COVID-19 Information & Resources

Message from the Canadian Propane Association

During these challenging times, the Association's top priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of our propane community.

We are working 24/7 on your behalf and talking to all levels of government to ensure your needs are met while keeping everyone safe.  If you face any challenges, please let us know. We are ready to assist to ensure you have the information you need to maintain all of your essential services.

Thank you for your membership and ongoing support. We wish you, your families and colleagues continued health and safety.

CPA Resources

  • The CPA has created several documents to support you during your operations. We invite you to consult them regularly – they will be updated on an on-going basis (disclaimer).
  • Authorization Letter to Travel Between Provinces and Regions: Movements from one region to another are being tightly controlled. It is proposed that a letter be provided to your staff when they need to travel in the controlled regions within a province or between provinces. We invite you to use our model authorization letter: Click here for more information and a model letter. The letter, in Word format, will be uploaded automatically.
  • Disinfection Response Teams: Emergency Response Assistance Canada (ERAC), CPA’S subsidiary, has developed an application displaying disinfection response teams across Canada.

 

Please click on the tabs below for additional detailed information and resources.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES IN CANADA

FEDERAL GOVERNMENTas

Federal - Employers have more time to recall employees laid off due to COVID-19 : The federal government has announced changes to extend time periods for temporary layoffs to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees

Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily lay off their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided, or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date, before the lay-off became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first. 
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights. They also do not apply to employees whose employment had already been terminated prior to the coming into force of the amendments. The previous rules will apply to layoffs occurring after September 30, 2020.

New website for Personal Potective Equipment launched: The Government of Canada has launched a new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supply Web Hub to bring together information for organizations buying and selling PPE. The hub connects Canadian organizations with federal, provincial, and private sector resources. If a company has PPE to sell, or supplies needed for the manufacturing of PPE, the hub has the information needed to help. Those looking to buy PPE can find resources on consumer guidance and companies selling PPE. The site is evergreen and content will grow and evolve over time.

New measures for the use of face coverings in the Canadian transportation sector: To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, Transport Canada and the transportation industry have implemented a layered system of measures, such as increased sanitization, health checks for passengers, and allowing passengers to remain in their vehicles on ferries.

However, the government says there are still points in the transportation system where workers must be in close proximity to co-workers and travellers and are therefore expanding the requirements for the use of face coverings by workers and others involved in the transportation system, to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

These measures will be implemented through a combination of mandatory orders and guidance:

Aviation

  • The federal government announced that it will be mandating temperature screening at airports for both travellers and employees in secured areas. Any passenger with a fever will not be permitted to board a flight. Temperature screening will be introduced through a phased approach:

    • Phase 1: By June 30, 2020, all air operators will be required to conduct temperature screenings of all passengers travelling to Canada from abroad prior to departure.
    • Phase 2: By the end of July, temperature screening stations will be placed in the departure section of the Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver airports (the only Canadian airports offering international travel).
    • Phase 3: By September 2020, temperature screening stations will be in place in the departure sections of the next 11 busiest airports in Canada (St. John’s, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, Victoria)

Marine

  • Issue guidance recommending that all workers in the marine transportation sector have in their possession a face covering, and recommend that face coverings be worn using a risk-based approach specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when physical distancing cannot be maintained, and/or when local authorities require it.

Rail

  • Issue guidance requiring rail operators to notify passengers that they will be asked to wear a face covering when physical distancing of two metres from others cannot be maintained, or as requested by rail operators.
  • Provide or make accessible a face covering to all workers in the rail industry.
  • Ensure a face covering be worn by workers on a risk-based approach specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when physical distancing cannot be maintained, and/or when local authorities require it.

Road

  • Establish a set of practices for the use of personal protective equipment, including face coverings in road transportation (i.e., trucking, motor coach, transit), in collaboration with provinces, territories and industry.

The Ministry of Transportation says that where physical distancing of two metres from others cannot be maintained, the use of face coverings can play a key role in limiting transmission of the virus. Existing public health and good hygiene practices including physical distancing and frequent hand washing are still the most effective methods to limit the spread of the virus.

Canada will keep border closed to non-essential travel until August 21: The federal government has extended travel restrictions at all Canadian international border crossings until July 21, 2020. This restriction may be prolonged as necessary for public health reasons.

With the travel restrictions still in place, foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, will not be allowed to enter Canada if they attempt to come for any of the following examples of discretionary (non-essential) travel:

  • opening or checking on a cottage or seasonal home;
  • sightseeing;
  • boating across the border;
  • fishing or hunting;
  • visiting family, friends, partners or a girlfriend, boyfriend or fiancé(e);
  • attending a party or celebration;
  • driving in transit for the purpose of taking a shortcut through Canada to get to a U.S. destination faster; and, picking up a pet.

Canada-US Borders:  Federal government measures that have been put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic may affect members who are required to temporarily cross the Canada-US border to access customers who are living on Canadian island border locations and are only accessible from the United States.  Fore more details, click here.

Government of Canada launches new Personal Protective Equipment Supply Web Hub: The Government of Canada has launched a new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supply Web Hub to bring together information for organizations buying and selling PPE. The hub connects Canadian organizations with federal, provincial, and private sector resources. If a company has PPE to sell, or supplies needed for the manufacturing of PPE, the hub has the information needed to help. Those looking to buy PPE can find resources on consumer guidance and companies selling PPE. The site is evergreen and content will grow and evolve over time.

New PPE matchmaking portal connects producers with businesses: As our economy begins to reopen, many businesses will need to access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help keep their customers and staff safe from COVID-19. Sourcing masks, hand sanitizers and gowns may be challenging, especially for businesses that are new to sourcing this type of equipment, especially with unprecedented global demand for PPE.

To help address this problem, the Canadian industry has contributed to the creation of the Rapid Response Platform (RRP Canada). RRP Canada is free to use and provides a matchmaking service to ‘connect the dots’ between manufacturers and businesses in need of PPE. PPE products on the Rapid Response Platform include hand sanitizer, surgical masks, N95 masks, surface sanitizer, face shields and gowns.

Any Canadian businesses involved in the COVID-related PPE supply chain, and businesses that need to source PPE, are encouraged to register now at RRPCanada.org.

U.S. DOT emergency special permit authorizing cylinder re-qualification expires June 30: Requests for extension due May 1: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) emergency Special Permit 21025 will expire on June 30, 2020. This Special Permit allows the filling and offering for transport certain DOT specification cylinders in hazard class 2.1 and 2.2 that are up to 12 months overdue for periodic requalification.

If your company requested and was granted party status to this Special Permit and you wish to use it beyond the June 30 expiration, you need to request an extension by May 1, 2020, 60 days before the Special Permit expires. 

It is not known whether DOT will extend this Special Permit due to their Notice of Enforcement Discretion issued on April 6. The Notice only applies to hazard class 2.2.

Further details are provided in the Compress Gas Association’s online COVID-19 Industry Toolkit, U.S. Government News & Resources.

Measurement Canada (MC)
MC scales back operations and extends recalibration dates: Measurement Canada, an agency of the Government of Canada's Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, has temporarily closed its calibration service laboratories or is working with significantly reduced staff. Considering this situation, MC will allow certain test (local) standards (e.g. weight kits) and measuring apparatus (e.g. electricity meter consoles) that cannot be calibrated, and that have passed their re-certification date to continue to be used by MC accredited or registered authorized service providers for examinations and verifications for specified periods of time and under certain conditions. Click here for more information.

Public Safety Canada

Guidance on essential services and functions in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic: Public Safety Canada has developed a set of functions deemed essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to help provinces / territories, Indigenous communities, and municipalities protect their communities while maintaining the reliable operation of critical infrastructure services and functions to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of the population. These services and functions can also help the private sector self-identify as essential. 

Transport Canada (TC): Transportation of dangerous goods – extension of certificates to September 30, 2020 – TC has issued two temporary certificates to provide temporary regulatory relief in these areas. TC confirmed this applies all four modes, including ground transport.

TC indicted that they expect this equivalency certificate to only be used when inspection facilities are unable to provide services for this required inspection.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY - If your vehicle is coming due for the inspection, Transport Canada expects that you will make an attempt to set up the inspection.

If it cannot be completed due to unavailability of services due to COVID-19, you are expected to document your efforts (for example, keep copies of correspondence).

Once done, you can continue to use the vehicle as long as you keep a copy of the equivalency certificate in that particular vehicle.

While the CPA feels this change does not protect our industry from unnecessary added contact between personnel, we are ensuring you are aware of Transport Canada’s new expectations regarding the use of this certificate.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact your regional office or the TDG Approvals Division in Ottawa.

Approvals Division (Ottawa)

tdgapprovals-approbationstmd@tc.gc.ca

 

Atlantic Region

TDG-TMDAtlantic@tc.gc.ca

1-866-814-1477

Quebec Region

TMD-TDG.Quebec@tc.gc.ca

514-633-3400

Ontario Region

TDG-TMDOntario@tc.gc.ca

416-973-1868

Prairie and Northern Region

TDG-TMDPNR@tc.gc.ca

1-888-463-0521

Pacific Region

TDGPacific-TMDPacifique@tc.gc.ca

604-666-2955

Hand sanitizer shipments

Temporary certificate to address transporting hand sanitizer : Transport Canada is aware that Canadian industry has been asked to reorganize its operations to manufacture essential medical supplies, such as hand sanitizer. They understand that many new producers of hand sanitizers do not necessarily have the required transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) training or the appropriate resources to handle, offer for transport, or transport this dangerous goods in compliance with the TDG Act.                                             

Given these challenges, Transport Canada has revised temporary certificate TU 0752 to address hand sanitizer enclosed in an overpack. Please find it attached. The Minister authorizes the handling, offering for transport, or transport of hand sanitizer by issuing a temporary certificate under subsection 31(2.1) of the TDG Act. This certificate takes into account existing safety and TDG requirements and the fact that these new producers of hand sanitizers are not familiar with these requirements.  For any additional questions, please contact tdgpermits-permistmd@tc.gc.ca

Transport Canada has also issued a temporary certificate to provide air carriers temporary regulatory relief to provide hand sanitizer shipments by air to communities across Canada. For more information, please click here. For questions, please contact tdgpermits-permistmd@tc.gc.ca.


Hours of service exemption for federally regulated carriers:
Transport Canada, the Provinces and Territories, through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), have approved an hours of service exemption for federally regulated carriers related to the fight against COVID-19.

The purpose of this exemption is to support efforts by extra-provincial truck undertakings and their drivers to transport essential supplies and equipment, in direct assistance to emergency relief efforts during the response to COVID-19. The definition of “direct assistance to the emergency relief efforts” includes fuel.

For more information, click here: Essential Freight Transport Exemption

Driver and vehicle licensing decisions: In response to COVID-19 provinces and territories have made driver and vehicle licensing decisions based on local conditions.  Click here for a table of jurisdictional actions. (Thank you to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators).

TDG Critical Services

Critical Services must continue to be provided to protect the health and safety of Canadians, while providing essential services to the transportation sector:

  • CANUTEC Transport Emergency Centre
  • CANUTEC Registration System (CRS)
  • Response Operations (at incident sites)
  • Response Operations (Assessment and Support)
  • Temporary Certificates
  • Emergency Certificates

Extension of the production of the report on the limit of greenhouse gas emissions by 4 months

Notice of intent to amend the Output-Based Pricing System Regulations

The purpose of this notice is to announce the intent to amend the Output-Based Pricing System Regulations (OBPS Regulations), made under sections 192 and 193 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the Act). The amending regulations would implement the measures set out below taken in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The first annual report under the OBPS Regulations is required to be submitted on or before June 1, 2020. The amending regulations would postpone this deadline by four months and require that the annual report related to the 2019 compliance period be submitted on or before October 1, 2020.

The amending regulations would also delay compliance deadlines, for the 2019 period, by four months. Therefore, the regular-rate compensation deadline for the 2019 compliance period would be April 15, 2021, instead of December 15, 2020 and the increased-rate compensation deadline would be June 15, 2021, instead of February 15, 2021.

Output-Based Pricing System

Labour shortages: According to a Public Safety Canada memo, labour shortages resulting from COVID-19 will have impacts beyond long-term care homes. The procurement of medical goods, the stability of the food supply chain, and the maintenance of our power grids, banking and telecommunications networks could also be impacted as essential workers choose to stay home out of fear.

Control to Federal? It should be noted that the Premiers oppose the use of the Emergencies Act and made their position clear in a letter sent to the Prime Minister on April 15.

PROVINCIAL ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Gathering limitation across the provinces: 

As provinces begin to further open up across Canada, the size of groups for indoor and outdoor public and private gatherings are being adjusted. To assist you in determining if you are able to host a training session, and under what conditions, please consult the links below.

Note that some of these measures may not reflect specific guidelines related to training in classrooms. The CPA is continuing to look into more specific information as it relates to classroom training for our industry.

In all cases, a distance of two metres must be maintained at any type of gathering. In most provinces, face masks are recommended where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Please refer to the CPA's Best practices recommended during COVID-19 - Measures for Reopening your Retail Operations, produced to assist you in hosting a training session during COVID-19.

The gathering limitation numbers that have been modified are in bold below.

BC 
Indoor and outdoor – 6

Alberta
Indoor – less than 15
Outdoor – less than 50

Saskatchewan
Indoor  – 15
Outdoor - 30

Manitoba
Indoors – 25
Outdoors – 50

Ontario (effective June 12)
Indoor - 10
Outdoor - 10

Religious gatherings – 30% of building capacity

Quebec
Indoor* and Outdoors – 10

**Note that Indoor gatherings will not be allowed in the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Joliette and L’Épiphanie until June 22. 

