Up-to-date information from the Government of Canada

Visit and bookmark the link below (CLICK THE IMAGE) for the latest information from the Government of Canada on COVID-19, including links to financial and economic support, a self-assessment test, live virtual assistance, and more. CLICK IMAGE BELOW:

Visit and bookmark the link below (CLICK THE IMAGE) for the latest information from the Government of Canada on COVID-19, including links to financial and economic support, a self-assessment test, live virtual assistance, and more.

CLICK IMAGE BELOW:

Ministry of Labour notice: Working at Heights

Effective March 27, 2020, O. Reg. 297/13 is amended by O. Reg. 96/20 to temporarily extend the validity period of Working at Heights training for workers who successfully completed an approved Working at Heights training program between February 28, 2017 and August 31, 2017. The validity period for these workers is extended to four years […]

Effective March 27, 2020, O. Reg. 297/13 is amended by O. Reg. 96/20 to temporarily extend the validity period of Working at Heights training for workers who successfully completed an approved Working at Heights training program between February 28, 2017 and August 31, 2017. The validity period for these workers is extended to four years from the current three.

As a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak, workers may be unable to complete refresher training due to course cancellations. This amendment allows the affected workers to continue to work and constructors and employers to engage these workers on construction projects.

The related training requirements for workers who use fall protection systems on construction projects, which are in section 26.2 of O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) under the OHSA, are not affected by these amendments and employers must continue to ensure that the requirements in section 26.2 are complied with.

Please see the amended regulation: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20096

Further communications from the government to follow.

Business Manager Gallagher Video Address To Members

IUOE Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher addresses members, staff and their families via video and speaks to the current situation that we find ourselves in during these unprecedented times.  

IUOE Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher addresses members, staff and their families via video and speaks to the current situation that we find ourselves in during these unprecedented times.

 

Ontario Stepping Up Measures to Limit the Spread of COVID-19 on Construction Sites

TORONTO – Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement on Sunday, March 29 regarding health and safety on construction sites: “The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers […]

TORONTO – Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement on Sunday, March 29 regarding health and safety on construction sites:

“The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe. We must do everything possible to fight the spread of this disease.

Today, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer announced updated guidance to help employers better understand their responsibilities and what is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job site.

The update follows an initial guidance document circulated on March 20, 2020, and addresses sector topics including:

  • providing better on-site sanitation, including a focus on high-touch areas like site trailers, door handles and hoists
  • communicating roles, responsibilities, and health & safety policies, by, for example, posting site sanitization schedules and work schedules
  • enabling greater distances between workers by staggering shifts, restricting site numbers and limiting elevator usage
  • protecting public health by tracking and monitoring workers

Under Ontario law, employers must take every reasonable precaution to keep workers safe. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If health and safety concerns are not resolved internally, a worker can seek enforcement by filing a complaint with the ministry’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

Ministry inspectors are inspecting job sites today and every day. Employers and constructors should know: failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations could result in a stop work order.

Keeping job sites open during the current pandemic requires a heightened focus on health and safety.

We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

LEARN MORE

  • Read the Chief Prevention Officer’s guidance to the construction sector on health and safety related to COVID-19.
  • Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19

Updates on the Federal and Provincial governments’ response to COVID-19

Below are the most recent updates (March 29, 2020) on the Federal and Provincial governments’ actions in tackling COVID-19. Federal:  Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced additional travel measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.  Starting on Monday March 30 at noon, anyone showing signs of COVID-19 will be denied boarding planes or trains for […]

Below are the most recent updates (March 29, 2020) on the Federal and Provincial governments’ actions in tackling COVID-19.

Federal: 

  • Today Prime Minister Trudeau announced additional travel measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.  Starting on Monday March 30 at noon, anyone showing signs of COVID-19 will be denied boarding planes or trains for domestic travel in Canada.
  • The Prime Minister also reinforced his message for Canadians to stay home.  He also encouraged Canadians to pre-register for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).  He encourages eligible Canadians to register in advance and to set-up direct deposit if possible. He noted that this will help to expedite the process.

