BC: Premier Outlines Plan to Restart Province Safely
British Columbians will move forward with safely restarting their province beginning in mid-May, according to a plan announced by Premier John Horgan.
Under BC’s Restart Plan, government will work closely with public health officials, businesses and labour organizations to lift restrictions in phases, gradually allowing for more social and economic activity, while closely monitoring health information to minimize the risk to the public.
“Our plan puts safety first. British Columbians have made enormous sacrifices so far, and it’s thanks to them that we’re able to begin to lift some restrictions,” Horgan said. “We’ll allow activities to resume as the evidence and experts tell us it is appropriate to do so. By moving carefully and deliberately, we will help British Columbians get to a ‘new normal,’ where more of our social and economic life can resume.”
Restarting economic activity will look different in B.C. than in other jurisdictions because only a small number of sectors in the province were closed by public health order. Many other provinces are just now reaching the level of safe operations B.C. has been able to maintain throughout the pandemic.
B.C. is currently in Phase 1 of the restart plan. Phase 2, which will begin in mid-May, includes:
small social gatherings;
a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
provincial parks open for day use;
opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans;
recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
Essential businesses that have remained open during the pandemic, so far, have done so safely with the support of WorkSafeBC. Government will build on this successful experience by supporting all businesses as they take steps toward a successful reopening. Sectors that were ordered closed will be asked to work with WorkSafeBC to develop plans to reopen safely. WorkSafeBC is developing industry-specific guidance to help employers bring workers and customers back safely. Any business restarting operations must ensure it is in compliance with the provincial health officer’s orders and in accordance with occupational health and safety guidance provided by WorkSafeBC.
The target date for the start of Phase 3, which will include opening up of additional businesses and services, is between June and September 2020, if transmission rates remain low or in decline.
Phase 4 will only be achieved when the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly diminished through widespread vaccination, broad successful treatments, evidence of community immunity, or the equivalent.
Most provincial parks will reopen, starting May 14, for day-use only. On June 1, many remaining facilities, including campgrounds, will reopen. A small number of parks that attract large crowds, or where reopening would pose a health risk to nearby communities, will remain closed.
A strong emphasis on personal hygiene for all British Columbians, including handwashing, physical distancing and staying at home if you are sick, will be crucial for the success of every phase of the plan.
While B.C. already has sufficient testing and tracking capacity, by continuing to increase these, government will be able to identify any flare-ups in COVID-19 case numbers and address them. This approach will support public safety and confidence.
“Today, we’ve unveiled our plan for a slow and safe restart. We need to be vigilant, to make sure we keep flattening the curve of transmission,” Premier Horgan said. “There is much more to do. But we will get through this pandemic to better days by working together and keeping each other safe.”
For a WorkSafeBC backgrounder, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_Support_for_Workplaces_Resuming_Operation.pdf
For more information about BC's Restart Plan, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc
AB: Project Maps Newcomers to Opportunities in Digital Economy
A new program launched by The Information and Communications Technology (ICTC)
will map internationally educated professionals (“newcomers”)
located in Alberta to in-demand digital jobs.
The Next Talent Pipeline: Onboarding Alberta’s Newcomers for the Digital Economy will be conducted in partnership between ICTC, the Alberta Ministry of Labour & Immigration, CCIS Alberta, Lighthouse Labs, and VanHack.
The project has four main objectives:
Understanding and assessing the skills of Internationally Educated Professionals in the context of in-demand digital roles identified by the ICTC report A Digital Future for Alberta;
Identifying the upskilling requirements for Alberta newcomers to fill in-demand digital roles;
Suggesting resources for obtaining the relevant upskilling and training;
Providing opportunities for Alberta employers to connect with qualified newcomers.
This work supports the province’s digital economy. Over 35% of the interviewed employers for the ICTC 2019 study A Digital Future for Alberta identified access to skilled digital talent as the biggest obstacle to business growth. The report forecasts the total demand for core digital occupations across the Alberta economy to reach nearly 9,000 by 2023.
By simplifying and streamlining what can be a lengthy process for employers, The Next Talent Pipeline: Onboarding Alberta’s Newcomers for the Digital Economy aims to strengthen Alberta’s tech talent pool and accelerate the growth of the province’s digital economy.