New Brunswick
Indoor : 10
Outdoor - 50

Nova Scotia
Indoor and outdoor – 10 people, unless your group has an exemption.

Prince Edward Island 
Indoor – 15
Outdoor - 20

Newfoundland & Labrador
Gatherings – 20 people

Gatherings apply to essential or official events/ceremonies and include essential workplace activities such as certification or training

Associates:Provinces have begun reopening their economies across the country – click here for an overview of provincial schedules, created by Temple Scott Associates.

Measures for Reopening your Retail Operations: Advice for restarting retail operations.

British Columbia

Essential services: In British-Columbia, propane is on the provincial essential services list. The B.C. government has formally extended the provincial state of emergency to June 23, 2020. Click here for information on BC's Restart Plan. 

Training: During or prior to being able to complete the required training for re-certification: Employees can continue to perform their duties on an interim basis for three (3) months post expiry of their certificate. This will only be allowed until social distancing rules are removed. Please click here for provincial status update.

Drivers licences: The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is allowing British Columbians to extend their expiring driver’s licence remotely. For more information, click here: ICBC.

BC - British Columbia begins next phase of safe restart plan : B.C. is entering Phase 3 of its four-phase restart plan, with British Columbians allowed to travel within the province. International travellers returning to B.C. are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan.

For everyone travelling to and within B.C.: Travellers are expected to pre-plan their trip, respect local travel advisories, not travel if sick, and practice physical distancing of two metres and good hygiene.

B.C. has also extended their state of emergency until end of day on July 7, 2020.

BC government restarts significant portion of BC's Phase 2 activities: June 1 marked the restart of a significant portion of BC’s Phase 2 activities. K-12 schools have reopened to in-class learning, transit systems are fully operational, and some provincial parks are now open to overnight camping.

Where safe physical distancing may be challenging, such as on a bus, the BC government recommends wearing non-medical masks. All employers must demonstrate that they can operate safely and are required under the Workers Compensation Act to ensure the safety of their employees at work. Employers should review the updated Health and Safety Guidelines, best practices and other resources from WorkSafeBC.

British Columbia's re-opening plan: B.C. is the latest province to announce its phased approach to re-opening the economy. While the province never ordered non-essential businesses to close, it did order certain sectors to close such as bars and dine-in restaurants.

The government also stated that it plans to re-commit to its climate action plan during the economic recovery.

Phase 2, to begin May 19, includes:

  • Small gatherings (5 people or fewer)
  • More retail businesses to re-open (e.g. some pubs, hair salons, clothing stores, etc.). WorkplaceBC is developing industry-specific guidance for different sectors to bring back workers and customers.
  • Legislature to resume sitting, with specific protocols to be implemented

Phase 3, to occur between June and September 2020, if infection rates continue to decline, will include more businesses re-opening – e.g. movie theatres, spas, and the film sector.

Phase 4 (full economic operations) will only occur “when the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly diminished through widespread vaccination, broad successful treatments, evidence of community immunity, or the equivalent”. No rock concerts, sporting events, and conventions will occur in B.C. until Phase 4.

B.C.’s Occupiers Liability Act and COVID-19: what business owners need to know: One of the most important obligations that business owners should be aware of is their duty to ensure the safety of their business premises, even during the on-going pandemic. Recently, the B.C. government released a ministerial order that provides important legal protections for certain businesses that continue to operate during the pandemic.

 Occupiers Liability Act

In B.C., the Occupiers Liability Act (“OLA”) outlines the legal obligations that occupiers owe to persons visiting their premises.

 Under the OLA, an occupier owes a legal duty to take “reasonable care” that persons are “reasonably safe” while visiting the occupier’s premises.[2] This duty applies to the (i) condition of the premises, (ii) activities on the premises, or (iii) the conduct of third parties on the premises.[3] 

 How does the Occupiers Liability Act apply during the COVID-19 pandemic?: On April 22, 2020 the Provincial Government issued Ministerial Order M120 (the “Order”), which limits certain legal liabilities related to COVID-19 for individuals or businesses that provide essential services during the pandemic. The Order grants essential service providers immunity from damages that result “directly or indirectly, from an individual being or likely being infected with or exposed to SARS-CoV-2 as a result of the person’s operating or providing an essential service”.

To qualify for the protections of the Order, a person must have been operating or providing the essential service in “accordance with all applicable emergency and public health guidance” or have reasonably believed that they were doing so.

Importantly, the protections of the Order do not apply to a person that is “grossly negligent” in operating or providing the essential service. All businesses should ensure they remain up-to-date on the latest public health guidelines issued regarding COVID-19 to ensure they meet their obligations under the Order and qualify for its protections. The Order will end on the date that the state of emergency declared by the Provincial Government is lifted.

B.C. Emergency Order Permits Virtual-Only Shareholder Meetings:
The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia has published a temporary order (Ministerial Order No. M116)  under the Emergency Program Act which provides greater certainty and additional flexibility to incorporated companies looking to hold virtual-only shareholder meetings during the 2020 proxy season.

However, in order to hold a virtual-only meeting, the Order requires that certain conditions must be satisfied:

  • The notice of meeting must provide instructions for attending at or participating in the meeting by the communications medium, including instructions for how to vote at the meeting;
  • All persons participating in the meeting must be able to communicate with each other and, if applicable, vote at the meeting; and
  • The person responsible for holding the meeting facilitates the use of the communications medium.

The order applies from April 21, 2020 until the date on which the last extension of the declaration of a state of emergency made March 18, 2020 expires or is cancelled.

Protection for staff ensuring essential services: The province is taking steps to protect those providing essential services by ensuring they cannot be held liable for damages caused by exposure to COVID-19 while continuing to operate, so long as they are complying with orders from the provincial health officer and other authorities. Other provinces are considering a similar approach.

Essential service providers who are not compliant with respective authorities or who are grossly negligent will not receive protection under the order and will be held liable for damages. The order only applies to situations related to COVID-19 and will remain in effect for as long as the state of emergency remains in place. Additionally, it will continue to protect essential service providers until any relevant limitation periods have expired.

Carbon tax relief: The B.C. government is providing a carbon tax relief to commercial vegetable, floriculture, wholesale nursery and forest seedling operations. Natural gas and propane consumed for heating and producing CO2 for the production of eligible crops within a production greenhouse is eligible.

Fuel burnt for other purposes, such as heating residential, office, packing or processing area, or non-eligible crop production area, vehicles, forklifts or to produce electricity in a CHP engine - is ineligible.

Alberta

Essential services: In Alberta, propane is on the provincial essential services list. 

Training: Alberta Municipal Affairs indicated that Alberta is issuing a 120-day extension of training for PTI, understanding the need to protect everyone involved.

Alberta reinstates environmental reporting earlier than planned: Alberta will reinstate environmental reporting on July 15, four weeks earlier than planned “now that the public health emergency is no longer in effect.” Reporting had been suspended earlier this spring on account of health and staffing concerns related to the virus.

Alberta entered stage two of its relaunch strategy on June 12, after strong testing data shows COVID-19 cases in Alberta were lower than expected. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, 20 million free, non-medical masks are now available to Albertans at drive-thrus across the province (June 8). 

Stage 2 allows additional businesses and services to reopen and resume operations starting June 12 with physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines in place. Business operators, sport and recreation services can determine if they are ready to open and ensure all guidance for workplaces is met.

Events and gatherings can be larger in stage 2

  • 50 people maximum: indoor social gatherings, including wedding and funeral receptions, and birthday parties
  • 100 people maximum: outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events, including wedding and funeral ceremonies.

More flexibility for ‘cohort’ groups – small groups of people whose members do not always keep 2 metres apart:

  • households can increase their close interactions with other households to a maximum of 15 people.

Reopening requirements: Businesses that are eligible to reopen must comply with the guidelines set out in the CMOH orders.

 Public written re-opening plans no longer required: Initially, the CMOH orders required businesses to complete and post a written plan setting out how the business would meet the above noted requirements. However, subsequent CMOH orders repealed this requirement (CMOH Order 21-2020 and CMOH Order 22-2020). Accordingly, a written re-opening plan is now voluntary for all businesses that are re-opening under stage 1 of the relaunch strategy or which have remained open since before stage 1 commenced.

Going forward: Guidance regarding reopening requirements continues to develop. However, Alberta Biz Connect provides guidance and operational planning documents for specific sectors, such as industrial work camps, retail and restaurants. 

Drivers licences: Upcoming expiry dates for Alberta drivers’ licences, identification cards, vehicle registrations, other permits and certificates are being extended until May 15.

Vehicle registration: Vehicle registrations expire on an assigned month based on the registrant’s surname or a company name. Albertans and companies with registrations expiring in March and April (including those whose last names begin with B, D, G, Y) will now have until May 15, 2020 to renew their vehicle registrations.

Road tests: Effective March 20, Alberta commercial and passenger road tests have been suspended for at least 4 weeks. Road tests will resume when it is safe to do so. Albertans who have a road test scheduled will be able to rebook online as of April 17, 2020 for a test on April 20, 2020 or later, at no additional charge. Alberta is working with the commercial carrier industry to determine whether there are any urgent driving tests that need to be held in order to support maintaining delivery of essential goods, such as food and medical supplies.

Norton Rose Fulbright: Legal update on AER clarifications for reporting requirements: The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) recently provided important clarification on two ministerial orders that suspended a number of reporting requirements applicable to the oil and gas industry. Updates on Alberta Energy ministerial order 219/2020 and Alberta Environment and Parks ministerial order 17/2020 can be found here and here, respectively. Read the legal update on the AER’s clarifications provided by Norton Rose Fulbright.

Alberta’s Reopening Plan: Alberta announced its plan for gradual reopening. Once health objectives are achieved, as early as May 14, Alberta can begin Stage One by opening:

  • All farmers markets and retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores
  • Some personal services like hairstyling and barbershops
  • Museums and art galleries
  • More scheduled surgeries, dental procedures, physiotherapy, etc.
  • Daycares, out-of-school care, and summer camps with occupancy limits
  • Cafés, restaurants with no bar service at 50% capacity
  • Some outdoor recreation.

The timing of Stage Two will be determined by the success of Stage 1 and will:

  • Allow additional businesses and services to reopen and resume operations with 2 metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines. This includes:
    • “Potential” K-12 schools, with restrictions
    • More scheduled surgeries, including backlog elimination
    • Personal services (cosmetic, nail salons, etc.)
    • Movie theatres with restrictions.

The timing of Stage Three is also determined by the success of the previous stages, and will include:

  • Fully reopening all businesses and services, with some limited restrictions
  • Permitting larger gatherings, festivals, concerts and major sports events with some restrictions
  • Permitting nightclubs, gyms, rec centres, arenas, etc., with some restrictions
  • Resuming industry conferences with restrictions.

Each stage will include an evaluation and monitoring period to determine if restrictions should be adjusted up or down. 

Outdoor gathering and physical distancing exemptions for Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo: Due to the emergency flooding situation, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued an exemption to the existing COVID-19 gathering restrictions and mandated physical distancing in outdoor spaces for individuals in the Fort McMurray area who are engaged in flood suppression and prevention activities.

It is recommended these individuals wear personal protective equipment, if available. This exemption has been made because the government says communities need the ability to quickly and collectively respond as a community. 

Can Alberta Employers Require Employees to Wear Face Masks?: 
The Government of Alberta has recently published a guide, the Non-healthcare Workplace Guidance During Covid-19 (the "Guide"), which discusses the use of PPE in non-healthcare workplaces. Before implementing any COVID-19 measures, the Guide instructs employers to conduct hazard assessments to identify existing and potential hazards relating to COVID-19, as required by occupational health and safety legislation (“OHS Legislation”). Any hazards that exist and can be eliminated completely, should be eliminated completely. Any hazards that cannot be eliminated completely, must be controlled. The Guide sets out the following hierarchy of control methods:

  1. Engineering Controls
    These control the hazard at the source. Examples include placing barriers or partitions between staff and the hazard, or ventilation. 
  2. Administrative Controls
    These controls change the way workers, volunteer and patrons interact. Examples include policies for physical distancing, limiting hours of operations, respiratory etiquette, and frequent hand washing.
  3. PPE
    PPE controls the hazard at the worker, volunteer or patron level. PPE is defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Code 2009 Order to include any equipment or clothing worn by a person for protection from health or safety hazards associated with conditions at a work site. Examples of PPE include gloves, eye protection, face protections and masks, and given the breadth of the definition, could include homemade face masks and bandanas if employees are directed to wear such face coverings by their employer.

When a hazard cannot be controlled by a single control method, an employer may use a combination of controls to provide an acceptable level of safety. PPE would only be necessary when hazards related to COVID-19 cannot be completely eliminated by administrative and/or engineering controls.

If an employer determines that PPE is necessary based on the outcome of a hazard assessment, the employer must develop a code of practice. The Guide provides resources to assist in developing this material. OHS Legislation provides additional requirements regarding PPE, including:

  • employers who provide PPE must ensure that the workers are competent in the application, care, use, maintenance, and limitations of that equipment;
  • supervisors are responsible for ensuring that workers wear PPE provided in accordance with OHS Legislation;
  • if a hazard assessment indicates PPE is needed then the employer must ensure that workers wear PPE correctly, that it protects workers, works properly, and that workers are trained about its use, maintenance, care, and limitations; and
  • an employer must ensure that using PPE does not endanger the worker.