Provincial: 

  • Premier Ford announced enhanced consumer protection measures to combat price gouging on “essential items”.  This is in response to reports of some retailers jacking up prices on hand wipes and other items.
  • The Province defined essential goods as:
    • Masks and gloves used as personal protective equipment in relation to infections.
    • Non-prescription medications for the treatment of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
    • Disinfecting agents intended for cleaning and disinfecting objects or humans.
    • Personal hygiene products, including soap products and paper products.
  • The new severe penalties can be in the form of a ticket for $750, a charge under the EMPCA, with the possibility of a court imposed fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year imprisonment for an individual.  A director or officer of a corporation could face a fine of not more than $500,000 and a term of imprisonment of note more than one year.  In the case of a corporation, a fine of note more than $10 million may be imposed.
  • The bill does not seek to set prices or dictate margins for retailers.  I suspect that the attention this has received in the press and the public shaming will remain the strongest deterrent for retailers.  The Premier also noted that the overwhelming majority of Ontario retailers are stepping up.
  • The Minister of Health and Premier also spoke about protective equipment for health care workers.  They said that the province has been securing new supply every day from existing suppliers, the federal government, and new companies in Ontario.  They mentioned that they have secured 5 million N95 masks, and that they are coming in on a “rolling procurement”, meaning that as they get them, they are shipping them out.  Responding to direct questions about individual hospitals, the Premier and Minister committed to having a call with all hospitals to make sure that they are getting them the materials that they need.   The Minister also discussed protocols being in place to move resources around to support those hospitals that may have their ICUs overrun with COVID-19 patients.
  • The provincial cabinet will be discussing a new emergency measure to limit public gathering to 5 people (down from 50).  The exceptions are essential businesses, childcare facilities and families of five or more.

Federal and Provincial Government Measures and Ontario’s Action Plan

Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North-Burlington and Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North-Burlington share a joint update (March 23-27) regarding COVID-19 and how the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are supporting Canadians during this pandemic. Also, below is the Ontario Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which includes $7 billion in additional resources […]

Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North-Burlington and Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North-Burlington share a joint update (March 23-27) regarding COVID-19 and how the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are supporting Canadians during this pandemic.

Also, below is the Ontario Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, which includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs.

___________________________________________

Joint ONB Weekly Update: March 23-27

Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North-Burlington and Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North-Burlington are addressing constituents today in a joint update regarding COVID-19. Constituents have questions about how the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are supporting Canadians during this Pandemic. MP Damoff and MPP Triantafilopoulos are working in collaboration and with their municipal partners to make sure that the residents of Oakville North-Burlington are informed about initiatives being implemented by all levels of government through one accessible update. MP Pam Damoff and MPP Triantafilopoulos are speaking regularly, coordinating our efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of the people of Oakville North-Burlington. MP Damoff and MPP Triantafilopoulos will be releasing a joint update every Friday for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

For information about COVID-19, please visit:

Canada:  www.canada.ca/coronavirus
Ontario: www.ontario.ca/coronavirus
Halton Region: www.halton.ca/COVID19

UPDATE FROM PARLIAMENT HILL

Our government has been responding to the COVID-19 crisis and this week passed legislation to support Canadians during this unprecedented crisis.

The legislation will see $52 billion of direct relief and $55 billion in tax deferrals for Canadians. This legislation includes the following initiatives, amongst others:

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit to provide $500 per week to Canadians who lose income due to COVID-19. This is a simpler more streamlined benefit comprising both the care and support streams announced on March 18, 2020.
  • An increase to the Canada Child Benefit by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year.
  • A special payment under the GST credit to low- and modest-income families.
  • A reduction of the minimum Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) withdrawal to help protect seniors’ retirement savings.
  • A temporary wage subsidy for three months to eligible Small and Medium Sized businesses.
  • Measures to prevent shortages of patented drugs or medical devices.
  • A pause on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for six months.
  • Support provinces and territories with a COVID-19 Response Fund including one-time funding of $500 million through the Canada Health Transfer
  • Additional Flexibility to support businesses as necessary through the EDC, BDC, Farm Credit Canada and the Canada Count.

