June 8th Update from the Federal and Provincial Governments

June 8, 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:    

  • COVID-19 and the protest demonstrations this weekend over systemic racism and police treatment of black and indigenous people came together today at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s briefing on the Government’s handling of the pandemic. Trudeau attended a protest last Friday afternoon on Parliament Hill. He was wearing a mask but surrounded by demonstrators, most of whom were less than the two metres apart. Health authorities say people must maintain following health official guidelines to fight the spread of the virus.
  • Trudeau told reporters who questioned him that after observing the demonstration from his office window he knew he had to be a part of it. He said he tried to maintain the two metres of social distancing when possible, and he hoped that wearing a mask would be a positive measure.
  • Trudeau said the Federal Government has been working to reduce racism and will redouble its efforts. That also means RCMP officers will soon be required to wear body cameras.
  • On the pandemic front, Trudeau said Ottawa is working with the Premiers of each of the provinces to develop “restart” agreements for their jurisdictions and get the economy opened up.
  • He also said Ottawa is slightly easing restrictions on the Canada – U.S. Border. All but essential travel has been prohibited for two months, now Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are members of the same immediate family and have been stranded over the border will be allowed to reunite. People who qualify will still have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Provincial:

  • The province announced today that the next phase of their reopening plan.  Effective as of Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Phase 2.   In addition, all places of worship in Ontario will be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.
  • The government also announced that many regions will be entering Phase 2.  The list below is notably absent of any municipalities in the GTHA.  The Premier noted that the decision for those areas to move into Phase 2 will be made by closely monitoring case numbers, and in consultation with local public health officers and mayors.

Public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. include:

    • Algoma Public Health
    • Brant County Health Unit
    • Chatham-Kent Public Health
    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit
    • Grey Bruce Health Unit
    • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
    • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
    • Huron Perth Public Health
    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
    • Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
    • Middlesex-London Health Unit
    • North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
    • Northwestern Health Unit
    • Ottawa Public Health
    • Peterborough Public Health
    • Porcupine Health Unit
    • Public Health Sudbury & Districts
    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
    • Renfrew County and District Health Unit
    • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
    • Southwestern Public Health
    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit
    • Timiskaming Health Unit
    • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Phase 2 include:

    • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
    • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
    • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
    • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
    • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
    • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
    • Camping at private campgrounds;
    • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
    • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
    • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
    • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

The province will be releasing more details on the below businesses and services in the coming days:

    • Child care;
    • Summer camps;
    • Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate;
    • Training centres; and
    • Public transit.

Additional Announcements

  • The government also announced that it will allow restaurants and bars to temporarily extend outdoor patio spaces once licensed establishments are permitted to fully reopen for business.
  • The province is also providing enhanced choice and flexibility to Ontario liquor manufacturers regarding the location of “tied houses”, which are the restaurants and bars located at wineries, breweries and distilleries. Effective immediately, tied houses are no longer required to be located on the manufacturing site itself, but may be located anywhere at the same municipal or property address as the manufacturing site.
  • When asked about the Province introducing travel restrictions so people do not travel from one jurisdiction to another, The Minister of Labour advised that the health and safety of the people of Ontario is critical and that the government has worked diligently to ensure that the proper safety guidelines are put in place and that they have completed a record number of inspections and will continue to monitor that business is following health guidelines. The Premier noted that travelling is allowed, but he would like people to use common sense.  He confirmed he is going to wait until Toronto is in phase two before getting a haircut.
  • The government also announced today that it intends to take action to protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized by their landlords due to the negative impacts of COVID-19.  The proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act would, if passed, temporarily halt evictions of businesses that are eligible for federal/provincial rent assistance. If passed, the legislation would reverse evictions that occurred on or after June 3, 2020. The government intends to bring this legislation forward as soon as possible.

James Barry
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario