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April 16th Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

April 17, 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 16

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.


  • Quebec has asked the Federal Government to send members of the Canadian Armed Forces to assist workers in long term care residences in the province swamped by the number of cases and deaths caused  by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The request was disclosed Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his daily update on the pandemic. This is the third request from Quebec to the federal government. The first two were more traditional; requests for the Canadian Rangers to provide support in the northern part of the province and on the north shore of the lower St. Lawrence.  Trudeau said the help asked for will be forthcoming, but because of its unusual nature details are still being worked out between the Federal and Provincial governments.
  • Support for long term care facilities, and the people who live there and the people who work in the homes to care for them, will be a major point of discussion between the Prime Minister and all the Premiers on their weekly conference call. The number of deaths in long term facilities has unexpectedly pushed the total number of deaths predicted earlier.
  • The Prime Minister also announced changes to the Canadian Emergency Business Account. The plan provides loans of up to $40,000 interest free to the end of 2021, with $10,000 forgivable if the loan is repaid by the end of 2022.  Eligibility has been changed so that companies who had a total payroll in 2019 of between $20,000 and $1.5 Million will be able to apply for loans under the program. Initially companies had to have a payroll between $50,000 and $1 Million to be eligible. So far, approximately 195,000 loans worth $7.5 Billion have been made. Now even more companies will be able to apply.
  • The Federal Government is also planning a program to help businesses pay their rent, and landlords pay their mortgages. The plan will cover the months of April, May and June. Details have to be worked out with the provinces, which have the constitutional authority in property matters.
  • Trudeau also said he taken part in a call with other G-7 leaders. They committed to international cooperation to fighting the pandemic.  The Prime Minister also repeated as he now does every day, that it will be sometime yet before social distancing and self isolation rules can be eased.

“If we persist and persevere we will prevail,” he said.


  • The provincial government discussed expanded hospital capacity a their daily news conference today.  The Deputy Premier said that the province has added 1,035 acute care beds and 1,492 critical care beds and has taken steps to make sure that hospitals have the required staff to support the surges in patients.
  • The Premier and Minister both noted that this unprecedented capacity ramp up was due to the tireless work of the staff in hospitals across Ontario that have gone above and beyond to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Premier also provided an update on testing, noting that he had previously committed to having 8,000 daily tests by today.  The government announced that they tested over 9,000 over the previous 24 hours.
  • Minister Fullerton reinforced the measures that the government put in place as part of their action plan for long-term care homes.  Many of the questions from the press focused on the ongoing breakout of COVID-19 in long-term care homes across the province.  The full action plan can be found here.
  • The Premier was asked about providing updated modelling to follow-up on the report that he released two weeks ago.  The Premier did not commit, but said that they are collecting data this week in order to see what new modelling will show.  The government has been cautiously optimistic at the trends they are seeing outside of long-term care.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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