MP Damoff is providing Oakville North-Burlington with regular updates via email and social media.  Residents can sign up at www.mpdamoff.ca

Canada Emergency Response Benefit 

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit was introduced this week and will provide $2,000 a month, for the next 4 months, for workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19. If you have lost your job because of COVID-19 – whether you’re full-time, contract, or self-employed –this new benefit is there for you. If you are sick or quarantined, looking after someone sick, or at home taking care of your kids – it’s there for you. And even if you’re still employed, but not receiving income because of this crisis – the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is there for you.

The Government is aiming to launch the application portal for this new benefit on Monday, April 6th. People should start receiving money within 10 days of applying. As more information is released about the portal and the application process

While details are still being finalized, at the present time the benefit will be available to workers residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old, and who:

  • have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the year prior to their application from any or a combination of the following sources: employment, self-employment, Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits, and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP); and
  • are without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in a four-week period, for reasons related to COVID-19, including if they have temporarily stopped working, lost their job, are sick or in quarantine, or need to care for a child or a family member.

If you have already applied for EI related to the loss of your income due to the spread of COVID-19, It is important to note that you do not need to reapply for this new benefit. The benefit will be applied retroactively to March 15th and will end on October 3rd, 2020. As new information about the application process becomes available, it will be shared via social media and on her website.

It is also important to note that this benefit will stack with the other measures that the government announced last week. The Canada Child Benefit will still be boosted. The special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit will still help the most vulnerable. Click here to see Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan.

Support for Business

Small and Medium Sized Businesses are the backbone of our economy. Entrepreneurs and business owners have had to make difficult decisions to let employees go and close their doors. People are struggling to get by, that is why the Federal Government has implemented further supports to help Small and Medium Sized Businesses.

The Government of Canada will be increasing the 10% wage subsidy for Small and Medium Sized Businesses, as well as Not-For-Profits to 75%, so business owners can keep employees on the pay roll even if business has slowed down. The subsidy will be backdated to March 15th, details about the subsidy will be released in the coming days.

Businesses are also struggling with cashflow, because of this, our government has launched the Canada Emergency Business Account. This is a guaranteed loan of $40,000 offered by Banks to qualifying businesses. This loan will be interest free in the first year, and depending on certain conditions, $10,000 will be forgivable. There will also be an additional $12.5 billion allocated to Small and Medium Sized Businesses for cash flow purposes through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank. Businesses will be able to apply to their financial institution for a guaranteed loan to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

We will also be helping businesses to keep money that would otherwise be sent to the Canadian government, by deferring GST/HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports until June 2020. This is the equivalent of a $30 billion interest free loan to businesses.

Small and Medium Sized Businesses and Not-For-Profits are essential parts of our economy. When they struggle, our community struggles.  It is important that the federal government takes strong fiscal action so employees and employers can make ends meets during this global pandemic.

Quarantine Act

On Wednesday the Government of Canada implemented the Quarantine Act to mandate that any person entering Canada by air, sea or land self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.

The order mandating self-isolation is now fully implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at points of entry. The Government of Canada will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order. Failure to comply with this Order is an offense under the Quarantine Act. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.

All individuals permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services. Individuals exempt from the Order will still need to practice social distancing and self-monitoring and contact their local public health authority if they feel sick. To aid people and businesses who are engaging in essential trade and services the CBSA has launched an information service line which is available 24/7. For the most up-to-date information related to cross border travel and business, please call 1-800-461-9999.

Individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 after arriving in Canada may not use public transportation to travel to their place of isolation. They also may not isolate in a place where they will be in contact with vulnerable people, such as seniors and individuals with underlying health conditions. 

UPDATE FROM QUEEN’S PARK

The emergency declaration issued by the Ontario Government continues and the number one priority of the government right now is ensuring that our frontline health care professionals have the resources they need to fight the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. We should all pay tribute to their hard work and sacrifice in keeping our families safe. While supporting our health services, we are working to ensure that people and jobs are protected as much as possible, and that businesses have the cash flow they need to get through the coming months. In total, the Ontario Government has committed to a $17 billion response including increased resources for health care and direct support for people and jobs. 

We will work to ensure that health care, communities and the economy can face the challenges ahead. The plan dedicated $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund, as part of the additional health care investments, as well as an unprecedented $2.5 billion reserve and an increased contingency fund of $1.3 billion to provide continued flexibility to respond to changing global circumstances. These additional resources will enhance hospital capacity, protect our loved ones in long-term care and support our public health teams working to flatten the curve.

Sign up for regular updates via email HERE

You will find details of our Action Plan below:

HEALTH CARE INVESTMENTS

  • Committing to a dedicated $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emerging needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Investing $935 million for the hospital sector, including $594 million to accelerate progress on the government’s commitment to address capacity issues, as well as $341 million for an additional 1,000 acute care beds, 500 critical care beds and over 70 additional assessment centres.
  • Increasing public health funding by $160 million to support COVID-19 monitoring, surveillance, and laboratory and home testing, while also investing in virtual care and Telehealth Ontario.
  • Investing $243 million for surge capacity in the long-term care sector, as well as funding for 24/7 screening, more staffing to support infection control, and supplies and equipment to help tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff to tackle COVID-19.

Emergency Child Care for Frontline Health Workers
Providing emergency childcare options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers – nurses, personal support workers, doctors, and police officers, firefighters and correctional officers Investment of $3 million a day. 

PROTECTING PEOPLE AND JOBS
Supporting Families and Seniors

  • Helping families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare 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.
  • Doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months.
  • Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works to provide $52 million in financial support to people facing economic hardship and help more people meet basic needs such as food and rent during this public health emergency

Supporting Students by OSAP deferral

  • Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students, leaving more money in people’s pockets.

Off-Peak Electricity Rates for Families, Farms & Small Business

  • Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, which is an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget plan.
  • Further supporting more affordable electricity bills by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.

Support for Charitable and Non-profit Organizations

  • Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19, by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs.

Support for Indigenous Peoples

  • Providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.

    $10 BILLION TO SUPPORT CASH FLOW FOR BUSINESSES

  • Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes; this will add flexibility to 100,000 small and medium size businesses.
  • Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.
  • Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax Credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit

Business Support & Cutting Taxes for 57,000 employers

  • Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption (90% of private sector will not pay employer taxes).

Flexibility for Municipalities on Education Property Tax

  • Over $1.8 billion by deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.

Sincerely,
Pam and Effie.

___________________________________________

Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
March 25, 2020 4:00 P.M.

Premier Ford and Minister Phillips Announce Additional Health Care Resources and Support for People, Jobs and Employers

TORONTO — Today (March 25, 2020), Finance Minister Rod Phillips released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 (March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update).

The government’s action plan is a first step in its response to COVID-19 and includes $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. It also will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.

This $17 billion response is a critical first step to ensure our health care system, communities and economy are positioned to weather the challenges ahead. The plan includes historic levels of prudence, including a dedicated $1 billion COVID-19 contingency fund, as part of the additional health care investments, as well as an unprecedented $2.5 billion reserve and an increased contingency fund of $1.3 billion to provide continued flexibility to respond to changing global circumstances.

The plan includes $3.3 billion in additional health care resources to protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario.

“As Finance Minister, my number one priority right now is ensuring that our front-line health care professionals have the resources they need to fight the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Minister Phillips. “The people of Ontario can have confidence that we will do whatever it takes to protect their health and well-being. These additional resources will enhance hospital capacity, protect our loved ones in long-term care, and support our public health officials’ work to flatten the curve and slow the spread.”