Key Takeaways

In light of the foregoing, if an employer is considering requiring employees to wear face masks or other protective face coverings (including homemade face masks and bandanas) in the workplace, the employer:

  • must conduct a hazard assessment (this should be done irrespective of the safety measure being contemplated);
  • should follow the hierarchy of controls noted above (first choice, second choice, third choice); and
  • if PPE is required, employers should develop a code of practice and follow the requirements identified in OHS Legislation.

Notwithstanding the above, it’s conceivable that employees may still elect to wear protective face coverings even in circumstances where hazards related to COVID-19 can be adequately addressed by the employer through the use of other controls. Whether such practice is permissible would depend on the internal policies of the employer.   

Guidance regarding the use of PPE may be updated or changed as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop. We will update members as new information becomes available.

Suspension of environmental reporting requirements for industry suspension: For the next three months, no company will have to comply with any reporting requirements for provincial approvals, registrations or licences. The suspension applies to three pieces of legislation at the heart of environmental protection in the province: the Water Act, the Public Lands Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The order was issued under the authority of the provincial state of public health emergency and will last at least 60 days and as long as 90 days.

Hours of Service: Exemptions for truck drivers and railway operators:  Alberta is temporarily modifying some regulations for truck drivers and railway operators to protect the supply chain and ensure Canadians can access necessities like medical supplies, groceries and fuel during the COVID-19 crisis. Regulatory changes include:

  • Working for longer periods of time, provided all safety conditions are met.
  • Applying for fewer municipal and provincial overweight permits by increasing the limits on weight of loads some vehicles can carry.
  • Being exempt from road bans.
  • Being exempt from municipal bylaws that restrict the hours workers operate and park.

These temporary adjustments are being offered as part of pandemic response efforts, provided all safety conditions are being met.

RAIL: The regulation changes also allow provincially regulated railways to temporarily delay audits and retesting of existing operators’ skills and medical fitness to ensure physical distancing requirements can be met.

Unless another deadline is specified, these temporary changes will remain in effect until the ministerial orders end. The ministerial orders will end on whichever date is earliest:

  • August 14 or 60 days after the public health emergency order ends, if it ends before June 15 or
  • another date determined by the minister or cabinet.

Other Extensions

The expiry date for the following inspection certificates has been extended until May 15, if the certificate was set to expire between March 17 and May 15:

  • Commercial Vehicle Inspection certificates and decals
  • Out of Province Motor Vehicle Inspection certificates
  • Salvage Motor Vehicle Inspection certificates

Modification to Employment Standards: The province amended Employment Standards Legislation: Temporary Layoffs, Group Terminations, and Job-Protected Leaves

The changes to the Code and Employment Standards Regulation (the “Regulation”) include:

  • COVID-19 Leaves
  • Temporary layoffs
  • Notice of schedule changes
  • Group termination notices

Temporary Suspension of In-Person Shareholder Meeting Deadlines under the ABCA: The Government of Alberta under the Minister of Service Alberta has temporarily suspended the obligations of Alberta corporations to hold in-person shareholder meetings under the provisions of the Business Corporations Act (Alberta).

Saskatchewan

Essential services: In Saskatchewan, propane is on the list of essential services

Training: Technical Safety Saskatchewan (TSASK) indicated that considering PTI is willing to extend or recognize course credentials past the re-certification date they will recognize the CPA's extension. SaskPower Gas Inspections will allow for a 120-day extension.  

Phase three of Re-Open Saskatchewan began on June 8: 

Businesses and services that are able to begin operation in this phase of the Government of Saskatchewan’s plan to re-open the provincial economy include:

  • Places of worship;
  • Restaurants and licensed establishments;
  • Gyms and fitness facilities;
  • Child care facilities; and
  • Personal care services that did not re-open in Phase 2.

Guidelines for businesses to reopen are available at www.saskatchewan.ca/re-open.

Increase the size of public and private gatherings:

  • Indoor - 15 people
  • Outdoor - 30 people

Manitoba

Essential services: The Manitoba government has provided a list of their essential services. View the latest information here.

State of Emergency Extended: While the Manitoba government has extended the provincewide state of emergency beginning Monday, June 15 for a period of 30 days, it has also just announced that it will be releasing its final plan for the third phase for restoring services. 

Following feedback from the public, the Manitoba government is releasing its plan to further ease public health restrictions and continue safely restoring services, effective June 21.

Some of the key changes include:

  • removing the maximum capacity of 300 people at any site provided the gathering can be physically divided into sub-groups of 50 or fewer indoors or 100 or fewer outdoors, to a maximum 30 per cent of usual capacity; 
  • allowing people from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and people living in the area of the northwestern Ontario (west of Terrace Bay) to visit Manitoba without having to self-isolate for 14 days; and
  • lifting capacity limits for restaurants and bars, as long as there is a  barrier or two metres of separation between people sitting at different tables.

 Click here for detailed information on the plan for Phase Three.

Manitoba businesses can submit questions about how the plan applies to them by visiting the goverment of Manitoba's website.

Manitoba government to increase investment in Canada-Manitoba Job Grant program: The Manitoba government is increasing its investment in the Canada-Manitoba Job Grant program to $5.7 million this year to better assist businesses with staff training costs as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program allows employers to apply for up to $10,000 for each of their employees, to a maximum grant of $100,000. Eligible costs include: 

  • tuition fees;
  • textbooks, software and other required materials;
  • exam fees; and
  • travel costs for the training of individuals in northern and remote communities.

Applications are now available for Canada-Manitoba Job Grants for 2020-21. The application deadline is July 3. 

Manitoba’s phased approach to re-opening the economy: Manitoba will begin a multi-phased effort starting May 4 to gradually restore services while maintaining social distancing and stringent cleaning practices.

Phase 1
May 4: variety of non-essential health-care and retail businesses will have the option to reopen under strict guidelines. Size restrictions of public and private gatherings of no more than 10 people will remain in place. Travel restrictions will also remain in place such as avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Manitoba, and requirements for self-isolation for 14 days following travel will continue.

Phase 2
Beginning no early than June 1: most other businesses to open, including additional personal services and restaurants. Critical public health measures and travel restrictions may remain in place. Public gathering sizes may be increased.

 Future phases: Additional health measures and travel restrictions may be further eased.

Visit  the Manitoba government’s COVID-19 webpage for information on vehicle registration and driver licensing transactions that can be done without visiting an Autopac agent or one of MPI’s Service Centres in person. 

Special services for Class 1 drivers during COVID-19: In recognition of the important role played by Class 1 drivers, the government has created special processes for all Class 1 drivers to do business with Manitoba Public Insurance over the phone and online. This includes making payments, requesting commercial driver abstracts, renewing a driver’s licence, registration or insurance and more. Click here for details.

Manitoba is actively assessing measures to support trucking operations and ensure the supply chain is maintained during COVID-19. Further information will be available shortly on the Manitoba infrastructure web page

Reminder that effective March 24, 2020, truck drivers moving essential freight through Canada’s provinces for COVID-19 relief will be exempt from hours-of-service (HOS) requirements, provided that carriers give advance notice, until April 30, 2020. For further information visit: the MB government’s website: Hours of Service Regulations and Applicability to COVID-19 Response Efforts

Training: Manitoba indicated that considering PTI is willing to extend or recognize course credentials past the re-certification date they will recognize that.

Ontario

Essential services: In Ontario, propane is on the provincial essential services list.  

Training: Directors and company officers will be allowed a grace period of 120 days to submit a new Record of Training (ROT). ROT and ROT training provider renewals will be given a 120-day grace period from the day of expiry.

Toronto and Peel Region moving into Stage 3: Additional businesses and public spaces will be reopening as the Ontario government allows the City of Toronto and Peel Region to move into Stage 3 of reopening the province on Friday, July 31 at 12:01 a.m.  Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health regions will join the 31 public health regions that entered into Stage 3 on July 17 and 24, 2020.

Nearly all businesses and public spaces to reopen in Stage 3: Nearly all businesses and public spaces in Ontario reopened to Stage 3 on July 17. According to the Minister of Finance, about 99% of businesses will be able to operate in Stage 3, provided that they are in compliance with physical distancing and other safety requirements. Businesses in categories that are not included in the general Stage 3 reopening can visit the website of the Government of Ontario to submit their own reopening proposals.

Ontario extends emergency orders as it moves into stage 3.

 As the province reopens and social interactions increase, Ontario is planning to launch COVID Alert, a new privacy-first exposure notification app to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19.

Starting in July 2020, limited in-person education and training may restart for students who were not able to graduate due to COVID-19 closures. This first phase will allow institutions to reopen to provide in-person instruction to students in essential, frontline, and high labour market demand areas, such as nursing, personal support workers, engineering, and other critical professions.

In September, all students will have the opportunity to attend postsecondary education through virtual learning, in-class instruction, or hybrid formats.

Social gatherings versus circles: In addition, larger social gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed in all parts of the province, and people are encouraged to create or join a social circle. Social circles are different from social gatherings. Social gatherings of people from outside your household are limited to 10 people. A social circle is voluntary, but if adopted should include all household members, and can include family and friends outside the household up to a maximum of 10 people in the social circle, who can interact and come into close contact with one another without physical distancing. To learn how to create a social circle, please see the step-by-step guide.

Canada and Ontario helping small businesses go digital: The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. The $57-million program is designed to help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students. Click here for more information on the program.

New Regulation to protect employees from permanent layoffs and businesses from potential closures: The Ontario government says it is taking steps to help ensure that as the economy gradually and safely reopens workers will have jobs to return to and businesses will be protected from incurring unsustainable termination costs. Today, the government announced that it has enacted a new regulatory amendment that will put non-unionized employees on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave during the COVID-19 outbreak any time their hours of work are temporarily reduced by their employer due to COVID-19. This will ensure businesses aren't forced to terminate employees after their ESA temporary layoff periods have expired.

Terminations triggered when temporary layoffs exceed the permitted length under the Employment Standards Act can result in costly payouts which, for many businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure. Under the new regulatory change to the Employment Standards Act, non-unionized employees who have had their hours reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic will be deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Workers will remain employed with legal protections and be eligible for federal emergency income support programs.

Many businesses had to close or reduce operations to comply with emergency orders necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. According to Statistics Canada, 379,000 Ontario workers were temporarily laid off in April 2020, an increase of 2,496 per cent compared with one year earlier.

The regulatory amendment applies retroactively to March 1, 2020 and will expire six weeks after the declared emergency ends. The regulatory amendments do not include employees represented by a trade union.

The government is also supporting people and businesses by providing billions of dollars in deferrals and relief. That includes deferring $1.9 billion in Workplace Safety and Insurance Board premium payments until August 31, 2020, $10 billion in interest and penalty relief, and other deferrals to improve cash flow, protect jobs and help household budgets. 

Schools, licensed childcare centres and EarlyON programs will remain closed: The Ontario government announced that it is keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year. The government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of childcare, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Private schools, licensed childcare centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed for the safety and protection of children, families and staff through Stage 1 of the Framework for Reopening the ProvinceEmergency childcare will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other frontline workers. A gradual reopening of childcare is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario's youngest learners and their staff.

Access to digital learning resources, supports for special education needs and mental health, as well as Internet connectivity and access to devices have all been identified by school boards and other stakeholders as urgent needs during the current school closure period. These organizations and businesses were identified through a call for proposals on the Ontario Together website between March 31, 2020 and April 21, 2020.

Ontario is helping parents pay for the extra costs associated with school and child care closures during the COVID-19 outbreak through the Support for Families initiative, 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. To date, the province has supported approximately 1.23 million children and youth in Ontario.

Face coverings recommended when physical distancing is a challenge: As Ontario gradually reopens the province, the government is recommending that individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy. In order to assist people and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health released the following face covering recommendations:

  • Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
  • Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
  • Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

To assist provincial transit agencies in protecting transit staff and riders in this new environment, the Ministry of Health is also recommending the following measures be put in place:

  • Physical distancing of at least two metres by admitting fewer passengers and using physical markers between seats;
  • The use of face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not feasible;
  • Ensuring the availability of alcohol-based hand rub upon entering and exiting the vehicle;
  • Implementing engineering controls like plexiglass windows between drivers and passengers; and

Enhanced cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces.

Amendments to 2019 greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements in response to the COVID-19 outbreak: The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks announced administrative amendments to O. Reg 390/18 in response to the challenges industry is facing during the COVID-19 outbreak, such as staffing shortages. The changes provide temporary relief by allowing for extensions to the 2019 greenhouse gas emissions reporting and verification deadlines.

On April 23, 2020, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) had announced it will extend the facility greenhouse gas emissions reporting deadline from June 1 to July 31, 2020.

To align with the federal government’s extension and maintain reporting harmonization, Ontario has made amendments to Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions: quantification, reporting and verification regulation, O. Reg. 390/18 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

These include:

  • providing authority to the director to extend the June 1 reporting deadline and the September 1 verification deadline in specific circumstances, including:
  • emergency situations (such as the COVID-19 outbreak)
  • technical issues with the reporting platform
  • corresponding changes to relevant federal GHG reporting deadlines
  • waiving or delaying the requirement for site visits by third-party verifiers for 2019 in certain circumstances
  • delaying the requirement for select facilities to change third-party verifiers specifically for the 2019 reporting year

These amendments allow the director to provide temporary relief for large emitters by extending administrative greenhouse gas emissions reporting and verification requirements without compromising our strong protections for the environment and human health and harmonizes with the federal government.

The government understands that an on-site visit is often part of the verification process and that many businesses are not allowing external visitors on-site or the sites are closed due to physical distancing measures being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19. As a result, they have temporarily removed or delayed site visit requirements in certain circumstances which will help ensure worker safety and physical distancing rules.

