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May 7th Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

May 7, 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.


  • Essential workers in long-term care facilities and other occupations putting their health at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic are to collectively receive a $4 Billion wage top up.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the increase at his daily briefing.  The money for the increases will come from a $3 Billion contribution from the Federal Government and $1 Billion collectively from the provinces and territories. Each province and territory will decide who will receive the additional money and how much the payment will be.
  • Many workers doing the essential jobs are low paid, immigrants from the “marginalised” sectors of societies. Trudeau said the pandemic had forced Canadians to think about how those type of essential workers should be compensated.
  • Prodded by reporters questions, Trudeau joined the discussion started yesterday in the House of Commons over the future of the oil industry in general and the Alberta Oil Sands in particular.
  • Both  Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves Francis Blanchette and Green Party Parliamentary leader Elizabeth May said the oil industry in Canada is “FINISHED.” Blanchette said Ottawa should stop work on the Trans Mountain Pipeline and give the money instead to Alberta to help it transition to new carbon free energy sources.
  • Trudeau said he did not think the energy industry is finished. He said the industry and its workers are an “essential” part of a different energy mix. He said the industry workers are “essential allies” in working towards our “greater, greener goal.”


  • Today, the Premier and Deputy Premier announced that they are putting in place a framework to resume non-COVID related health care, including both cancer and cardiac surgeries.  These elective surgeries were cancelled at the beginning of the outbreak to free up 5,000 acute care beds in preparation of COVID.  There are criteria that hospitals must meet to get approval to move forward with surgeries including:
    • A stable number of COVID-19 cases;
    • A staple supply of PPE;
    • An adequate capacity of inpatient and ICU beds;
    • An adequate capacity of health human resources; and
    • The availability of post-acute care outside the hospital that would be required to support patients after discharge
  • The framework also describes the criteria for prioritizing surgeries:
    • A patient’s condition
    • The type of procedure a patient requires and whether options for non-operative treatments exist
    • The risks of delaying a patient’s surgery
    • The resources required in terms of personal unit beds, and other care requirements needed after an operation
  • The Minister of Long-Term Care announced today that after the pandemic the Ministry will conduct a review of the system. She did not announce specifics, but said that all forms of review are on the table.  The Premier added that he understands the system is broken, and that there needs to be a complete review.  He said that the Minister will announce details in the coming days.
  • The Premier also commented on the ongoing controversy regarding Ontarians ability to visit their cottages during this pandemic.  After a call with cottage mayors yesterday, the Premier urged cottagers to play it safe by not socializing with big crowds or making too many stops on the way up.  “We are still battling a terrible virus, so we are asking seasonal residents travelling to their cottages to practice the same public health measures as usual”.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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