June 15th Update From the Federal and Provincial Governments

June 15, 2020

Originally published via ibewcco.org.

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.

Federal: 

  • The Federal Government will extend the support of the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) when it expires later this month. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement today at his briefing on the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CERB is the most popular program established by Ottawa to combat the pandemic. More than eight million people have been or are receiving the $2,000 a month payment after they lost all or most of their income.  Trudeau was careful to hedge whether the existing program will be extended, as it has been extended twice before. Instead, he held out the possibility that the same level of support may be provided in a somewhat different program.
  • This has a potential political effect. Wednesday, the House of Commons is scheduled to vote on the government’s spending estimates for the current fiscal year which began April 1st.  Because of the pandemic the government has resisted presenting a budget or a fiscal update. In the minority parliament, the Conservatives and the Bloc Quebecois are almost certain to vote against the estimates. The New Democrats are making extension of the CERB a condition of supporting the government. The estimates vote is a confidence motion and the Trudeau Liberals need the support of at least one Opposition Party to pass the estimates.  If the estimates were to be defeated the government would fall and Canada could be in a summer election.  Last Wednesday all three Opposition parties joined to vote against the government and block a piece of legislation.  So watch this space.
  • Also today, Trudeau announced the creation of a $50 Million program to buy up excess food that has no market, and provide that food in hard hit areas where it will be available to those in need.
  • Trudeau also mentioned that Canada is taking part in a thirteen nation program developing advances in Artificial Intelligence. He said that Canada is providing air lift for the United Nations delivery of food and medical supplies to hard hit, poorer nations.

Provincial: 

  • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Province announced today that it will be enabling more regions to enter into Phase 2 of re-opening.  The regions will be permitted to move into Phase 2 on Friday at 12:01 am.  The regions are:
    • Durham
    • York
    • Haldimand Norfolk
    • Halton
    • Hamilton
    • Lambton, and
    • Niagara.  You can read the full release here.
  • This leaves Toronto, Peel, Windsor Essex as the only regions yet to move into Phase 2.  The next opportunity for these regions to move into Phase 2 will be next Monday June 22.
  • The Premier urged Ontarians to maintain physical distancing and public health guidance to ensure that the province continues to maintain a strong recovery.
  • The province also announced over the weekend that it has surpassed the 1,000,000 test mark.  This is a significant milestone for the province as it seeks to ramp up it’s testing for re-opening.
  • The government has seen a significant decrease (43%) in new cases over the last 7 days, and are hopeful that Ontarians continue to practice physical distancing.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario