News & Media

Update from Federal and Provincial Governments

March 26, 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: March 26, 3:36:57 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.


  • Ottawa is trying to come to terms with news that the Trump administration in Washington is considering stationing American troops within thirty kilometers of the Canadian border.  Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canadian  Ministers and diplomats have expressed their disagreement with the American proposal to their counterparts in Washington.
  •  Freeland said in addition to her own conversations, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Defence Minister Hajit Sajan had spoken to their counterparts in Washington, as has Kirsten Hillman, whose appointment as Canadian Ambassador in Washington was confirmed today.
  • Even with the Canadian protestations, Freeland and Trudeau both conceded:  “The US is a sovereign country and can make its own decisions within its own territory.”
  • In his briefing, Trudeau spent most of his time reiterating and clarifying his announcement yesterday that the government is boosting assistance to people who have lost their jobs or their income because of the pandemic. This added support will be included in a new Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The benefit will pay $2,000 a month for up to four months and will be available to those that qualify for up to four months. The benefit will be available around April 10th.
  • The Prime Minister also reiterated that those coming back to Canada are subject to a mandatory 14 day self quarantine.
  • The Prime Minister acknowledged that Kirsten Hillman has been appointed to the position of Ambassador to the United States (previously she was acting)


  • The provincial government spoke about the specific elements of their action plan today, focusing on the $3.1 billion to support front line health workers and increase health care capacity:
    • Investing $935 million more in hospitals, including $594 million to continue working on expanding capacity and $341 million to prepare for COVID-19 with an additional 1,000 acute care and 500 critical care beds and to fund assessment centres.
    • Increasing public health funding by $160 million to support COVID-19 monitoring and testing, including investments in virtual care and Telehealth Ontario.
    • Investing $243 million for surge capacity in long-term care facilities, 24/7 screening of staff and visitors, more staffing to support infection control and additional supplies and equipment.
    • Investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff.
    • Dedicating $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund, as part of the additional health care investments.
  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission posted regulations that allow restaurants to serve alcohol on take-out and delivery orders from 9 am – 11 pm.  This is effective immediately.  The regulations can be found here.
  • The Premier commented on price gouging in reaction to a media question about Pusateri’s selling Lysol wipes for $30 a can.  The Premier said he was “disgusted” by this and will be looking at ways to further address price gouging.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario

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