Health

  • Committing to a dedicated $1.0 billion COVID-19 contingency fund for emerging needs related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Investing $935 million for the hospital sector, including $594 million to accelerate progress on the government’s commitment to address capacity issues, as well as $341 million for an additional 1,000 acute care and 500 critical care beds and additional assessment centres.
  • Increasing public health funding by $160 million to support COVID-19 monitoring, surveillance, and laboratory and home testing, while also investing in virtual care and Telehealth Ontario.
  • Investing $243 million for surge capacity in the long-term care sector, as well as funding for 24/7 screening, more staffing to support infection control, and supplies and equipment to help tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line staff to tackle COVID-19.

As part of the action plan, the Province also announced $3.7 billion to directly and urgently support people and to protect jobs.

“During this global pandemic, I want the people of Ontario to be focused on their health — not worrying about losing their job or how to make ends meet as they deal with unexpected additional expenses,” said Minister Phillips. “We are helping make life a little more manageable for every person in Ontario, while providing additional support to those who need it the most.”

Key initiatives in the government’s plan to strengthen its response to the COVID-19 outbreak and support people, families, workers and employers include:

People and Jobs

  • Helping families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare 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.
  • Proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for low-income seniors for six months.
  • Supporting more affordable electricity bills for eligible residential, farm and small business consumers, by providing approximately $5.6 billion for electricity cost relief programs in 2020-21, which is an increase of approximately $1.5 billion compared to the 2019 Budget plan.
  • Further supporting more affordable electricity bills by setting electricity prices for residential, farm and small business time-of-use customers at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day for 45 days to support ratepayers in their increased daytime electricity usage as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, addressing concerns about time-of-use metering.
  • Cutting taxes by $355 million for about 57,000 employers through a proposed temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption.
  • Providing $9 million in direct support to families for their energy bills by expanding eligibility for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) and ensuring that their electricity and natural gas services are not disconnected for nonpayment during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Providing emergency child care options to support parents working on the front lines, such as health care workers, police officers, firefighters and correctional officers.
  • Expanding access to the emergency assistance program administered by Ontario Works to provide financial support to people facing economic hardship and help more people meet basic needs such as food and rent during this public health emergency.
  • Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19, by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs.
  • Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief for students, leaving more money in people’s pockets.
  • Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax Credit, the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit.
  • Providing additional supports of $26 million to Indigenous peoples and communities, including emergency assistance for urban Indigenous people in financial need, and costs for health care professionals and critical supplies to reach remote First Nations.

The government’s plan also includes measures that will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flows over the coming months, including:

  • Making available $6 billion by providing five months of interest and penalty relief for businesses to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
  • Over $1.8 billion by deferring the upcoming June 30 quarterly municipal remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days, which will provide municipalities the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals to residents and businesses, while ensuring school boards continue to receive their funding.
  • Making available $1.9 billion by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for up to six months.

“We’re taking responsible steps to lessen the burden for businesses and people,” said Minister Phillips. “Together, these actions can free up as much as $10 billion in cash flows for businesses and people in these uncertain times, helping protect jobs and household budgets.”

QUICK FACTS

  • The March 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update provides planning assumptions for the year ahead. The government will provide regular updates of the Province’s fiscal and economic outlook throughout the year.
  • The Province is projecting a deficit of $9.2 billion in 2019–20, an improvement of $1.1 billion relative to the 2019 Budget. As a result of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government is planning for a deficit of $20.5 billion in 2020–21.
  • Ontario’s $2.5 billion reserve in 2020–21 is the highest ever in history.
  • The government will release a multi-year provincial Budget by November 15, 2020. This responsible approach will allow the government to continue assessing the economic situation and put forward a long-term outlook based on the most recent and reliable data.

Construction Guideline For COVID-19 from the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA)

This document has been approved for circulation by the respective Co-chairs of the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee – Section 21 Construction and the Provincial Labour Management Safety Committee – Section 21 Electrical Utility COVID-19: What you need to know about Health and Safety and Working On-Site Introduction This document is a collection […]

This document has been approved for circulation by the respective Co-chairs of the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee – Section 21 Construction and the Provincial Labour Management Safety Committee – Section 21 Electrical Utility

COVID-19: What you need to know about Health and Safety and Working On-Site

Introduction

This document is a collection of resources, best practices and information links designed to help construction employers understand their rights and responsibilities while operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not a legal document and all employers are advised to seek legal advice as part of their overall due diligence process.

