monday May 4th.
    • Lawn Care and Landscaping
    • Garden Centres and Nurseries (curbside pick-up& Delivery)
    • Marinas and Golf Courses are allowed to start getting ready for the season, but not open yet.
    • No-touch car washes
    • Car Dealerships (by appointment only)
    • Increasing the types of construction allowed to open.
      • Municipal and School projects
      • Grading
      • Telecommunications
      • Shipping and Logistics
      • Site preparation
  • The Premier was asked about the need for adopting mobile phone technology for contact tracing.  Minister Elliott noted that while the contact tracing has been done manually to date, the government is looking to use technology to increase the volume of contact tracing the province is doing.
  • The Premier was also asked about relief for businesses that have landlords that are not participating in the government rent relief program.  Minister Phillips said that the program is still being rolled out, and will be available for application next week, but did not commit to any sort of additional relief for tenants.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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