“The recipe for success in these challenging times should remain focused on accessing skilled talent that is ready to stimulate innovation and business growth. This initiative will provide a pivotal roadmap to better leverage the full potential of Internationally Educated Professionals and create a critical digital advantage for Alberta’s economy in the coming years” Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO
ICTC is a not-for-profit, national center of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with a vast network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policymakers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.
To participate in this study or for further information about The Next Talent Pipeline: Onboarding Alberta’s Newcomers for the Digital Economy project, please contact Paul Stastny at email@example.com or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823,
The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services. Funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-Alberta Job Fund.
SK: Day of Mourning Honours Workers Who Lost Lives
On April 28, flags at all government buildings were lowered to half-mast from sunrise to sunset to mark the National Day of Mourning.
April 28 was first declared as the National Day of Mourning by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984. The day is now observed across Canada as a way to pay tribute to individuals killed, injured or stricken with illness in the workplace.
“The best way for us to honour those that have lost their lives while on the job, is to do our part in building safer, healthier workplaces,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “Every worker has the right to return home safely at the end of the workday.”
“Workplace fatalities and serious injuries have an impact on the lives of families, friends and colleagues and our hearts go out to all those left behind by these tragedies,” Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board Chairperson Gord Dobrowolsky said. “Today we take time to mourn and remember those that have lost their lives, and we renew our commitment to working together to keep everyone safe on the job.”
In 2019, 36 workplace fatalities occurred in Saskatchewan.
MB: Online Tool Matches Employers and Students for Jobs
The Manitoba government has launched Student Jobs MB, a new and exciting online tool dedicated to matching students looking for job opportunities to employers with workforce needs throughout the province, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“Summer jobs are important for youth in not only helping pay for an education, but for building life skills and developing future career interests,” said Pallister. “Employers also benefit from hiring students, who can bring energy and new perspectives to their operations and assist them greatly in rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic. This new tool will help bring them together.”
Student Jobs MB is simple and free to use, allowing students to be matched with and to apply for multiple jobs with the click of a button. The technology is safe and secure, and designed to protect user privacy. Private-sector employers, not-for-profit organizations and governments are able to post jobs and connect directly with students. This tool expedites the hiring process and will encourage student summer employment.
Student Jobs MB will be the primary source used by the province to connect students with government employment opportunities offered through the Student Temporary Employment Program, the Conservation Green Team and Urban/Hometown Green Team partners.
This new tool will complement the Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program, which was launched on April 24 as a key response to the economic impact of the pandemic. The Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program supports employers in hiring high school and post-secondary students by making $120 million available for an hourly $7 wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student. The program is open to students aged 15 to 29, with an employment period from May 1 to Sept. 4. Employers can be subsidized to hire up to five students. To date, 793 employers offering 1,841 student jobs have responded to the program.
“As Manitoba restores services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, students can be an important resource to help employers reopen,” said Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler. “This easy-to-use online tool will allow students to find jobs in their communities and will help employers connect with quality applicants.”
More information on student and youth employment opportunities can be found at www.studentjobsmb.ca.
A comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found here.
ON: Prov. Gov’t Helps People Impacted by COVID-19 Get Back to Work
As the economy gradually reopens, the Ontario government is helping people affected by COVID-19 get back to work. The province is investing in Ontario's first Virtual Action Centre, an online counselling and training portal, to support laid off and unemployed hospitality workers, and is helping apprentices by providing grants to purchase tools, protective equipment and clothing for their trade, along with forgiving previous loans to purchase tools.
The announcement was made on May 27 by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
"The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for many business owners, workers, and families, and that's why we are doing everything we can to help people through this difficult period," said Premier Ford.
"Hospitality workers and our skilled tradespeople have been among those hardest hit by this pandemic. These new programs will ensure they're ready to get back on the job and play an important role in our economic recovery."
The government is providing an Ontario Tools Grant of $2.5 million in 2020-21 and $7.5 million in 2021-22 and ongoing. This will help new eligible apprentices purchase the equipment they need to start their careers. The funding amounts will be distributed as follows:
$1,000 for those in motive power sector trades;
$600 for those in construction and industrial sector trades;
$400 for those in service sector trades.
To be eligible for the new grant, apprentices must have:
completed level 1 training on or after April 1, 2020;
an active registered training agreement; and
been registered as an apprentice for at least 12 months.