While the situation is changing daily, the legislation and regulations used to govern Ontario’s workplaces has not. Employers still have the duty to keep workers and work sites safe and free of hazards and workers still have the right to refuse unsafe work. Effective communication of new safety procedures and policies will help ensure positive outcomes.

In order to address COVID-19 concerns find below the following resources:

  1. COVID-19 Government Announcements
  2. On-Site Best Practices
  3. Additional Safety Resources and Guides
  4. Other Resources
  1. Covid-19 Government Announcements:

All levels of government are issuing announcements daily. To stay updated please use the following official links:

  1. On-Site Best Practices

The health and safety of workers is a top concern and increased focus on health and safety is required to keep job-sites open. Below are resources, tips, and best practices employers should follow during the COVID-19 situation:

a) Personal Hygiene: Everyone can take individual steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Personal hygiene tips include:

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
–  Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and wash your hands afterwards
– Avoid commonly touched areas including handrails, public transit poles or ensure you clean your hands after
– Open doors and touch elevator buttons with gloves, the back of your hand, or other body part or activate the wheelchair accessibility button with the back of your hand, elbow or knee if possible
– Wash your clothes as soon as you get home
– Notify your supervisor immediately if you are sick and contact public health.

b) Illness Reporting: The symptoms of COVID-19 are shared with many other illnesses including the cold and flus. At this time, it is recommended that any worker who is experiencing any symptoms should be sent home. In addition, Employer should advise all workers experiencing symptoms to complete the self-assessment on the Ontario COVID website and follow instruction there, or CALL telehealth (1-866-797-0000), your local public health unit or your family physician. Public Health is the leading authority for all issues related to COVID-19 and only they can provide detailed instructions to employees and employers. PLEASE NOTE additional resources, policies, and procedures are being developed to provide additional support in this area

c) Communicate: Communication is key, and a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities will be key. Everyone will need ensure health and safety policies are updated and posted for all employees to see. Use industry resources including those produced by the IHSA will improve on site understanding.

d) Policies: All employers need to have COVID-19 policies that are posted and communicated with to all employees and contractors/trades. This includes how the site will operate including but not limited to the sanitization of sites, how employees and contractors report illnesses, how to ensure social distancing, and how work will be scheduled.

e) Social Distancing: As outlined in several government announcements Social Distancing is required to control the spread of COVID-19. In order to ensure social distancing on site, Employers should consider the following:

– Staggered Start times
– Staggered breaks
– Staggered lunches
– Total number of people on-site and where they are assigned to work

Site movement (where higher potential of workers gathering including personal and material hoists and site trailers)

f) On-site Sanitation: As outlined in several government documents, on-site sanitation is paramount. All employers have an obligation to increase the sanitization of sites. Areas of focus should include:

– Access to soap and water (ways to properly sanitize hands
– Washroom facilities
– Commonly touched surfaces or areas (hoists / site-trailers / door handles/ equipment or residential units)
– Limit unnecessary on-site contact between workers and between workers and outside service providers and encourage physical distancing in these areas. (i.e.: remove coffee trucks from site)

g) Adjust On-Site and Production Schedules: In order to keep sites open, production schedules will need to change as impacts of social distancing will impact productivity. Owners and trades will need to collaborate to ensure there is a clear understanding of how production will be impacted. Schedules should consider:

– Need for social distancing including staggered work schedules
– Sanitation of Sites and workspaces
– Reduction of workers (i.e.: in low-rise do not schedule multiple crews in the same unit)
– Work-site mobility and transportation including personal and material hoisting operations

h) Track and Monitor your workforce. Due to the latency period of COVID-19, it is important to track when workers report an illness as well as where they have worked. In the case of a positive test, Public Health will ask Employers to provide information on where an Employee worked as well as the contact information of anyone who may have been exposed. The better employers track information, the better Public Health can respond.

