June 3rd Update from the Federal and Provincial Governments

June 3, 2020

Originally posted 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:    

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not hold a briefing today on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Instead, today Trudeau was at a session of the House of Commons where some MPs were present and others took part virtually.  Initial questioning of the Prime Minister was not about COVID-19, but about difficulties at the Federal Infrastructure Bank.
  • At the briefing of cabinet ministers and Governmental Officials, Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, said additional use of face masks throughout to transport sector will be required for both people travelling and people working.
  • Questions for Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland concerned the Middle East and Hong Kong.  The impression in Ottawa today is that, at least for the moment, the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and for the first time in almost three months and other issues are breaking through.

Provincial:

  • Today, the Premier announced that the provincial government is investing $150 million in reliable broadband and cellular service. This funding will help create even more economic and educational opportunities in rural, remote and under-served areas of the province.  This is part of the province’s $315 million initiative called Up to Speed: Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan.
  • Access to broadband is a core component of the province’s Learn at Home plan. Reliable Internet, particularly in rural and regional areas, is essential to supporting students’ success in school. The provincial government recently called on the federal government to take immediate action to improve Internet connectivity for Ontario students.
  • As part of a $190 million project to bring high-speed Internet to thousands of homes and businesses throughout Southwestern Ontario, the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) has awarded contracts in Lambton, Wellington and Norfolk counties.
  • When asked by media today about updated COVID-19 modelling, the Minister of Health advised that this will be coming in the near future and will be provided to the public in an open and transparent manner.
  • The Premier advised during media questions today that he is in conversations with some of our Provinces largest pharmacies to discuss local testing centres, similar to what NYC has negotiated with CVS pharmacies.
  • The Premier advised today that the State of Emergency extension will not slow down the re-opening of our economy and that the Health Command table is looking in to getting Phase Two of the re-opening started.
  • To date only about 16,000 commercial landlords have applied for the Federal/Provincial relief which is currently available.  The Premier urged again for the commercial landlords to apply for this relief.
  • When questioned about the spike of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Ontario as it relates to migrant workers, the Premier said that it is important that the migrant workers are protected.   He also reiterated that the government has provided the farmers with $2MIL dollars to assist them in providing a safe workspace for their migrant workers on the job and in the living quarters.
  • When asked about creating a social bubble and increasing the amount of persons allowed to gather the Minister of Health advised that this is being considered at the health command table and they are looking at how best to expand this during the next phase of opening.
  • NHL has requested an exemption to the 14 day quarantine to return to Toronto to play.  The Premier advised that he has spoken with the NHL, and that this exemption falls under the purview of the Federal government.  The Premier further advised that the time for the NHL to reconvene is August 1, 2020 and he is hopeful that COVID-19 cases will have decreased by this time.

Jame Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario