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Message from James Barry re: Updates on the Federal and Provincial Governments’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2020

UPDATE: March 23, 2:46:41 PM

Good afternoon,
Please see below the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you have questions about the impact of the provincial order, please let us know ASAP.


  • Today Premier Ford announced that the government will be requiring the mandatory closing of all non-essential businesses effective Tuesday March 24th at 11:59 pm.  A list of business that are in deemed essential will be provided tomorrow.  However, the Premier did state that grocery, pharmacy, essential manufacturing, the LCBO, takeout restaurants, and the relevant supply chains will be deemed essential.  They are still working on the details for how this will impact the construction industry.  The ban will be in effect until at least April 14th. 
  • Minister Phillips advised that the Economic Statement will be delivered on Wednesday March 24, 2020 and will reflect the best economic advice and be focused on providing the appropriate resources to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, as well as an economic stimulus package.
  • The government announced that it is providing $200 million in social services relief funding.  The funding will flow to municipalities and organizations that administer social services.
  • The Premier also disclosed, in response to a reporters question, that schools will be closed beyond April 6th.   He did not say whether the remainder of the school year might be lost, although the Minister previously said that this will not impact graduations.


  • The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of social distancing and physical distancing to protect themselves, their neighbours, the vulnerable and those working in the health care system and essential services. “Go home and stay home. You may think your invincible. Well you are not” Trudeau said. 
  • The government is going to launch a national campaign regarding COVID-19 and the importance of social isolation and distancing.
  • The House of Commons will reconvene tomorrow, March 24, 2020 to pass emergency legislation regarding the $82 billion stimulus package for small business in Canada.
  • The Prime Minister announced today a further $5 billion in aide for Canadian farmers that can be accessed through Farm Credit Canada:
  • The federal government will also be investing $192 million to directly support the creation and production of a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Partners for this initiative are:
      • AbCellara – Vancouver based (prevention and treatment)
      • Medicago – Quebec Based ( testing and production)
      • University of Saskatchewan Infection Diseases (development and clinical trials)
      • National Retail Council of Canada (rollout of vaccine)
  • The federal government has been working with international airline carries for the safe return of Canadians abroad.  The Prime Minister urged all Canadians to secure a commercial flight where still available.   Currently the federal government has secured:
    • 3 flights from Peru
    • 2 flights from Morocco
    • 2 flights from Honduras
    • 1 flight from Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala

The Prime Minister will be holding a call with all First Ministers this evening to discuss further options and strong measures regarding containment of COVID-19 and how to provide financial relief to Canadians and business.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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