  1. Additional Safety Resources and Guidelines

Public Health Ontario – is the leading provincial authority for the most up-to-date resources on COVID19, including:

– links to linked to evolving public health guidelines, position statements, and situational updates;
–  synopsis of key articles updating on the latest findings related to the virus;
– recommendations for use of personal protective equipment;
– testing information; and,
– other public resources

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – is providing consistent updates on the provincial government response to the outbreak, including:

– Status of cases in Ontario;
– Current affected areas;
– symptoms and treatments;
– how to protect yourself and self-isolate; and,
– updated Ontario news on the virus

Health Canada – outlines the actions being taken by the Government of Canada, as well as what is happening in provinces and communities across the country related to the virus. It also maintains a live update of the number of confirmed cases and probable cases by province.

World Health Organization – is updating on the latest guidance and information related to the global outbreak and spread beyond Canadian borders. It also is providing the most up-to-date information on:

– current research and development around the virus;
– a COVID-19 situation “dashboard”;
– emergency preparedness measures; and,
– live media updates on the spread of the virus

IHSA – is an excellent source of Health and Safety information and tools. https://www.ihsa.ca/COVID-19

4.Other Resources

There are a host of additional resources available to help address the ongoing COVID19 outbreak that are aimed at the construction and design industries. Resources include:

Local 793 Safety Protocol for Jobsite Measures

Message on behalf of Business Manager Mike Gallagher: I would like to update members on the new IUOE Local 793 Safety Protocol for Jobsite Measures that our union has developed and circulated to some employers, municipalities, the federal COVID-19 cabinet committee and to Canadian Regional Director Lionel Railton. The Safety Protocol for Jobsite Measures was […]

Message on behalf of Business Manager Mike Gallagher:

I would like to update members on the new IUOE Local 793 Safety Protocol for Jobsite Measures that our union has developed and circulated to some employers, municipalities, the federal COVID-19 cabinet committee and to Canadian Regional Director Lionel Railton.

The Safety Protocol for Jobsite Measures was developed by Local 793 because of the urgent need to ensure that construction workers are able to go to work and come home safely. Every protective measure contained in the protocol was based on advice from national and international health experts.

Although the Safety Protocol for Jobsite Measures is an excellent template and should be used by the industry in a perfect world, we are not in a perfect world. For example, many of our employers are donating their N95 respirator mask to frontline health workers. This means that the masks will not be available to our members until some unknown time in the future. As the common expression goes ‘you can’t drive a round peg into a square hole.’

I’m of the opinion that most of our employers want to do the right thing and would embrace a safety protocol but they don’t want to commit to what they can’t comply with. It’s hard to blame them for that.
Therefore, I have reached out to EllisDon Labour Relations manager Tom Howell and after a frank conversation, he has agreed to sit down with Local 793’s Labour Relations department and discuss a coordinated effort to develop a policy.

I have also spoke to Regional Director Railton and asked for the Canadian Building Trades safety protocol. He informed me that he has been assigned to their committee and that they are working on an industry policy.

We will spend a short period of time trying to reach a jointly endorsed policy with general contractors and owner clients. In the meantime, Local 793 will continue to enforce best practices contained in the union’s safety protocol and Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Any member disciplined or fired for wishing to remain home during the 14-day self-isolation period must be protected. This is especially true if they have underlying health conditions.

Stay safe, healthy and take care of your families.

Fraternally yours,
Mike Gallagher
Business Manager

Business Manager, Supervisors and Business Reps visit jobsites across Ontario

Business Manager Mike Gallagher and Toronto Area Supervisor Dave Turple paid a visit to working Local 793 members on Monday as part of a province-wide effort by all Area Supervisors and Business Representatives to service jobsites, speak to members and see how they are doing. “If members are working, I want our reps out there […]

Business Manager Mike Gallagher and Toronto Area Supervisor Dave Turple paid a visit to working Local 793 members on Monday as part of a province-wide effort by all Area Supervisors and Business Representatives to service jobsites, speak to members and see how they are doing.

“If members are working, I want our reps out there making sure you’re okay,” Gallagher told a group of Local 793 members working at a GFL site at Weston Road and Finch Avenue in Toronto.