New legislation will allow for more virtual or remote transactions during COVID-19: During a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday, May 12, the Declaration of Emergency was extended until May 29. A full list of emergency orders can be found on the e-Laws website, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The House also passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020, which will help people conduct business while practising physical distancing and includes:

  • Enabling corporations to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which annual meetings must be held in specific circumstances;
  • Allowing electronic filing of business registration documents, and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of business registration documents and e-signatures;
  • Allowing for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document.

These changes are effective as of May 15, 2020.

Questions about legislative amendments related to copies of documents, electronic signatures on documents, and electronic filing of documents can be directed Andrew Bonisteel, Manager, Company and Personal Property Policy and Regulatory Services at Andrew.Bonisteel2@ontario.ca or (416) 566-5836.

You may wish to visit the following pages for additional information:

New government guidelines to help employers adapt to the new reality: Ontario released guidelines for various sectors as the province turns to re-opening the economy. The new sector-specific guidelines feature recommended actions employers can begin to plan for as they prepare to adapt to the new reality. The province also announced 58 new provincial labour inspectors to help communicate guidelines and enforce emergency measures.

Ontario Unveils Guiding Principles to Reopen the Province: Today, the Ontario government released: A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces. The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and

Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

Other TSSA regulation extensions:

Grace period of 120 days to perform home inspections (appliances and propane containers)The Technical Safety Standards Association has issued guidelines for their operation protocols during COVID-19: TSSA Considerations During COVID-19.  The guidelines include a 120-day grace period to perform home inspections (appliances and propane tanks). But, at this time, the TSSA will not automatically accept deferring all inspections except emergency ones.

Mandatory pre-license inspection: TSSA will renew a license even in cases where the mandatory pre-license inspection could not be performed. TSSA will defer the inspection requirement for a maximum 90-day grace period or 14 days after the state of emergency in Ontario is lifted.

RSMPs : While TSSA will continue to seek licensing renewals from organizations, they are offering a grace period of 120 days, when necessary, to submit a new or revised Risk and Safety Management Plan (RSMP) for new owners or where site changes necessitate a new RSMP

Ministry of Transportation Lifts Reduced Load Period in South Ontario to Assist with COVID-19 Relief : To support Ontario’s need to move essential freight and supplies during the current COVID-19 emergency, the Ministry of Transportation is including the commodities listed for exemption in the federal Hours of Service exemptions as issued by Transport Canada (see below) from Reduced Load Periods across southern Ontario – this includes propane:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants;
  • Paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;

Immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – that are required and to be used for the manufacture of items in categories (1), (2) or (3);

  • Fuel;
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19

For complete details and the geographic scope of these provisions please click here: COVID-19 Update – Temp Changes to Reduce Load Period Restrictions_public

Drivers licences: The Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and Service Ontario, is extending the validity period of driving products, services and health cards. It includes: extensions for driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others.

Total fire ban  –  including outdoor fires – except for those using propaneThis decision by the provincial government overrides any municipal bans in place. The restriction will continue until Ontario’s ability to respond to emergencies is no longer impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support to the trucking sector: The Ontario government is offering a new free 511 app which will provide truck drivers immediate access to the information they need to stay safe, fed and rested while delivering essential goods across the province during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ontario 511 app provides images from over 600 cameras and includes up-to-date highway information on construction, collisions and road closures. It also identifies open rest areas and locations throughout the province that offer food and fuel. The app includes an easy to use map view and features a drive mode that provides hands free audio alerts.   

Québec

Essential services: In Québec, propane is on the provincial essential services list.  

Training: The Régie modified its expectations regarding the processing of operating permit renewal requests. Please consult the questions and answers included on the yellow banner on the RBQ website by clicking on “COVID-19” then on “Gas”. (available here in French only)

Increasing gathering numbers: The province of Québec will allow indoor gatherings of up to 50 people starting on June 22. The province has announced that in places with seating, people will be expected to keep 1.5 metres apart – but in large gathering areas where there is a lot of circulation, people will still be expected to keep 2 metres apart. In all areas, children under 16 are to keep only 1 metre apart. 

Extra time for mechanical checks: Due to the backlog resulting from the pandemic, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec says agents responsible for roadside vehicle inspections are facing a much greater demand than usual.

In this context, the deadline is extended until June 30 for mechanical checks and preventive maintenance that should have been carried out in May and until July 31 for those that should have been carried out in June. The mechanical checks scheduled for July are to be completed by July 31, as usual. Owners are encouraged to keep their current sticker, even if it has expired.

document to keep in your vehicle is also available on the company's website. If you already have it, you are encouraged to download it again: changes have been made recently. For more information, view SAAQ’s frequently asked questions.

Reopening of economic activities: The government announced the gradual reopening of various sectors and businesses. Starting from May 25, retail stores in the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal with direct exterior access that customers usually use can resume their activities. Businesses in the stores’ supply chains can resume their operations on the same date.

Starting on May 25, manufacturing companies throughout Québec will be authorized to resume their operations with no restriction on the number of employees present to ensure such operations.

All employees who can engage in teleworking must continue to do so.

Manufacturing companies already in operation to produce priority services and activities or inputs or raw materials required by priority services and activities with a number of employees beyond the limit adopted starting from May 11 can continue at the same pace until May 25.

To properly equip workplaces to establish preventive measures and answer employers’ and workers’ questions, please consult the following tools:

The businesses that will be added during subsequent phases will be announced in the coming weeks.

Resumption of outdoor sports and leisure activities: On May 13, the government announced a plan to gradually resume certain outdoor sports and leisure activities, provided that the guidelines issued by the public health authorities, especially physical distancing rules, are followed.

This first resumption phase applies throughout Québec.

To view the list of activities permitted, visit the Resumption of sports and leisure activities page.

Regions to reopen: The government announced a plan to gradually reopen the following regions spread over several weeks.

Since May 4, 2020, access is allowed to the regions of:

  • the Antoine-Labelle, Argenteuil, Pays-d’en-Haut and Laurentides regional county municipalities for the Laurentides health region;
  • the territories of the Autray, Joliette, Matawinie and Montcalm regional county municipalities for the Lanaudière health region;
  • the territories of the Bellechasse, L’Islet and Montmagny regional county municipalities for the Chaudière-Appalaches health region;
  • Rouyn-Noranda for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue health region.

Since May 11, 2020, access is allowed to the:

  • Outaouais health region, except for trips from Ottawa to Gatineau;
  • the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Abitibi-Témiscamingue health regions;
  • the La Tuque population centre for the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec health region.

Since May 18, 2020, access is allowed to:

  • the Bas-Saint Laurent, Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine health regions;
  • the territories of the Charlevoix and Charlevoix-Est regional county municipalities for the Capitale-Nationale health region;
  • the territory of Ville de Gatineau and Les Collines-de-L’Outaouais regional county municipalities contiguous with Ontario.

Starting from May 31, 2020, the following place will be accessible:

  • the Côte-Nord health regions, except for the Minganie and Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent (Basse Côte-Nord) RCMs.

A reopening plan will be announced later for the following regions and territories:

  • the Minganie and Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent (Basse-Côte-Nord) RCMs;
  • Nord-du-Québec;
  • Nunavik;
  • Cree Territory of James Bay.

To obtain additional information on the restrictions now in force, please visit Travel between regions and cities.

End of exemption from driving and rest time rules: Given the gradual recovery of activities in Québec, services in the transportation industry are gradually returning to normal. Consequently, to prevent fatigue at the wheel and reduce the risk of accidents, the exemption provided for in the Regulation respecting the hours of driving and rest periods for drivers of heavy vehicles in the event of a disaster or pandemic will no longer apply.

All owners, operators and drivers of heavy vehicles will therefore be required to comply with the regulatory obligations related to driving and off-duty hours as of Saturday, May 16 (12:01 a.m.), regardless of the type of cargo they are transporting. The hours worked by a driver during the exemption period will have to be counted from that time on. Since the vehicle they drive will no longer be subject to an exemption, their driving hours will have to be counted as part of their work cycle. It is important that the driver takes the necessary rest periods to ensure compliance with the applicable regulations and, therefore, with the planned work cycle. These measures are intended to maintain safe roads.

However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is still evolving. In certain circumstances, it is possible that the services of some carriers may still be required to assist during the pandemic. If this is the case, contact the Forensic Science and Vehicle Safety Branch for more information. You can do so by telephone at 581 990-8214 or 418 528-3214, or by e-mail at desv@saaq.gouv.qc.ca.

A frequently asked questions section has been set up on the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec website. It is updated regularly to answer your questions and concerns.

Traffic exemption of large road trains over the holidays: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of health emergency, the Ministry of Transportation has suspended the obligation to refrain from driving over the next few statutory holidays: May 18, June 24 and July 1, 2020, which would normally be imposed on the driver of overlength road trains (large combination vehicles) under paragraph 3 of section 9 of the LCV Special Permit Regulation (chapter C 24.2, r. 36). For more information, consult the Ministry of Transportation website.

Extra time for mechanical checks: The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec has reassessed the time frames granted to perform annual or semi-annual periodic mechanical inspections.

As previously announced, a deadline was granted until May 31 for mechanical inspections and preventive maintenance that were due in March and April. A one-month extension was also granted for those expiring in May, which must be completed by June 30. Owners are encouraged to keep their current sticker, even if it has expired. There is no time limit at this stage for mechanical checks due in June - they must therefore be done before June 30, as is normal.

The latest information is published daily on the SAAQ’s website. A document to keep in your vehicle regarding these measures is also available on the SAAQ website. If you already have it, you are advised to download it again as changes have recently been made.

Québec postpones the reopening of retail businesses in the Metropolitan Community of Montreal: On May 4, 2020, the Government of Québec announced that the reopening of retail businesses with direct access to the outdoors in the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) will now be postponed until May 18 (initially scheduled for May 11). In addition, the government has specified on its site that only shops with an exterior entrance usually used by customers are authorized to reopen, with the exception of direct exterior access.

Retail businesses and businesses in the CMM retail supply chain: The CMM is made up of the Island of Montreal, Laval and the North and South Rives of Montreal.

The announcement of the postponement was made the same day that retail stores with direct access outside of Greater Montreal (as well as companies in their supply chain if they are located outside the territory of the CMM) were allowed to reopen. As mentioned before, the ability to maintain the current reopening schedule depends on the progression of the virus and the ability of the health system to cope with it. The delay was caused by congestion in Montreal hospitals. Other delays are possible.

Direct access to the outside: Government site now clearly states that retailers cannot use anything other than regular customer entry (for example, employee entry, shipping / receiving door or other service entry) as a means of 'opening their stores in May. Access to retail businesses through an indoor common area is prohibited. Many mall retailers therefore cannot open on May 4 or May 18, as the case may be. 

Installation of protective partitions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in passenger vehicles, trucks and buses: Recently, various stakeholders in the transportation community have expressed some concerns about the installation of barriers that offer protection against the coronavirus. These concerns are related to best practices for installing protective partitions in vehicles and ensuring they are as safe as possible and meet the guidance of the the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) or other authorities recommending this protective measure.

It is not unusual to install partitions in a vehicle to isolate passengers or the driver. This measure may be considered necessary to ensure the protection of the occupants, given the current health crisis. The installation of such structures must, however, never compromise the safety of the driver or passengers of the vehicle and must be carried out in accordance with the regulations.

A guide has recently been published by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) on best practices for the installation of protective partitions. The information contained in the guide should be viewed as advice and not as obligations imposed by SAAQ. In addition, SAAQ will not verify the installation of these structures.

Consult the guide (in French only) to learn more.

End of thaw period: The dates for the end of the heavy vehicle load restriction period have been released for zones 2 and 3.

As a result, the load restrictions will be lifted on the following dates:

  • Zone 1: Friday, May 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., as scheduled.
  • Zone 2: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Zone 3: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

As in previous years, the start and end dates of this period are modulated to reflect the varying climates of each of the three zones. For more information, visit the Ministry of Transportation website.

Québec government gradually reopening economic activities: After the recent announcement to re-open Preschool, elementary and secondary schools, the Quebec government today announced that various sectors and businesses will be able to resume operations gradually. These re-openings, approved by the public health authorities, will take place in phases, depending on the business sectors and geographic areas. Thus, in the coming weeks, various activities will be authorized to resume while ensuring, however, that measures aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of workers and customers are put in place.

At all times, it will be essential that the population continues to comply with health instructions in order to limit the risks associated with the spread of the virus. In particular:

  • hand-washing;
  • cough and sneeze into your elbow; and
  • maintaining a distance of 2 meters between people.

When a distance of 2 meters between people cannot be respected, it is strongly recommended to wear a face cover. Companies that are able to retain employees by telecommuting are encouraged to do so.

The following sectors and businesses will be able to resume operations gradually:

  • May 4: retail businesses with direct access to the outside will be able to resume their activities, with the exception of those in the Montreal metropolitan community, which will be able to reopen on May 11. Companies in the retail supply chain will be able to resume operations on the same dates.
  • May 11: construction sites in all sectors of the construction industry will be able to resume their activities. This recovery concerns all sectors of the construction industry, namely: residential, civil engineering and roads, institutional and commercial as well as industrial. This recovery also leads to the reopening of industry supply chains.

The administrative staff of this sector must remain telecommuting.

  • May 11: manufacturing companies in all regions of Quebec will be able to resume their activities. However, they must have, at all times, on the same site, a maximum of 50 workers and 50% of the employees exceeding the bar of 50 workers per shift, at any time of the day. As examples:
  • a manufacturing site employing 60 workers during the same shift must operate with a maximum of 55 employees;
  • a manufacturing site employing 500 workers during a single shift must operate with a maximum of 275 employees.
  • May 25: manufacturing companies from all regions of Quebec will be authorized to resume their activities without any restriction as to the number of employees present to ensure their operations.

