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: April 14, 7:46:12 PM
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 sought to dampened expectations that moves to reopen the Canadian economy shut down in the fight to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic will happen anytime soon. “It is going to be weeks still,” Trudeau told his daily briefing on the Government’s health care and economic responses to COVID-19 ” It is going to be sometime yet. It is not going to happen right away.”
- The decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in some parts of Canada has prompted calls to relax the rules for self isolation and physical distancing that have many people in their fifth week staying at home alone. As well, there are proposals to lift the directive for all businesses deemed non-essential to remain closed.
- Trudeau said there are ongoing talks with the province’s on how to re-open the economy when the time is right. He said Ottawa and the provinces will be “strategic and vigilant” when opening the economy in stages. He said people working in some industries where they can work more safely or who live in parts of the country where there is less risk of contamination might be the first to return to their jobs.
- In the meantime the border with the United States will remain closed to all except essential traffic, and at least one restriction on peoples movement is being toughened. Starting at midnight people returning to Canada who now have to self quarantine for fourteen days, will have to provide a “credible” plan on how they will do that. If they cannot, they will have to spend their quarantine time in a hotel or similar facility in their area.
- Other announcements at the briefing include:
- Recent shipments mean there are 1.5 Million N-95 masks that will now be distributed to the provinces, as will gowns and masks made in Canada.
- The Federal Government has committed $130 Million to the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut to bolster medical systems and food security in the North.
- The Canadian Business Account will have an expanded mandate to help small business owners meet their rent.
- Ottawa will continue to work with the provinces to improve conditions in long term care residences. Horrific conditions have been revealed in some residences, and seniors in these residences make up about half of all the deaths attributed to COVID-19.
- Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health and with the approval of the Ontario legislature, the province announced today that they will be extending the Declaration of Emergency for another 28 days, allowing the government to use every tool at its disposal to fight the spread of COVID-19 and to keep Ontarians safe.
- The Premier thanked his colleagues in the Legislature for their support in the government’s efforts. However, he did caution, “we aren’t out of the woods yet” and reminded people to stay home and practice physical distancing, as these measures are making a difference.
- The Premier acknowledged the crisis that is currently happening in long-term care (LTC) homes. The Premier committed to diverting all resources to LTC homes, and coming out with a new action plan for combating COVID-19 specifically in LTC homes tomorrow.
- The Premier announced that the government is going to be issuing an emergency order, limiting LTC home staff to only work at one home.
- The Premier also announced that students will not be going back to school on May 4th, and that Minister Lecce will be announcing further details in the coming days. The Premier made sure to stress that this does not necessarily mean that they will not go back at some point, but not on May 4th.
- Ontario is providing same-day deliveries to hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other facilities to support essential workers in all settings and ensuring supplies and equipment are expedited to those most in need. This includes shipments this past weekend of 6.5 million surgical and procedural masks to over 650 providers across the province to protect our frontline workers, patients and residents.
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario