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April 15th Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

April 15, 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 15

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 will confer with the Provincial Premiers tomorrow on ways to protect both elderly residents who live in long-term care facilities and the people who work there to take care of them.
  • Trudeau announced the call at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and the federal government’s response to it. Of the approximately 950 deaths attributed to COVID-19 to date, about half of them have been associated with long term facilities.
  • The Prime Minister also said he will take part in another call tomorrow, this one with leaders of all the G-7 countries to compare notes and talk about ways of coordinating efforts.
  • The Prime Minister also announced the expansion of requirements for eligibility for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, the federal program that pays up to $2,000 a month for workers who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 and are not eligible for Employment Insurance.
  • Now low income workers who earn $1,000 or less a month will be able to apply. The government is also working on a scheme with the provinces to top up the low pay of people who work in long term care facilities.  Also, now eligible to apply for CERB support:
    • People whose EI benefits have run out;
    • Seasonal workers who will have no work this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
    • Artists, gig works and freelancers whose work has disappeared.
  • Trudeau also announced the Canadian Rangers, a mainly indigenous group within the Canadian Armed Forces, will be dispatched to the North Shore area of Quebec to assist in communities there. Quebec requested the support of the Rangers, who have also been deployed in Nunavut. However, Quebec has not requested the help of the Canadian Army to provide assistance in understaffed long-term homes elsewhere in the province.
  • The Prime Minister announced that the government has created a portal on the website for people feeling the stress of dealing with COVID-19. And he refused to become embroiled in the controversy created by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to freeze American funding of the World Health Organization.
  • The Prime Minister also said a company in New Brunswick has geared up to provide testing kits for every province. He said widespread testing and contacting people who recently tested positive will be an essential part of re-opening the economy, at least partially, after the first wave of the pandemic has passed.


  • Today the Premier announced the government’s COVID-19 Action Plan for Long-Term Care homes.  The action plan includes:
    • Aggressive Testing, Screening, and Surveillance:  this includes enhanced testing for symptomatic residents and staff and those who have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19.
    • Managing Outbreaks and Spread of the Disease through added expertise resources and well as added training and support for staff; and
    • Increasing the Long-Term Care Workforce through redeployment of other health care sector staff as well as intensified recruitment initiatives.
  • The new emergency order includes:
    • Directing long-term care employers to ensure all their employees only work in one long-term care home or other health care setting;
    • To offset lost wages, the province is encouraging long-term care employers to offer full-time hours to their part-time employees during the COVID-19 outbreak; and
    • To offset increased labour costs of more full-time employees, the province is providing emergency funds to long-term care homes.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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