The government is also forgiving more than $10 million in outstanding loans owed by apprentices for tool purchases made at the beginning of their careers. The Loans for Tools Program allowed thousands of new apprentices to buy tools, equipment, clothing, manuals and code books required for their trade. About 19,000 apprentices who participated in the program owed, on average, $495.
"If we are going to rebuild our economy, we must reach out and help the workers and businesses that are suffering as a result of COVID-19," said Minister McNaughton. "The programs that we are announcing today will leave more money in the pockets of our apprentices and support those hospitality workers who have been laid-off by providing access to the training and services they need to recover and rejoin the workforce."
The government is also investing nearly $2 million to open a Virtual Action Centre in partnership with UNITE HERE Local 75. This virtual job training resource will provide up to 7,000 unemployed workers in the hospitality sector with access to a wide range of services and supports online and over the phone, including:
Stress management and mental health resources through video conferencing;
Immediate health and safety online training for workers who return to work at designated quarantined sites;
Technical skills online training;
Online training to upgrade English language and digital skills;
Peer group facilitation and employment preparation through videoconferencing.
UNITE HERE will operate the Virtual Action Centre. UNITE HERE is a union that represents workers in hotels, restaurants, racetracks and casinos, laundry and food service companies, airport concessions and apparel, textile and general manufacturing and distribution centers.
"Ontario's hotel and hospitality sectors create thousands of jobs across the province," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. "This new virtual platform will make sure that those workers are supported as we gradually reopen the province and prepare our $35 billion tourism sector to welcome visitors back."
"We are very grateful for the generous support of the Ontario government," said Guled Warsame, President of UNITE HERE Local 75. "This support will provide services and skills training to our members who are laid-off due to COVID-19. We know that people are at the heart of the hospitality industry. We are very grateful and proud to work with the provincial government to ensure that people are provided with support and the opportunity to upgrade their skills and get back to work as soon as possible."
ON: Province Protecting Child Care For Parents When They Return to Work
The Ontario Government is protecting licensed child care in Ontario during the COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring parents retain access to local licensed child care, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The government unveiled a plan that, together with federal and municipal partnerships, provides supports to licensed child care providers to ensure they remain sustainable and ready to open when parents return to work.
"We are taking action to protect local child care spaces for parents as they return to work," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "Our plan is focused on two objectives. The first was focused on saving parents money by prohibiting child care providers from charging families during the closure period. The second objective was focused on protecting child care spaces across our province, so families can re-enter the workforce with confidence that local centres will be accessible and safe."
The plan is focused on protecting child care spaces for parents with a time-limited approach that includes:
support for fixed operating costs for eligible child care and EarlyON Centres, while providers are prohibited from charging parent fees while the Emergency Order is in effect;
direct and rapid funding delivery through municipal service managers for centres that currently receive funding;
a straightforward application process for child care centres that do not currently receive provincial funding by allowing them to apply directly to the Ministry of Education;
direction that all child care centres will be required to maximize all available support under Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including staffing costs retroactively to March 15, 2020, in addition to federal-provincial rental subsidy supports;
red tape reduction and cost savings by waiving all child care licensing applications, renewals and revision fees;
automatic extension of child care licenses set to expire during the emergency period; and
protecting existing base funding for licensed home child care agencies, and regular funding and wage enhancement grant funding for licensed home child care providers who have remained active during the emergency closure.
The government's plan harnesses the full support of all levels of government and ensures the sector and the child care spaces families depend on remain available in urban and rural communities across Ontario.
The province is supporting parents during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily preventing child care providers from collecting payments from parents. Child care centres, with the exception of those providing emergency child care to health care and other frontline workers, were ordered closed to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep the children and child care staff safe.
Ontario is also helping parents pay for the extra costs associated with school and child care closures during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, including children enrolled in private schools.
There are over 5,500 child care centres and 124 licensed home child care agencies across Ontario.
School Boards will not charge rent for child care centres or EarlyON centres located in schools, until the end of the closure period.
ON: Province Supports Job Creators as People Start Returning to Work
As people gradually begin returning to work, the Ontario government continues preparing for the next phase of restarting the provincial economy through the implementation of its Framework for Reopening our Province. At the same time, the government has been supporting struggling business owners directly impacted by COVID-19 by providing tax deferrals and commercial rent relief, and by removing regulatory roadblocks.