All employees who can telecommute will continue to do so. Companies that will be added to the subsequent phases will be announced in the coming weeks.

Québec Emergency Order provides more flexibility for virtual shareholder meetings: Pursuant to the Public Health Act, on April 26, 2020, the Québec Minister of Health and Social Services issued an order (the Order) providing greater flexibility to hold virtual-only annual general meetings of shareholders for issuers incorporated under the Business Corporations Act (Québec) (QBCA).

Virtual-Only Meetings: With respect to annual shareholder meetings, the Order provides that:

  • Any meeting that take place in person may be held by means that enables all members to communicate with each other immediately; and
  • When a secret ballot is required, it may be held by any means of communication agreed on by all persons who are entitled to vote or, failing that, by any means enabling both that votes be gathered in a way that they may be verified afterwards and the preservation of the secret nature of the vote.

As announced by Québec’s justice minister (French only), the Order provides additional flexibility for corporations in Quebec looking to hold virtual-only meetings. While Section 175 of the QBCA permits a QBCA incorporated corporation to hold a meeting of shareholders by telephonic or electronic means, this ability is subject to the corporation’s by-laws. The Order permits shareholder meetings to be held virtually, regardless of any provision in the corporation’s by-laws.

General

The Order is also aimed at:

  • Not-for-profit legal persons incorporated under Part III of the Companies Act (Québec) whose constitution or by-laws prohibit participation in a meeting by technological means;
  • Cooperatives for their annual meeting or those whose by-laws do not permit it for a special meeting;
  • Partnerships whose partnership agreement prohibits participation in a meeting or assembly by technological means; and
  • Professional orders and syndicates of co-ownership.

The Order will be in effect until the end the declared public health emergency or until the Government or the Minister of Health and Social Services modifies or terminates it.

CNESST flexibility measures for employers and workers in response to COVID-19

To help clients during the COVID-19 situation, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) is introducing special flexibility measures.

The CNESST will be flexible toward clients and will be lenient regarding deadlines prescribed by law for fulfilling an obligation. This measure does not, however, include obligations with respect to compliance with occupational health and safety rules, which must continue to apply, especially in the current situation. Also available: CNESST - Tools to help you.

Quebec government is recommending voluntary face masks: The National Director of Public Health is now recommending the wearing of face masks as an additional tool to limit the spread of the virus. Considering that scientific evidence confirms that people without symptoms can transmit the COVID-19 virus, it is now a recommended measure to protect others.

The government emphasizes, however, that wearing a face mask is not a substitute for protective measures such as hygiene and physical distancing. It is also important to remember that it is essential for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate themselves at home.

The government has also published an explanatory video on the proper use and safe wearing of face masks.

Authorization letter to travel between regions for Québec: Since March 28, 2020, movements from one region to another in Quebec have been tightly controlled, and this for the entire population, including the staff of members of the Organisation de la sécurité civile du Québec (OSCQ). It is proposed that a letter be provided to your staff when they need to travel in the controlled regions within a province or between provinces. Click here for more information and a model letter.

Drivers licences and vehicle registrations for carriers (trucking industry): According to TEC – Transport-Expert Conseil, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) is implementing new measures to reduce the risk of infection and protect heavy vehicle drivers who are carrying out essential work during this crisis (English available below French). To prevent non-essential trips to our service outlets, the SAAQ is asking all peace officers to disregard the expiry dates of driver’s licences and vehicle registration certificates. Drivers are asked to keep their current documents.

In addition, given the current situation, owners who must have their road vehicle inspected by a specialized vehicle inspection agent will be given an additional month in which to carry out the inspection. Owners are asked to keep their current certificates, even if they have expired. The latest information is published daily on the SAAQ website at saaq.gouv.qc.ca.

Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec: Frequently Asked Questions: Frequently asked questions have been posted on SAAQ's website. It is updated regularly and SAAQ encourages you consult it before calling or visiting one of their points of service.

Regulation respecting hours of driving and rest for heavy vehicle drivers: Like other Canadian provinces, the SAAQ suspends the application of the regulation respecting hours of driving and rest for heavy vehicle drivers, which will allow certain truckers to drive more than 13 h per day. Drivers of heavy vehicles are exempt from legislative and regulatory obligations related to driving and rest hours provided that they transport:

  • food,
  • sanitary or medical equipment,
  • pharmaceutical products,
  • products necessary for the production of food, or
  • a combination of the goods listed above.

Seasonal load restrictions: Propane deliveries to agricultural customers for the production of food products are allowed under certain conditions and are therefore not subject to load restrictions in connection with the thaw period.

However, it is the carrier's responsibility to demonstrate and justify that propane is necessary for the manufacturing of food.

  • If the transporter only goes to a destination whose product is required to produce the food, he is authorized to do so without load restriction.
  • On the other hand, if the carrier has more than one delivery and one of them is not involved in the production of food, it is subject to the rules in effect for load restrictions.

No form of tolerance is authorized by the police and highway inspectors on this very specific file.

You can access the website of Transport Québec (in French) for more information.

Support to the trucking sector: Implementation of a front-line service with the SAAQ to meet the needs and requirements of truckers (essential service by appointment)

  • Several seasonal rest areas have been - and others will be - opened earlier than usual. There are 5 stops that can open early in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Estrie, Chaudière-Appalaches and Mauricie
  • They are deploying sanitary blocks equipped for disinfection on 6 sites located along major highways
  • All rest areas (permanent) are kept open 24/7. The toilets and parking lots are accessible at all times. In service areas, road users also have access to gas, convenience stores, drive-thru service and the fast food counter.
  • A special measure has been implemented for maintenance so that staff clean and disinfect the premises on a continuous basis and precise attention is paid to bathrooms, seats, tables, counters and door handles.
  • The services of the 42 relay villages throughout the country are also still available. The following services are considered essential: toilets and secure stopping places available 24 hours, gas and food.

Temporary change made to the date of switching to summer gasoline: The Department of Energy and Natural Resources announced that the date required for the transition to summer gasoline is temporarily changed (in French only) and will be in effect from April 9 to June 30, 2020, thus giving the margin necessary for refiners to produce and store species with low volatility for the summer period.

The relief will allow refiners, importers and distributors of petroleum products to comply with volatility requirements in the coming weeks and thus be able to run out of inventory and start producing and storing lower volatility gasoline for the summer period. This temporary exemption period will ensure the distribution of essential fuels for the transportation of goods and the maintenance of public safety. The approach adopted is consistent with the actions taken by several Canadian provinces, including Ontario and New Brunswick, as well as many American states, including New York State.

Postponement of the 2019 Declaration of GHG Emissions: As per the Regulation respecting mandatory reporting of certain emissions of contaminants into the atmosphere (RDOCECA), if you have distributed more than 200 liters of motor fuels between January 1 and December 31, 2019 and you are the first to carry out in Québec one of the following activities, you are subject to the RDOCECA and you must declare your emissions, at the latest, exceptionally, on July 31, 2020:

  • The sale or exchange, by a person or a municipality, of fuels and combustibles that are refined, manufactured, mixed, prepared or distilled in Quebec by this same person or municipality;
  • The sale or exchange in Quebec of fuels and fuels from outside Quebec;
  • The importation into Quebec of fuels and combustibles;
  • The distribution of natural gas in Quebec.

The letter from the government (link to Letter PDF) (in French only) contains the necessary information. You will find all the information required to file your return on the ministry's website in a section specifically dedicated to fuel and fuel distributors (in French only). You can also join the responsible team at the following telephone number: 1-418 521-3833.

Open fires prohibited in two regions due to the pandemic. The regions affected by the decision are those of Montérégie and Estrie. They include the territories of Sherbrooke, Brome-Missisquoi, Haut-Richelieu and Vallée-du-Richelieu, Longueuil and Beauharnois-Salaberry in particular.

New Brunswick

Essential services: In New-Brunswick, all heating fuels including propane is considered as an essential service in the province.

Training: Considering all licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the Province of New Brunswick valid as of March 16, 2020, shall remain valid until May 31, 2020, PTI re-certification is also extended to May 31, 2020.

Next phase of recovery: All zones in New Brunswick – except Zone 5 (Campbellton region) – have moved to the second phase of the Yellow level. During this time, Public Health measures and guidelines must still be followed. 

Occupancy of any facility must be based on the ability to maintain physical distancing between people that are not close friends and family. Venues with indoor events with controlled entry and/or controlled seating, are required to capture contact information on persons using the facility. This will enable Public Health to conduct targeted contact tracing in an expeditious manner should there be a COVID-19 case associated with the facility.

  • Household bubble can be extended to close friends and family. 
  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses can open, including acupuncturists and naturopaths.
  • Personal services businesses can open, including: barbers, hair stylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists, and tattoo artists.
  • Outdoor gatherings in uncontrolled venues with distancing of 50 or fewer.

For travel:

  • Everyone entering New Brunswick at any point of entry, including airports, must stop when instructed to do so by a peace officer and answer any questions as required to support the intent of the requirements of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
  • New Brunswick residents returning home from work in another Canadian province or territory no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days but must self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Canadian residents owning property in New Brunswick will be permitted to enter the province provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of the visit if shorter than 14 days.
  • Canadian residents can visit family members in New Brunswick provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of the visit if shorter than 14 days.

 It is anticipated that Zone 5 will move to the Yellow level on Friday, June 26.

Temporary foreign workers to be permitted: Starting May 29, temporary foreign workers may enter New Brunswick under strict public health guidance, including isolating for 14 days before beginning work.

Post-secondary education institutions: Registered students can move to the province to resume or start studies at New Brunswick post-secondary institutions for the fall semester. This includes students from other provinces and from outside of the country. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Students are not permitted to commute daily from outside New Brunswick to attend classes.

Playgrounds: Early learning and childcare facilities will now be permitted to resume using outdoor playgrounds and equipment, provided they continue to follow the required stringent cleaning protocols. More information on which school facilities are open to the public, such as playgrounds and sports fields, is available through each respective school district.

Local governments can open their parks and playgrounds if they can ensure they meet the requirements outlined by Public Health.

State of emergency remains in effect: The latest version of New Brunswick’s State of Emergency mandatory order is available online.

New Brunswick government moving to phase two of recovery plan: New Brunswick’s COVID-19 recovery plan has transitioned to the next phase. Under Phase 2 (also designated as Orange level), several activities and openings are permitted, subject to maintaining physical distancing measures, general guidelines from Public Health and the Guidelines for New Brunswick Workplaces issued by WorkSafe NB.

Businesses do not need to be inspected before re-opening, but they must prepare an operational plan that can be provided to officials, if requested. Businesses may open immediately, but it is up to each business operator to decide if they are ready and if all guidelines have been met.

Re-openings and activities include:

  • Elective surgeries and other non-emergency health services, including dental, physiotherapy, optometry and massage therapy.
  • Outdoor public gatherings, with physical distancing, of 10 or fewer people.
  • Indoor public gatherings, with physical distancing, of 10 or fewer people for in-person religious services, weddings and funerals.
  • All in-person programs at post-secondary institutions, subject to the COVID-19 directives from Public Health. Virtual education options should be continued wherever possible.
  • Cultural venues such as museums, galleries and libraries.
  • Offices not deemed essential during the initial phase.
  • Retail establishments, including malls.
  • Restaurants.
  • Campgrounds and outdoor recreational activities, such as zoos and outfitters.
  • Early learning and childcare centres regulated by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will be permitted to reopen as of May 19. The department will contact operators to provide further information in the coming days.
  • Non-regulated childcare providers may open as of today but must adhere to Public Health guidelines, including having an operational plan.
  • Day camps, if the organization can adhere to Public Health measures set out in the document called COVID-19 Recovery Phase: Guidance to Early Learning and Childcare Facilities and Day Camps.
  • ATV trails across the province.

In addition, face masks will be required to be worn in public if physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Information on public health recovery phases, measures and guidelines is available online.

Business owners who have questions can contact Opportunities NB Business Navigators by emailing nav@navnb.ca or by calling 1-833-799-7966.

Personal protective equipment: The government is developing a website, which will be available next week, that will have a list of suppliers that provide personal protective equipment to private industry.

New Brunswick's re-opening plan: The New Brunswick government announced its phased approach to re-open the economy. As a first step, the following is allowed, effective April 24:

  • Golf courses and driving ranges: If all physical distancing and safety measures are in place, golf courses and driving ranges can now open.
  • Recreational fishing and hunting: The delay on springs seasons has been lifted.
  • Outdoor spaces: With physical distancing, people can enjoy the outdoors including parks and beaches.
  • Carpooling: Co-workers or neighbours can carpool if physical distancing measures are maintained by transporting the passenger in the backseat.

A guidance document of the public health measures during the recovery phases is being developed and will be available soon.

Large gatherings, events and concerts prohibited: Large gatherings such as festivals and concerts are prohibited through Dec. 31, 2020, subject to change.

Nova Scotia

Essential services: It is our understanding that propane is included in Nova Scotia’s list of what is an essential service.

Training: The province does not oversee or track PTI renewals. PTI has extended course credentials past the re-certification date.

Driver licences: All driver licences expiring in March, April and May are extended until August 31, 2020.

