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April 3rd Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

April 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

UPDATE: April 3, 3:45:26 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.


  • The Prime Minister’s announcement today focused on medical supplies.  The PM announced a deal with Amazon Canada and the federal government to coordinate the distribution of critical personal protective equipment to the provinces and territories.
  • The PM also commented on reports that the US government invoked the Defense Production Act to stop the shipping of 3M masks and other equipment to Canada.  He said that he has been working closely with the US and that it would be a “mistake” to reduce the amount of trade between the two countries.  The PM also hinted at retaliatory measures, but did not provide specifics.  It is important to note that 3M released a statement that more closely aligned with PM Trudeau’s comments.
  • The PM also announced a $100 million cash injection for Canadian food banks, and organizations that support them.
  • The GST/HST credit that the federal government previously announced will be fast-tracked to being sent in April as opposed to May.


  • Today Dr. Peter Donnelly (Chair of Ontario Public Health), Matthew Ryan (CEO of Ontario Health) and Adalsteinn Brown (University of Toronto) presented the provincial models for COVID-19 in Ontario.  This followed up on the Premier’s promise yesterday to show the public all of the numbers that he sees.  The description was grim, and part of the motivation is to ensure that Ontarians take the social distancing measures seriously and stay home.
  • They presented projections which show that over the full course of the pandemic (which can last 18-24 months) Ontario could see between 3,000-15,000 deaths.  The range depends on how Ontarians abide by the social distancing guidelines put in place.  They note that had Ontario done nothing there could have been up to 100,000 deaths.
  • For the month of April they are predicting 1,600 Ontario deaths.  This number would have been 6,000 had we done nothing.  They noted that they believe the measures that Ontario put in place have already helped to save thousands of lives.  They also acknowledged that even stronger actions could take that number down to 250.
  • In terms of COVID-19 cases, they are predicting 80,000 in the month of April if the status quo stays in place.  The officials believe that this number can be lowered to 12,500 if stricter measures are taken, and could have been as high as 300,000 if there was no intervention.
  • Ontario will have to add another 900 ICU beds to cope with the expected increase.  They believe that ICU is currently at approximately 70% capacity. Ontario Health CEO, Matthew Anderson, said that the province’s critical care team is look at ways to rapidly expand capacity, and at load balancing to make sure that the province has the capacity required.
  • “We can change the outcome for the province if we stay at home and physically distance from each other and bare down hard right now” said Dr. Peter Donnelly.
  • Premier Ford reiterated the messages from the public health officials.  “There are 1,600 people out there that need us to what is necessary to help save them.”
  • The Premier announced the closure of many more sectors of the economy through a reduction in the industries deemed essential. The list originally included 74 industries, and has now been paired down to 44.  This full list can be found here
    • If you have questions about what will be open or impacts to your business or employment, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at tel: 1-888-444-3659.
  • Workplace closures were most significant in the construction sector.  This is the updated order for construction:
    • Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be re-purposed for health care space.
    • Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
    • Critical industrial construction activities required for:
      • the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries;
      • significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced;
      • industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Residential construction projects where:
      • a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
      • an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
      • the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.
    • Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.
  • The Premier urged everyone to resist the nice weather this weekend to stay inside.  He pleaded with Ontarians to help “write an end” to this terrible pandemic.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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