News & Media

April 17th 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 17

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 Federal Government is spending $1.7 Billion to assist the clean up of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.  As well, Ottawa will provide another $750 Million to deal with Ethane Gas emissions in the energy sector. $75 Million will be reserved for emissions from off-shore wells in Newfoundland and Labrador. The support comes as new federal rules on methane emissions are coming into effect.  The two programs will either preserve or create 10,000 jobs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in announcing the assistance at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic and Ottawa’s response to it.
  • In additional support for the energy sector, the Federal Government will also work with the Business Development Bank and the Export Development Bank, both federal agencies, to provide additional credit and increased liquidity for small and medium size energy companies.
  • Ottawa will also make $1.23 Billion available in regional development funding, again aimed at small and medium business. And, $500 Million will be available through Heritage Canada to support people and organizations in the Arts, Culture and Sports sectors.
  • Trudeau also announced 125 members of the Armed Forces with health care experience have been dispatched to Quebec to assist in long term care facilities.  The Government of Quebec requested the help Wednesday to deal with a deluge of deaths from COVID-19 among elderly residents in those facilities.
  • Negotiations are ongoing between the political parties on how Parliament should operate going forward. As of now, the House of Commons and Senate are scheduled to reopen on a regular schedule on Monday.  The negotiations will produce agreement for a more restricted Parliamentary schedule.


  • Today the government expanded the list of essential workers that are eligible to receive emergency child care.  The list now includes:
    • Staff working in developmental services, victims services, violence against women services, anti human trafficking services and child welfare services and in children’s residential settings;
    • Additional staff identified by the Ministry of Solicitor General, including;
      • First Nations
      • Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Fire Investigators;
      • Select critical staff in community corrections, such as parole officers;
      • Contractors in institutional correction services;
      • Frontline staff at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit;
      • Critical staff operating the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.
    • Staff working in shelters
    • Power Workers;
    • Pharmaceutical and Medical supplies and device manufacturing workers;
    • Non-municipal water and waster water employees; and
    • Federally employed staff including RCMP, CBSA officers, and Canada Post employees.
  • The Minister of Education announced that the government has reached a deal with Apple and Rogers to provide iPads to students from low-income families during the COVID-19 crisis.  The iPads are also being offered at a reduced rate and Rogers is covering the data services.  Apple has pre-installed the apps that are required for student learning.
  • The Premier noted that the Minister of Finance has been working on a plan for municipalities that are struggling financially.  He also announced that the Province’s new modelling will be released on Monday.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario


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