Gathering limits increasing: As of June 18, 2020:

  • Outdoor playgrounds can reopen
  • Family household bubbles are replaced with a 10-person gathering limit without social distancing
  • Gathering limit increased to 50 people for indoor and outdoor gatherings with social distancing

Nova Scotia's re-opening plan: Nova Scotia’s phased re-opening plan includes the following measures:

  • provincial and municipal parks can reopen, but playground equipment will continue to be off limits
  • trails are allowed to open
  • people are allowed to use and visit community gardens
  • garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses can open
  • sportfishing is permitted from shore or boat, but fishing derbies are not allowed
  • people can attend boating, yacht or sailing clubs for the purpose of preparing boats for use
  • golf driving ranges can open, including those at golf clubs, but the course must remain closed; golf clubs can perform necessary maintenance and preparations for opening
  • people can use their cottages. Use is restricted to one household unit at a time, travel must be directly to the cottage and back, and travelling back and forth frequently from cottage and primary residence is discouraged
  • provincial and private campgrounds remain closed, but they can perform necessary maintenance and preparations for opening. An exception is recreational vehicles parked year-round at private campgrounds, which can be used but must follow the same rules as cottages

A phased plan to further lift public health restrictions is under development. The timing of each phase will be guided by public health recommendations and scientific evidence.

Nova Scotia extends deadline for registry motor vehicle services: The province of Nova Scotia is extending the deadline for some Registry of Motor Vehicle services until further notice because of COVID-19. Of note:

  • Driver licences: All driver licences expiring in March, April, May and June will have a five-month extension from the original expiry date. For example, if a licence expires on April 15, the new expiry date is Sept. 15.
  • Motor vehicle inspections: Motor vehicle inspections expiring in March, April or May will now be valid until June 30.
  • Vehicle registrations: Vehicle registrations expiring Dec. 31, 2019, and later, are extended until Aug. 31. This includes all vehicle types, as well as off highway vehicles, motorcycles and trailers. Vehicle registrations may be renewed online.

Prince Edward Island

Essential services: In Prince Edward Island,  propane is considered a household needs and is considered as an essential service - services that the interruption of which would endanger the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population.

Training: Chief Inspector mentioned all related permits, licenses or requirements to submit documents have been extended until the end of May for our sector. Please contact Ryan MacCormak if you need assistance.

PEI - Prince Edward Island moves to Phase 4: Prince Edward Island is further relaxing restrictions as Phase 4 begins on Friday, June 26.

  • Larger organized gatherings – organized gatherings of up to 50 people will be re-introduced, including for worship services, organized sports, day camps and events like weddings and funerals.
  • Personal gathering limits – limits will remain at no more than 15 people indoor and 20 people outdoor while maintaining physical distancing with individuals who are not part of a person’s household. 
  • Businesses – additional businesses providing personal services, such as facials and piercings, can open. Accommodations will open for non-PEI residents, including campgrounds, hospitality homes, inns and bed and breakfasts. 

Registrar of motor vehicles: All licenses renewals can be done online and at this time they do not anticipate an issue with renewals of existing licenses.

Newfoundland

Essential services: Newfoundland and Labrador has declared retail businesses that provide the following goods and services to be essential: Home fuel distribution.

NL: Government announced essential worker support program: The Provincial Government announced the Essential Worker Support Program. This program, which is cost-shared with the Federal Government, will provide a one-time payment to individuals who meet eligibility criteria and who work in professions included in the Government of Canada’s “Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic” document, available on the Public Safety Canada website.

Employers will begin to receive payments on behalf of the employees starting in July, and will then submit payments as part of their regular payroll remittance.The application for compensation will be available after the 16-week eligibility period, and will be administered by the provincial Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour. Employers must complete the application on behalf of all qualifying employees, providing proof of the employees’ eligibility. Employers can begin submitting applications on July 6, 2020 and will have until July 30, 2020 in which to apply.

Funding for this program includes an estimated $13.8 million from the Provincial Government and $52.5 million from the Federal Government

Gatherings and public spaces: The Newfoundland and Labrador government has entered Alert Level 3.

Gatherings for funerals, burials and weddings are expanded to 20 people in Alert Level 3, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. Wakes remain prohibited.

The expansion to outdoor gatherings with 20 people means individuals who are not symptomatic can now hold activities like backyard get-togethers or family barbecues, as long as physical distancing can be maintained.

At all gatherings, individuals are reminded that:

  • The maximum number of people allowed is 20;
  • Those 20 people must be able to maintain physical distancing;
  • Those people who are not in the same bubble should be six feet apart;
  • Providing and sharing food is not recommended;
  • People should practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette and good hand hygiene; and,
  • If you are sick and invited to a gathering, you must stay home.
  • The rules for extended bubbles announced on May 29 continue to apply in Alert Level 3. People are reminded that if there is anyone self-isolating in a particular household, people living in that household cannot join bubbles with anyone else until the isolation period is over.

For additional information on these measures, please click here.

Newfoundland and Labrador introduce "double bubble" plan: The province of Newfoundland and Labrador joined New Brunswick in introducing a “double bubble.” Effective today, a household can socialize with one other household. The province also announced its re-opening plan. It is currently at “Alert Level 5”, and will de-escalate as follows:

Alert Level 4May 11:

  • low-risk outdoor recreational activities can resume (e.g. golfing, fishing, hunting);
  • low-risk non-essential businesses can open (e.g. law firms, accounting firms, garden centres);
  • resumption of some medical procedures in regional health authorities;
  • limited expansion of child care centres;
  • funerals with a maximum of 10 people are permitted.

Alert Level 3June 8 at the earliest:

  • private health care clinics can resume (e.g. optometry, dentistry);
  • medium-risk businesses can open (e.g. hair salons, pet grooming);
  • restaurants can re-open at reduced occupancy;
  • medium-risk outdoor recreational activities can resume (e.g. team field sports);
  • further expansion of child care centres.

Alert Level 2date not yet set:

  • small gatherings allowed;
  • high-risk businesses can open (e.g. shopping centres, cinemas);
  • bars and lounges are permitted to open with reduced occupancy;
  • medium-risk recreational facilities can open (e.g. gyms, fitness facilities).

Alert Level 1date not yet set:

  • Alert level 1 is the new normal. Consideration of lifting long-term public health measures will depend on evaluation of transmission patterns, availability of an effective vaccine and/or treatment, and a strong public health system

Permit: All Propane Plant licenses, Gas Fitter, Gas Installer, and Gas Verifier Certificates have been issued for 2020 with expiry dates of December 31, 2020

Training certification: The following Propane Training Institute certificates for Bulk Plant Operations (600-03), Bulk Truck Propane Delivery  (300-01) and Propane Pump Attendant (100-01) which require renewal every three years are hereby granted the 120-day extension.

With Come By Chance Refinery stopping production because of COVID-19, cost to get propane to Newfoundland and Labrador will rise

Members of the Canadian Propane Association that supply propane to Newfoundland and Labrador will see the cost of transporting this essential fuel to the province rise significantly.

The refinery was proactively shut down due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. To be clear, the CPA fully supports the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for taking this action. The health of Canadians is what matters most

However, fact remains that no longer will propane be sourced from Newfoundland and Labrador. With the refinery down for an undetermined period of time, the costs of transporting propane to Newfoundland and Labrador which include, rail, truck and shipping will go up significantly.

The CPA will be communicating to Newfoundland and Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities the importance of considering these unforeseen additional freight costs due to COVID-19 when determining the price for propane in the province.

TRAINERS

TRAINERS - Update: Can you finally host training sessions? : As provinces begin to further open up across Canada, the size of groups for indoor and outdoor public and private gatherings are being adjusted. To assist you in determining if you are able to host a training session, and under what conditions, please consult the links below.

Note that some of these measures may not reflect specific guidelines related to training in classrooms. The CPA is continuing to look into more specific information as it relates to classroom training for our industry.

In all cases, a distance of two metres must be maintained at any type of gathering. In most provinces, face masks are recommended where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Please refer to the CPA's Best practices recommended during COVID-19 - Measures for Reopening your Retail Operations, produced to assist you in hosting a training session during COVID-19.

The gathering limitation numbers that have been modified are in bold below.

BC

Inside bubble – includes members of your immediate household

Outside your bubble – 6 people maximum

Public gatherings – 50 maximum

Alberta

Indoor social gatherings – 50 people maximum

Audience-type community outdoor events – 200 maximum

Outdoor events and indoor seated/audience events – 100 maximum

*NO cap on the number of people for: worship gatherings, resaurants, cafes, lounges, bars, casinos and bingo halls.

Saskatchewan

Extended household groups – 15 (includes three to five families or friends who remain consistent to the group)

Indoor – 30

Outdoor – 30

*The total number of people participating in a worship gathering cannot exceed 30 per cent of seating capacity or 150 people, whichever is less.

Manitoba

Indoor – 50

Outdoor – 100

*These limits also apply to social gatherings, worship, weddings and funerals, as well as pow wows and other Indigenous cultural and spiritual events.

Ontario

Social circle – 10 

Indoor and outdoor – 10

Religious gatherings – 30% of building capacity

Québec

Private gatherings in homes – 10

Public gatherings – indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed in some public places. As in other circumstances, a distance of 2 metres between people is required.

A a distance of 1.5 metres between people is allowed in “places where people are seated, are relatively stationary and do not talk much or at all"

New Brunswick

Household bubble - extended to close family and friends

Outdoor – 50

Nova Scotia

Gathering limit without social distancing – 10 people

Gathering limit with social distancing for social events – 50 people maximum indoors and outdoors

Indoor gathering limit with social distancing for social events – 50% of the venue's capacity (up to 200 people maximum indoors)

Outdoor gathering limit with social distancing for social events – 250 people maximum

Prince Edward Island 

Personal gatherings - 15 indoor and 20 outdoor

Large organized gatherings - 50

For indoor and outdoor facilities with separate rooms or large spaces that can accommodate more than one gathering at a time, multiple gatherings to a maximum of 100 people are allowed. 

Newfoundland & Labrador

Extended bubble - Up to 6 people can be added to an existing double bubble

Gatherings – 20 people

Interactive Training Summary Sheet updated: The CPA's PTI 965-10 Interactive Training Summary Sheet has been updated to V3.3. All fields are now interactive.

We recommend that you clear your cache before downloading any of the updated documents. To do so, please follow these steps:

Clear your cache:

  1. Access your usual browser
  2. Press simultaneously the “CTL”, “SHIFT” and “DELETE” keys
  3. Select "Images and caches" then choose "Erase the data"

For all training enquiries, please contact the Propane Training Institute at toll-free (877) 784-4636 or email: training@propane.ca.

Temporary PTI procedures for trainers

Extension of training certificates

Provincial governments have granted the extension of training certifications for the propane industry in order to limit contact during training sessions when required. 

Authorization letter

The CPA has created a letter which could be carried by a propane worker whose PTI training certification is expired, to provide additional assurances that said employee can continue to perform his or her functions despite having an expired PTI certificate. The letter should be carried by an employee who is unable to attend a training session to recertify due to the current situation. As a reminder, the training certificate, even expired, must be carried by the employee to support this additional letter.

CPA resources

FINANCIAL AID

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to be extended to December 2020 : The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadians and protect jobs during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and to better position them for a strong recovery. The Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will be extended to December 2020.

The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) is being extended by two more months : The Canada emergency response benefit is being extended by two more months. CERB has provided taxable payments of $2,000 for up to four months to Canadians who lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. CERB recipients for the new phase will be required to sign an attestation acknowledging the government is encouraging them to look for work and to consult with the government's job bank.

Reminder: Contribute to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy consultation: The Government of Canada is reviewing the CEWS program, and input from businesses is required to inform potential changes to the program to best meet the needs of businesses and their staff. You can participate via a short online survey. The deadline to participate is June 5, 2020.

Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses: A reminder that all commercial landlords can now apply for rental assistance to help their small business tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CECRA for small businesses, administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), provides forgivable loans to eligible commercial landlords to help cover 50 per cent of commercial rent for tenants for the months of April, May and June 2020. The tenant will be responsible for covering up to 25 per cent of rent, so that up to 75 per cent of the rent is covered.

To receive the forgivable loan, eligible commercial landlords will be required to enter into a rent reduction agreement with their impacted small business tenants for April to June 2020, which includes committing to a moratorium on evictions for three months.

To learn more and apply for the CECRA for small businesses, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) application portal. The CECRA for small businesses is administered by the CMHC and will be available until August 31, 2020. Support will be retroactive to April 1, covering April, May and June 2020.

The Ontario government has also contributed $241 million to the program, which will provide more than $900 million in support for small businesses across Ontario. For more information, visit the Ontario Government website.

Free business advice for small- to medium-sized business, not-for-profits and charities to navigate uncertainty: Small- to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations and charities can now access a network of qualified business advisors to help guide them courtesy of a new government-funded program from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The program, called the Business Resilience Service (BRS), is run through the Canadian Chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network in collaboration with EY and with support from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and Imagine Canada. The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small- to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms. The program, delivered to organizations free of charge, will:

  • Provide guidance on program options and eligibility
  • Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations
  • Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
  • Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers

The BRS program, coordinated by EY, will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25, and will involve support from approximately 125 business advisors from across the accounting profession. Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.

Expanded eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account: The federal government announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.

The changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic.

The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution.
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come. To date, over 600,000 small businesses have accessed the CEBA, and the government will work on potential solutions to help business owners and entrepreneurs who operate through their personal bank account, as opposed to a business account, or have yet to file a tax return, such as newly created businesses.

$962 million additional support fund now available to businesses affected by the pandemic: Applications for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund are now being accepted. Close to $1 billion in funding is being provided to the Regional Development Agencies ($675 million) and the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations ($287 million). SMEs may now apply for support through their local Regional Development Agency.