On May 8, Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, highlighted the ongoing preparations for reopening the economy, including the work of the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on people's lives and livelihoods, but thanks to the incredible efforts of our frontline health care workers and all individuals and families, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Premier Ford. "By Monday, thousands of people will be returning to work at hardware stores, retail outlets and garden centres across the province. Now with the right framework and the right guidelines in place, we can start getting more of Ontario back to work quickly and safely."
Over the past week, the government has begun easing restrictions on workplaces that can operate safely by following public health and safety guidelines. Today, garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. On Monday at 12:01 a.m., non-essential retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery.
These actions come as the province continues to face the unprecedented economic situation created by the COVID-19 outbreak. Today, Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers, which showed a 689,200 decrease in employment in Ontario.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Ontario's economy hard, and the latest job numbers highlight the need to get our businesses back up and running as quickly and safely as possible," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "Our government is absolutely committed to working with our business community and supporting workers to ensure that they can all emerge from this period of uncertainty stronger than before."
The province is also providing $241 million of a total $900 million to the new Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (OCECRA)
, with contributions from the federal government, to deliver relief to small businesses and ensure they are ready to reopen their doors when the emergency measures are lifted.
Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 also includes $10 billion in support for people and businesses to improve cash flows by providing a five-month penalty and interest-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, deferring the upcoming quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax, and providing up to $1.9 billion in financial relief by allowing employers to defer Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
payments for up to six months.
"We stand united as a province, shoulder to shoulder with those that have been negatively impacted by this virus," said Minister Phillips.
"I want them to know that we are going to beat COVID-19. The Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee is working based on the Framework to Reopen Our Province, which set out three stages, as well as core public health criteria necessary to move towards reopening. I'm confident we'll soon be in a position to take another significant step. That should give us hope."
In order to make life easier for businesses faced with the unique challenges created by the global outbreak, the Ontario government has launched the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers online portal. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those struggling to operate in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks and suggest possible solutions through the website.
"Clearly, it is not business as usual for anyone, we understand that and we want to help," said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. "Our government is prepared to temporarily adjust our processes, rules, and regulations to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. I encourage everyone to visit the website to identify barriers or suggest solutions so we can get the economy up and running, and people back to work, as soon as possible."
NB: No New Cases of COVID-19; Top-up Funding for Front-line Workers
“Since this pandemic began, essential workers across the province have stepped up for New Brunswick,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “In recognition of this, our province has sent a written request to the federal finance minister outlining a program to provide a monthly top-up of approximately $500 for 16 weeks for front-line workers in a number of sectors.”
Those eligible for the funding include employees in:
early learning and child care facilities
special care homes, community residences and group homes
homeless shelters and food banks
domestic violence outreach and transition homes
Workers must earn $18 per hour or less to be eligible.
The top-up will be paid by employers every four weeks. The exception will be child care facilities, which will split the first and last payments to align with existing payment schedules.
Workers at early learning and child care facilities will receive their top-up retroactive to May 19 and it will continue for 16 weeks. This is in recognition of their return to work as the child care sector reopened.
All other sectors will be paid retroactively from March 19 to July 9.
Employers will be reimbursed by the departments of Education and Early Childhood Development or Social Development.
Early learning and child care facilities reopen
More than 50 per cent of New Brunswick’s early learning and child care facilities reopened on Tuesday. That number is expected to reach 80 per cent by June 1.
“The reopening of child care facilities is a key element in enabling people to return to work,” said Higgs. “New Brunswickers must be able to return to work if we are going to reopen our province.”
NF: Prov. Gov’t. Announces Support for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
To further support businesses impacted by COVID-19, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation announced provincial actions for eligible business clients.
Current deferral of loan payments, under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation’s Business Investment Fund, has been increased to six months. This measure sees an additional three months added to the original three month deferral action announced on March 18, 2020, which started with April payments.
The hiring eligibility for commercial Research and Development (R&D)
projects will be temporarily increased. Specifically, salary support for up to six positions may be considered for eligible commercial R&D projects. The positions may include existing employees, new or a combination of both. This temporary policy pertains to applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020.
Contribution levels have been temporarily increased for eligible project applications under R&D commercial and Business Development Support. Eligible costs will now be covered up to 75 per cent, up from 50 per cent, for applications approved between April 1 and September 30, 2020.
The aim of these temporary measures by the Provincial Government is to disrupt the current and future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for business clients.
For the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19, please visit www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19. For general inquiries related to available government services, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.