“And that includes me,” he added. “I can’t be Business Manager of this organization by hiding in my house. I want to get out and see our guys and make sure they are safe. We know how difficult these circumstances are for you and your families.”

Watch a video of the jobsite visit HERE.

Monday’s jobsite visits across the province happened just hours before Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the province to help deal with the spread of COVID-19.

The order comes into effective Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and will be in place for at least 14 days.

The government released the list of businesses it considers essential, including construction projects. Various project types will be able to continue to operate as essential services, including:

  • Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
  • Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
  • Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors.
  • Construction work and services that supports health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects.

Various forms of mining were also deemed as essential services, including:

  • Mining operations, production and processing.
  • Mineral exploration and development.
  • Mining Supply and Services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety.
  • Businesses that provide chemicals and gases to support the natural resource sector analytical labs and drinking water and wastewater sectors and other essential businesses.
  • Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of forestry products (e.g. lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.).
  • Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.).
  • Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of petroleum and petroleum by-products.

For complete list of Ontario’s essential services, click here.

Amid reports of unsanitary, crowded conditions at some construction sites, Business Manager Gallagher had advice for members concerned about their safety.

“I will never stand in front of you and say I want you to go to work if it’s not safe to work. Not a chance. I will never jeopardize our members health and safety.

“If you don’t feel safe, don’t work.”

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Letter from Business Manager Mike Gallagher to Toronto Mayor Tory

Office of the Mayor City Hall, 2nd Floor 100 Queen St., W. Toronto, ON M5H 2N2 Dear Mayor Tory, I am the Business Manager of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, and I am writing to you to express my profound disappointment with the City of Toronto’s Chief Engineer Michael D’ Andrea’s […]

Office of the Mayor
City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St., W.
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Dear Mayor Tory,

I am the Business Manager of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, and I am writing to you to express my profound disappointment with the City of Toronto’s Chief Engineer Michael D’ Andrea’s letter to General Contractors, which has been forwarded to my attention.

In his letter, Mr. D’Andrea advises that contractors emphasize on deadlines and suggested that contractors breach collective agreement obligations in order to adhere to contract schedules.

Dated March 20, 2020, Mr. D’Andrea wrote:

“The City considers the management of existing contracts a priority …. It is the expectation of the City that contractors abide by the terms and conditions of the contract, which includes adherence to contract schedules … We expect general contractors to make best efforts to mitigate any delays and losses as these issues arise by seeking alternative sources of labour … “

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is completely unacceptable. It is an insult that Mr. D’Andrea would take such a cavalier attitude of disrespect to our hard-working members during this public health crisis.

While many people are working from home, as directed by the federal government, members of IUOE Local 793 and LiUNA are working hard on construction jobsites under difficult circumstance. They should not be made to fear that they will lose their job to non-union individuals; individuals who would be forced to work in unsafe conditions without the proper training or personal protective equipment that our signatory contractors and unions provide.

We object to the complete disregard of workers’ health and safety and the disrespect to the members of LIUNA and IUOE Local 793 that was exhibited in Mr. D’Andrea’s callous and arrogant letter. We demand it be retracted and made clear that workers’ health and safety will be the city’s number one priority.

In these unprecedented circumstances, our membership and our contractors deserve praise on behalf of the City for their efforts and for risking their health in a pandemic. As Mayor, I hope you are able to rise to the occasion and acknowledge our memberships’ dedication.

Yours truly,
Mike Gallagher, Local 793 Business Manager
IUOE International Vice-President

CC:
Mr. Patrick Dillon, Business Manager – Provincial Building Trades Council of Ontario
Mr. James St. John, Business Manager – Central Ontario Building Trades
Mr. Jack Oliveira, Business Manager – LiUNA Local 183 & LiUNA OPDC
Mr. Carmen Principato, Business Manager – LiUNA Local 506
Mr. Joseph Mancinelli, Labourers International Vice President
Mr. Michael D’Andrea, Chief Engineer – City of Toronto