The difference between this program and others announced to date is that regional economic development agencies will have greater flexibility on how and to whom to allocate funding. The government says this added discretion will allow the agencies to help SMEs with differing business models not covered by broadly-based programs like the Canada Emergency Business Account and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The funding will be allocated as follows:

Additional financial support announced for businesses but oil and gas sector skeptical: Today, the Prime Minister announced additional support through a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) that would provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers whose needs are not being met through conventional financing to keep their operations going.

The objective of this support is to help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible. The government says the additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active and position them for rapid economic recovery.

One of the criteria for program eligibility is that recipients “must commit to publishing annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.” However, of concern to key leaders in the oil and gas sector is the lack of clarity on how the government plans to process applications regarding this requirement. For example, who would be determining eligibility and what metrics would be used to decide if a company’s climate change/environmental strategy is adequate/inadequate?

The government also announced additional financial support through the expansion of the Business Credit Availability Program to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company and guarantees of up to $80 million. It will also continue to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account.

But what is clearly missing from the government’s announcement today is direct financial support for the energy industry. More action is urgently needed to ensure Canada’s oil and gas sector remains viable, including future capital investment of the industry. 

Government funding to the agriculture sector first step in the right direction: The propane industry is closely tied to Canada’s agriculture sector, influencing all aspects of farming operations. The CPA has continually supported this sector by fighting for an exemption of the fuel charge in farming operations and as well as collaborating with our industry partners during the CN strike and rail blockades. We are encouraged by the government’s recent announcement of $252 million financial investment to the agri-food sector – it is a first step in the right direction. Read full details of the government’s investment here.

Canada Revenue Agency: Information related to Scientific Research and Experimental Development tax incentives during COVID-19: To ensure that businesses receive their credits as soon as possible and that innovation and creativity are fully supported during these challenging times, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) says it is implementing the following measures:

  • The CRA is prioritizing objections inventory related to critical programs, including SR&ED claims.
  • Any taxpayer under audit who wishes or needs their SR&ED claim review to proceed may work with their auditor remotely by telephone and through My Business Account to advance the file as much as possible under the current circumstances.
  • If you have questions about the status of your SR&ED claim, click here.
  • Should you have questions on other topics such as filing and payment deadlines and proactive relief measures, business owners and self-employed individuals can fill out the Liaison Officer Service request form to have a liaison officer contact them by phone.

 For more information, view: Changes to taxes and benefits: CRA and COVID-19.

10% Temporary wage subsidy for employers: The federal government is providing eligible employers with a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020.

The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period up to $1,375 per eligible employee to a maximum total of $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

For employers that are eligible for both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the 10% wage subsidy for a period, any benefit from the 10% wage subsidy for remuneration paid in a specific period would generally reduce the amount available to be claimed under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in that same period.

For more information, view FAQ – Temporary wage subsidy for employers: CRA and COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy application process now open: Reminder that the application process for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is now open. This economic measure provides a subsidy of 75% of an eligible employee's weekly earnings, to a maximum of $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks. Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client.

Government of Canada launches Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator for employers: Today, the government launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS, which can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page.

To help employers keep and re-hire workers amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is implementing the emergency wage subsidy.  This economic measure provides a 75% wage subsidy of up to $847 per employee per week, to eligible employers, for up to 12 weeks, preventing further job losses and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

BDC and EDC liquidity measures:  Please find below additional information from Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada pertaining to liquidity measures

Financial aid announced for the oil and gas sector:  Government measures will be comprised of:

  • $1.7 billion to clean up orphan and inactive oil wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. It is estimated that cleaning those wells will maintain 5,200 jobs in Alberta, while also creating jobs in those other provinces.
  • $750 million emissions reduction fund, focused on methane and will include $75 million specifically for the offshore industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. The fund will provide repayable contributions to firms to make them more competitive and reduce pollution. It is estimated that fund will help maintain 10,000 jobs.
  • Expansion of credit support for at-risk medium size energy companies so they can maintain operations and keep employees through EDC and BDC.

For further information, view:

Expansion of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): The federal government announced an expansion of the CERB to allow individuals who earn up to $1000 a month to qualify. Workers who have recently run out of EI benefits will also be able to receive the benefit. The government is also extending the CERB to seasonal labourers and artists.

The federal government is also expected to rush billions of dollars of infrastructure spending out the door as a way to stimulate the economy.  The appointment of Michael Sabia as the Chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank is another indication of the enhanced priority the federal government is putting on infrastructure.  

Recovery - Opportunities for the Propane Sector as climate and clean tech could take centre stage in federal economic plans.

As the federal government is starting to plan the recovery, there will be opportunities and the CPA will continue to push for a greater role for propane.   

Summer Jobs program: Finally, on top of the wage subsidy, the federal government also announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program allowing employers to hire summer staff and provide young Canadians access to jobs. The CPA will inform you when the program is made available.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: For more details, consult the government website which is updated regularly. 

Note that Ottawa will subsidize 75% of wages for all businesses. Businesses only need to show a 15% drop in revenue to access the wage subsidy. For additional details, view: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The federal government also announced that new programs are in the works for employees working reduced hours (10 or less per week), people who are working but making less than they would if they relied on the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, and students.

These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses. Support includes:

  • Temporary wage subsidies for small businesses;
  • Access to credit through the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP);
  • Deferral of income tax payments owing on or after March 18;
  • An Insured Mortgage Purchase Program;
  • Augmenting credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada;
  • Flexibility in the Canada Account limit to allow for additional support to Canadian businesses in exceptional circumstances;
  • Enhancing the Work-Sharing Program to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers;
  • Introducing an Emergency Care Benefit to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave;
  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit to support workers who are not eligible for EI and are facing unemployment.

On April 17, the Government announced support for small and medium-sized businesses in all sectors:

  • $962 million to the Federal regional economic development agencies and to the Community Futures Network of Canada to provide help to small businesses that don’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) or the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
  • $270 million to Futurpreneur Canada and to the Industrial Research Assistance Program to support innovators who don’t qualify for the CEWS and the CEBA.

The Prime Minister also indicated that negotiations are ongoing with the opposition parties to address the return of Parliament. If an agreement cannot be reached, Parliament will resume sitting on Monday, April 20.

COVID-19 - Action Plan

Some measures for businesses:

Tax support for businesses:

  • Effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt.
  • Payments for provincial sales tax (PST), employer health tax, municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation, carbon tax, motor fuel tax and tobacco tax are also deferred.
  • The scheduled increase to the carbon tax rate, and application of PST to e-commerce transactions and sweetened and carbonated drinks, will be delayed.

Relief for commercial property owners and tenants:

  • Business and light and major industry property classes will see their school property tax cut in half for the 2020 tax year, providing $500 million in relief for business that own their property and for tenants on triple-net leases.

To learn more about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Alberta government announces relaunch support and commercial tenancy measures: On June 5, the Alberta government announced new relaunch support and commercial tenancy measures to help Alberta’s small- and medium-sized business during the economic relaunch.

It is committing up to $200 million in funding for eligible businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to offset a portion of their relaunch costs. These funds can be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, (such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacement of inventory.

The program’s online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks. Program details, including eligibility, are being confirmed.

To ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the pandemic, the government is planning additional measures.

For additional information on government support measures for Alberta businesses, click here.

Funding and supportive measures to support local businesses, employers and employees include:

  • WCB premium payment deferral
  • Utility payment deferral
  • Job-protected leave
  • Vacation pay, leave or banked overtime
  • Business continuity plans

Saskatchewan Governement announces emergency order restricting commercial eviction: The Saskatchewan Government has announced temporary commercial eviction protection for small business tenants during the COVID-19 emergency. The moratorium on evictions applies to landlords that are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to.

Temporary commercial eviction protection is an order issued under section 18 of The Emergency Planning Act, where an emergency program with respect to commercial leases “applies to any lease between a tenant and a landlord who is not eligible for assistance under the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program in respect of that tenant for the sole reason that the landlord has not, as required to be eligible for that program, entered into a rent reduction agreement with the tenant that includes a moratorium on eviction.”

The emergency order restricting commercial evictions is effective immediately. For more information on COVID-19 support for businesses and workers in Saskatchewan, please visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses.

Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

Saskatchewan businesses are currently able to defer PST remittance for three-months to immediately alleviate cash-flow concerns. Email SaskTaxInfo@gov.sk.ca for more information.

Property tax and bill deferral programs   

A number of municipalities, including both the City of Regina and City of Saskatoon, have announced that there will be the option to defer bill payments without the accrual of penalties. Contact your local municipality to see what programs they are offering and how to access them.

Other Resources

Job Restart Program hoping to get Manitobans back to work: On June 23, 2020, Manitoba introduced the Manitoba Job Restart Program, which will provide direct payments to help qualified Manitobans return to work. The program will provide one initial payment of $500, plus three additional bi-weekly payments for $500 each, for a total of $2,000 over six weeks.

Program participants will be able to receive the benefit regardless of how much they earn working, but to collect the Manitoba Restart Benefit, they must voluntarily stop collecting the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Premier Brian Pallister has been vocal in his belief that the federal benefit programs have dissuaded people from returning to work.

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program (MGPP) is available to any of the approximately 120,000 businesses in Manitoba who have fallen into a gap in failing to qualify for the various federal government assistance programs and wage subsidies created because of COVID-19.

The province will advance each eligible business the non-interest bearing forgivable MGPP loan of $6,000, for a total of up to $120 million. The loan will be forgiven on Dec. 31, 2020, if the recipient attests at that time the business has not received any major non-repayable COVID-19 federal supports such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account, as well as sector-specific grant federal programs specifically developed in response to the pandemic. If the applicant has received benefits under a federal COVID program, then the loan will be added to the recipient’s 2020 tax bill.

To be eligible for the MGPP funding, a business must:

  • have been operational on March 20, 2020, the date the Manitoba government declared a provincewide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act because of COVID-19;
  • have temporarily ceased or curtailed operations as a result of a COVID-19 public health order and have been harmed by the health order;
  • be registered and in good standing with the Manitoba Business and Corporate Registry;
  • have not qualified for federal government COVID-19 grant support; and
  • have an email address and a bank account.

Canada and Ontario helping small businesses go digital: The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students. Click here for more information on the program.

Temporary ban proposed on commercial evictions: The Ontario government announced proposed changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act that 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.

Electricity rate relief measures: The government has introduced a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh. This fixed electricity price will be in place from June 1 - October 31, 2020. The COVID-19 Recovery Rate of 12.8¢/kWh is based on the average cost of electricity and is set by the Ontario Energy Board.

The CPA will also be asking for similar reprieve for the propane sector. CPA members and staff will be meeting with the Hon. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, this week regarding the issue. 

Ontario improving broadband and cell Service for rural communities: The Ontario government has announced that it is investing $150 million in reliable broadband and cellular service. The province says that investing in reliable broadband and cellular service can help create greater opportunity for families, farmers and small business owners in rural and remote areas of the province. The new Improving Connectivity in Ontario, or ICON, program, when leveraged, has the potential to result in an investment of up to $500 million in total partner funding to improve connectivity in underserved and unserved areas.

Amendments to the Global Adjustment Regulation: Charges for customers that are not on the regulated price plan: The Ontario Energy Board has issued a letter to provide an overview of amendments made by the Government of Ontario to the regulation governing the Global Adjustment (O. Reg. 429/04) to account for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter also provides answers to some frequently asked questions related to the Industrial Conservation Initiative.

Ontario to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by COVID-19: The Ontario government has launched the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by the global pandemic. Businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in this new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website. The province says it is prepared to allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are hindering business and negatively impacting Ontario's supply chain.

Ontario Security Commission Temporarily Waives Late Fees: Pursuant to OSC Instrument 13-504 Temporary Relief from Accrual of Late Fees Charged under Ontario Securities Commission Rule 13-502 Fees (Instrument 13-504), the Ontario Security Commission (OSC) has temporarily suspended the accrual of late fees under OSC Rule 13-502 Fees (Rule 13-502) for the period beginning on April 17, 2020 and ending on June 1, 2020. Market participants must continue to pay fees in accordance with Rule 13-502 and OSC Rule 13-503 (Commodity Futures Act) Fees. However, Instrument 13-504 will prevent the accumulation of late fees charged under these OSC rules.

Jobs and Recovery: Ontario announced a new 13-member cabinet committee for “Jobs and Recovery” today. It will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The committee is made up of the same ministers on the Treasury Board cabinet committee plus a few others. This will be an important group with whom business leaders should share their ideas for reigniting the economy post-COVID-19.

The Government issued an Economic and Fiscal Update that was essentially a fiscal stimulus package in response to COVID-19. The most impactful measures for businesses are:

  • The Employer Health Tax exemption is increased from $490,000 to $1 million for 2020.
  • A Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit will be given to Canadian-controlled private corporations that construct, renovate, or acquire eligible commercial and industrial buildings and other assets in specified regions of Ontario after March 25, 2020. The tax credit will apply to expenditures of between $50,000 and $500,000, at a rate of 10% of eligible expenses. A list of the specified regions and specifics on eligibility can be found here.
  • Tax filing deadlines for select Provincial taxes, including the Employer Health Tax, Tobacco Tax, Fuel Tax, Gas Tax, Wine and Spirits Taxes, Mining Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, International Fuel Tax Agreement, and Retail Sales Tax on Insurance Contracts and Benefit Plans, are extended until August 31. The government is also postponing the planned property tax reassessment for 2021.
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board payments can be deferred for up to six months.
  • Electricity prices for time-of-use customers (including small businesses) will be set at the lowest rate, known as the off-peak price, for 24 hours a day for 45 days.

No electricity increases and suspension of smart meter rollout. NB Power is postponing a bid for a rate increase for 2020-21, and its request to implement smart meters in the province.  The utility asked the board to delay releasing its decision on a proposed rate increase of 1.9 per cent and, in a separate filing, asked that it also defer a ruling on the smart meter rollout in the province. The Energy and Utilities Board agreed with the requests and has delayed rulings on the matter until further notice. NB Power decided against rolling out the technology at this time.

COVID-19 - Guidance for Businesses in New-Brunswick:

Waiving late penalties on property taxes:

  • Though business property taxes must be paid by May 31, late penalties will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if the penalty can be waived due to undue financial challenges, such as having to close a business due to COVID-19.

Deferring interest and principal payments on existing loans:

  • As an immediate measure, and on a case-by-case basis – the Government of New Brunswick will defer loan and interest repayments for up to six months on existing provincial loans.
  • This support will enable businesses to have immediate relief if they are experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19.
  • This assistance is available, on a case-by-case basis, to any business that has a loan with an existing Government of New Brunswick department. The deferral can be requested by contacting the department that issued the loan.

Loans for businesses

Small, medium and large employers in New Brunswick whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 can now apply to the provincial government for loans for working capital.

The new loans are to support New Brunswick-based companies. A total of $50 million has been allocated for two distinct loan programs for working capital.

Businesses can access more information about the application processes on a dedicated web page which features frequently asked questions and online resources.

Working capital for NB small business owners

  • Small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for working capital loans up to $100,000 through the NB Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program.  
  • Accessible to small businesses employing 1 to 49 employees, including sole proprietors/self-employed, with sales of less than $10 million in the most recent fiscal year.
  • Examples of sectors that would benefit from this support include restaurants, full time & seasonal tourism operations, service sectors, and self-employed business owners impacted directly by the pandemic.

NB Business working capital above $100,000

  • Opportunities New Brunswick is making available working capital loans to assist employers respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19.
  • Working capital in excess of $100,000, up to a maximum of $1 million is available.
  • Examples of sectors that would benefit from this support are manufacturing and processing industries, information technology and related sectors, business-to-business service sectors engaged in export, or import replacement activities, and cultural enterprises.
  • Business can apply directly to Opportunities New Brunswick.

WorkSafeNB has announced assessment premiums related to employer payrolls for March, April and May will be deferred for three months without interest charges.

Support for businesses

Commercial rent deferral

To support small and medium-sized businesses, landlords are encouraged to defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for 3 months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term.

If you’re deferring rent because your tenant’s business is closed due to the Health Protection Act order, you could be eligible for coverage (up to a maximum of $50,000 per landlord and $15,000 per tenant) if you can’t recover the deferred rent.

To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Business Rental Deferral Guarantee Program, landlords must register with the Department of Business by 3 April by emailing NSRentDeferral@novascotia.ca

Changes to payments

  • Government will defer payments until June 30 for all government loans, including those under the Farm Loan Board, Fisheries and Aquaculture Loan Board, Jobs Fund, Nova Scotia Business Fund, Municipal Finance Corp. and Housing Nova Scotia.
  • Government will defer payments until June 30 for small business renewal fees, including business registration renewal fees and workers compensation premiums (a list of fees will be posted online early next week).
  • Changes to the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, administered through credit unions, include deferring principal and interest payments until June 30, enhancing the program to make it easier for businesses to access credit up to $500,000, and for those who might not qualify for a loan, government will guarantee the first $100,000.
  • Small businesses which do business with the government will be paid within five days instead of the standard 30 days.

Details about programs and online applications can be found here:

Broadband Fund for Businesses
Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program
Emergency Income Relief for the Self-Employed
Emergency Relief - Worker Assistance Program
Emergency Working Capital Financing
Employee Gift Card Program

Commercial Lease Rent Deferral Program

Defer rent payments from their commercial tenants for 3 months, spreading the deferred rent amount over the rest of the lease term.

The Emergency Income Relief Fund

A temporary program put in place to support the self-employed who have been significantly affected by COVID-19.  A maximum of $500 per week for the period of March 16 to March 29, 2020 (this period will be reviewed as required).

The Emergency Relief - Worker Assistance Program

A temporary program to provide financial support to employers to assist their employed workers who have been impacted by reduced hours at work as a result of COVID-19.

Eligible employers include:

  • Registered private sector businesses or non-profit organizations in Prince Edward Island where employed workers have experienced a reduction of at least 8 hours per week during the two-week period March 16-29, 2020.

A maximum of $250 per week for each employed worker that experienced a reduction of at least 8 hours per week during the two-week period March 16-29, 2020 (An example, an employed worker that typically works 40 hours/week was reduced to a minimum 32 hours/week).

Emergency Working Capital Financing

A financing program to provide emergency working capital financing to assist PEI’s small business during this disruption to business, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants can apply to receive a working capital loan of up to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4% per annum.

For businesses – if you have questions, call 1-866-222-1751 or email peibusinesshelpline@gov.pe.ca

The provincial government in Newfoundland and Labrador announced March 14 that it will compensate private-sector employers to ensure employees do not go without pay during the pandemic.

Deadline Extended for Fuel Tax Exemption Permits

The expiry date for Fuel Tax Exemption Permits, which allows permit holders to purchase tax-exempt marked gasoline and light fuel oil, which was set to expire on March 31, 2020 has been extended to June 30, 2020.

Gasoline and carbon product retailers throughout the province are authorized to accept such permits and continue to sell marked diesel and light fuel oil exempt of gasoline and carbon tax to these permit holders up to and including June 30, 2020.

Extension of the exemption will ensure permit holders (primarily fishers), are not negatively impacted by any inability to apply for a permit extension or processing delays resulting from COVID-19.

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 covid19info@gov.nl.ca.

Introducing $200 million in contingency funding. This fund is to address the impacts of COVID-19 and reduced oil prices. More details will be provided once they are made public.

OTHER INFORMATION

Environmental Due Diligence: Regulators have been issuing emergency orders and directions at an unprecedented rate. It is therefore recommend implementing the following best practices:

  • Identify qualified individuals at your facility tasked with specifically managing environmental compliance during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Continue to monitor any regulatory changes or notices that may apply to your facility, operations and property.
  • Identify any potential compliance issues that may arise or have already arisen as a result of the current crisis and implement proactive measures to address or prevent them, including updating staffing protocols to address social distancing and safety requirements, engaging alternative suppliers and making alternative arrangements with third party consultants and agents whose normal services may also be impacted by the circumstances.
  • Ensure that employees assigned to temporary roles as a result of changes to staffing protocols or duties are properly trained.
  • For due diligence purposes, make sure you keep detailed records of modifications made as a result of COVID-19 orders and directions, including any temporary procedures, policies and guidelines.
  • As noted, where compliance with any material environmental requirement may not be possible, begin discussions with the regulator immediately.

Competition Bureau Guidance to respect necessary collaboration between businesses. In its April 8 statement, the Bureau acknowledged that the exceptional circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic “may call for the rapid establishment of business collaborations of limited duration and scope to ensure the supply of products and services that are critical to Canadians.” With this recognition, the Bureau indicated that it generally will not exercise scrutiny “in circumstances where there is a clear imperative for companies to be collaborating in the short-term to respond to the crisis, where those collaborations are undertaken and executed in good faith and do not go further than what is needed.”

Temple Scott Associates (TSA) – April 9, 2020. The CPA’s partner, TSA, organized a webinar for their clients. The CPA participated and is sharing their presentation: it provides a very good overview of what has happened so far and insights regarding the go forward (although some information is dated as data changes quickly).

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Important Data Survey
We invite you to complete the subject survey by no later than Friday, April 24 if you have not already done so.  
During a crisis like COVID-19, relevant and timely data is mission critical, and that is why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Statistics Canada to understand what businesses are going through during this unprecedented time but also going forward as we recover and return to growth. Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC).

Federal - changes or alternatives to their in-person Annual General Meetings (AGMs). The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) have provided guidance for issuers considering changes or alternatives to their in-person annual general meetings.

Federal - Need of personal protective equipment: Last Week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that roughly 3,000 Canadian companies have answered the Government’s call for volunteers to help health care workers in their fight against COVID-19.

The Government of Canada is working closely with these businesses and manufacturers. The government is confident that, together, we can produce and distribute the personal protective equipment and critical health supplies necessary to care for Canadians.

The federal government has asked associations such as the CPA to reach out to members to see if they can help. Particularly there is a current need of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as:

  • Masks and face shields, gowns and hand sanitizer;
  • Equipment and supplies, including portable ventilators, surgical masks and rapid testing kits;
  • Cleaning and sterilization chemicals and equipment; and
  • Technical and manufacturer expertise.

Thank you to those who contribute - there are already many of you.

Ontario - Emergency Order Extends Deadline for under the Ontario Business Shareholder Meetings Corporations Act (OBCA). For more details click here.

Propane associations join other organizations to support those most in need

Other tools to properly equip workplaces in the implementation of preventive measures and to answer questions from employers and workers: 

CPA Social media campaign  – Please share with us these messages:

Federal Modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic:  The Government of Canada released national-level modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada. The modelling attempts to show how the epidemic might unfold over the coming months based on our knowledge of how the virus behaves and the potential impact of public health measures.

COVID-19 Resources Portal  - WeirFouldsLLP

Weirfold’s COVID-19 Resources Portal includes the latest articles from their lawyers to help people and businesses navigate the situation. They include information on changes to legislation and the impacts on various industries.

They have set up a dedicated COVID-19 email address where you can send questions about your specific challenges. View their website for more information.

A proper national energy policy should be a post-coronavirus priority. We can all now see how critically important reliable energy supplies are, and how taken for granted they were. We will have seen that a global lockdown resulted in a massive drop of 30 million barrels per day of oil demand, but that the world still required 70 million barrels per day even when as close to a standstill. To read more, click here.

Can Alberta and Canada Agree on Kickstarting Alberta’s Economy? McMillan Vantage has been thinking about Alberta more than ever and how the twin perils of Covid-19 and the crash of the oil economy have created enormous challenges. Check out Nathan Rotman’s thoughts on kick-starting Alberta’s economy.

Second StatCan/Canadian Chamber survey shows businesses adapting to distinct new "paradoxical" phase of COVID-19: The second survey data shows businesses are adapting to a distinctly new paradoxical phase of the pandemic, where businesses reopen because they can no longer afford to remain closed but struggle to break even while paying for pre-COVID level costs with significantly reduced revenues. For more information about the survey, click here. To read the Chamber’s news release, click here.

Webinars

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is currently hosting free webinars to assist organizations during COVID-19:

Take Control Of Your Business: 3 Simple Tools To Help Your Business Survive And Thrive
June 22 | 1:30 p.m. ET

Building A Resilient Workforce That Can Thrive In The Next Normal
June 23 | 1:00 p.m. ET

NGLs Emerge as ‘Small Silver Lining’ for U.S. Producers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Oil Downturn: "Natural gas liquids production in the United States could prove a relative bright spot in an otherwise grim run for the energy sector..." Written by Kevin Dobbs. NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index, May 13, 2020

Business survey results: revenue cuts for half of Canadian businesses: Statistics Canada has released the data for the recent business survey conducted in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Survey on Business Conditions. The survey asked businesses from across Canada to provide their input on the pandemic’s effects on their business – indicating conditions pre-pandemic, current status and looking forward. Over 13,000 businesses completed the survey. For additional information, you can read the CCC’s news release and La Presse’s analysis of the survey: Revenue cuts for half of Canadian businesses.

Coronavirus: The Basic Dance Steps Everybody Can Follow

In this article Business expert Tomas Pueyo provides cheap measures that he says can dramatically reduce the epidemic: mandate wearing home-made masks, apply physical distancing and hygiene everywhere and educate the public. This is Part 2 of his series, Coronavirus: Learning How to Dance, that focuses on the specific steps required to open up the economy.

Pueyo specifically addresses these three questions:

  1. What can we learn from the experiences of countries around the world?
  2. What measures will we need to implement during the dance, so we can get back to a new normal? At what cost?
  3. How can we make them a reality?
Elimination of fossil carbon from the global energy supply by 2050 is nothing but an exercise in wishful thinking: We encourage members to read What we need to know about the pace of decarbonization, written by Vacliv Smil, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Environment, University of Manitoba, on the challenge of a net-zero carbon future by 2050, as promoted by the Trudeau government. Smil demonstrates that the government’s belief that it can restructure the energy system overnight – and reduce Canadians' dependence on fossil fuels – will only exacerbate economic problems.
 
“Designing hypothetical roadmaps outlining complete elimination of fossil carbon from the global energy supply by 2050 is nothing but an exercise in wishful thinking that ignores fundamental physical realities. (…) The complete decarbonization of the global energy supply will be an extremely challenging undertaking of an unprecedented scale and complexity that will not be accomplished — even in the case of sustained, dedicated and extraordinarily costly commitment — in a matter of a few decades.”

Information from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

PPE supply for businesses needed before economic re-opening: Canadian Chamber of Commerce: While Canada is showing the first signs of a flattening of the COVID-19 curve, conversations about when and how to safely restart the economy have identified a critical barrier to our recovery: personal protective equipment, or PPE, for workers.

Under normal circumstances, businesses could source PPE on the open market, but trade restrictions on these products and government healthcare demands have made the issue one of national concern. This is why the Chamber is calling on the federal and provincial governments to ensure that PPE is widely available to businesses to protect employees and customers as well as avoid a resurgence of COVID-19.

Federal Modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic:  The Government of Canada released national-level modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada. The modelling attempts to show how the epidemic might unfold over the

coming months based on our knowledge of how the virus behaves and the potential impact of public health measures.

COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action.