Long-term Care Home Crisis in Ontario and Quebec
Commenting on the scathing reports released by the Canadian Armed Forces on the state of long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario, the PM said he will be urgently discussing the public health crisis unfolding in congregate care settings with provincial premiers tomorrow. He reassured Canadians that the federal government will provide all necessary support to manage the situation on the ground. “We need to do a better job of taking care of our seniors. They raised us. They built this country. And we need to do better,” Trudeau said.
Long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 and account for over 80% of all virus casualties across the country. Both provincial reports point to three major challenges in the facilities, including staffing shortages, management of personal protective equipment and how hot zones related to the novel coronavirus were handled.
You can read the full Ontario report here.
Reopening of Economy
The PM also noted that as more and more Canadians return to work, fewer people will need the help of the CERB introduced earlier. However, he reaffirmed the wage subsidies will continue. Maintaining the connection between employer and employee is critical in ensuring that people get back on their feet and keep our economy strong, the PM emphasized. “That is why it’s so important that employers take advantage of this program and rehire their workers,” he said. “If you are an employer, do rehire your employees. Our government will help you.”
The PM also confirmed that the federal government is continuing its discussions with the provinces and territories as well as major labour groups and stakeholders to see which support programs should be extended, phased out or modified as the country prepares to reopen the economy.
New PPE Contract with GM
The Prime Minister announced the government is increasing its orders of PPE, noting that so far more than 40 plane loads of supplies have arrived in Canada as domestic companies continue to produce much-needed medical gear. He announced the federal government has signed a contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks, which are already in production.
New Contract for Life-Saving Health Equipment
Trudeau also announced a new contract for 10,000 ventilators to be produced through a partnership with Nobel Laureate Dr. Art McDonald and Vexos, an electronics manufacturerer based in Markham, Ont. Deliveries will begin this summer bringing the total of made-in Canada ventilators to 40,000.
New Funding for Youth Jobs in Farming Industry
The government will be funding up to 700 new youth jobs in agriculture. “This will support people who put food on our plates while creating new opportunities for young people,” said Trudeau.
Addressing International Economic Devastation
The Prime Minister will be meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Prime Minister of Jamaica to discuss economic devastation caused by COVID‑19. The panel of international leaders and financial experts is expected to discuss the social and economic impact of COVID-19 on the global economy. Worldwide, COVID-19 has claimed more than 344,000 lives, driven more than 300 million people out of work and has pushed more than 30 million people into extreme poverty.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
The PM announced that as of 8:00 this morning commercial property owners are able to apply for the federal rent assistance program online at www.cmhc.ca.
Landlords with up to 10 eligible tenants in the Atlantic provinces, B.C, Alberta and Quebec can apply for rent relief starting today; those in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Territories can apply tomorrow. Landlords with more than 10 tenants will be able to apply later this week.
You can read the full news release here.
Business Help Phone Line
Trudeau also confirmed that his government will be launching a phone line in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help businesses navigate this uncertain time. Entrepreneurs and vulnerable small businesses, including charities and non-profit organizations, will now be able to get assistance from an accountant or financial advisor by calling the “resiliency help desk” at 1-866-989-1080.
Additionally, the government is also pushing back the deadline for tax return declarations, to September 1.
Paid Sick Leave
The Prime Minister noted that his government is working closely with provinces and territories to give all impacted workers 10 days of paid sick leave a year as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Nobody should have to choose between taking sick leave or paying their bills,” he said.
He added that the federal government will also be looking at other longer-term support mechanisms for workers. The proposals will be debated before a small number of Members of Parliament who returned to the House of Commons today. They will also discuss the future of parliamentary sittings.
New Funding for Indigenous Services
The Prime Minister announced the government is providing $75 million in new funding to support programs and services that address the critical needs of more than one million Indigenous people who live in urban centres or off reserve. This is in addition to $15 million for the same cause that was announced in March, funding that is supporting shelters, providing meals, groceries, clothing, other supplies that are in demand during the pandemic and to provide mental health support. It is particularly aimed at vulnerable populations — youth, women and elders. “To urban and off-reserve indigenous populations, we are working to make sure you don’t fall through the cracks,” Trudeau said. “You need and deserve services that are culturally appropriate.”
Follow Doctor’s Orders
On Wednesday, Dr. Tam encouraged Canadians to wear a mask if they are to venture into a situation where physical distancing may not be possible, and today Trudeau echoed the doctor’s comments. He stressed that at this point — as the country is beginning to slowly re-open — is has never been more important to follow instructions from Public Health Canada. “Keep washing your hands, stay home and, if you need to, wear a mask,” the Prime Minister said. “This is the best way to protect both yourself and others.”
Controlling the Next Wave
When asked about the country’s ability to manage and control a second, third or fourth wave of COVID-19, Trudeau said preparation for testing will be key to the effort. The federal government is working with the provinces to “massively” scale up testing and contact tracing capacity to ensure that in a future wave of the pandemic officials are prepared to move quickly. “It is important to increase testing now, but to also make sure as we move through summer and even into fall that we are ready to act extremely quickly so the population at large won’t be in the situation of having to go back into confinement,” Trudeau said.
City of Calgary
Playgrounds open June 1st, but please ensure that you have hand sanitizer/wipes. The issues with playgrounds if there is no ability to contact trace. If family a) was playing on the playground then leaves, and then family B) come by 10 minutes later AHS does not have the ability to trace the source and have the COVID-19 positive person isolate. The City of Calgary chose to take longer to open parks given our high numbers compared to the province. The City has 1,100 playgrounds so signs are being placed at all of them, and being inspected for any maintenance issues this week. The other issues is like many germs and viruses, COVID-19 can live on surfaces for a period of time.
Property Taxes Are in the Mail
Property Tax Bills have been mailed. If you did not receive it, visit Calgary.ca/propertytax or contact 311. Taxes are due on June 30th, and for those that need help due to a job loss or financial hardship, there is a deferral program until September 30th.
Cascade Recycling Centre is still at half capacity due to a breakout of COVID-19, should be up to 75% by end of the week. If you can refrain from taking recycling out this week, please do. It just helps our City Employees who are working hard to keep up the need.
Summary of Calgary
69% of Alberta’s cases are in the Calgary Zone. Calgary is in the second phase of Stage 1 of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy. The final steps to Stage 1 will occur on June 1. Many restaurants and hair salons in Calgary opened yesterday and more plan open this week. Calgary’s relaunch has progressed well. Business owners and patrons have been in overall compliance with Public Health Orders.
The City of Calgary asks citizens to visit another location if they arrive at a park and it is crowded. The City has asked citizens to specifically avoid the following over-crowded parks: Eau Claire Park, Sue Higgins Dog Park, Nose Hill Park, and Princess Island Park.
Alberta MLAs will return to the Legislature today, with over 10 new Bills to be passed this Session.
Alberta is currently in Stage 1 of its Relaunch Strategy. The alberta.ca/bizconnect Webpage provides guidelines for businesses.
The Alberta government announced that the supply of critical PPE will now be focused on organizations at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes hospital workers, first responders, and those working in publicly funded or contracted homeless shelters, seniors care facilities, and agencies serving those with disabilities.
As of July 1, businesses and non-AHS organizations will be required to access PPE directly through suppliers. For more information, visit the Alberta Emergency Management Agency Webpage.
International Travelers and Provincial Checkpoints
Premier Kenney announced new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to support Albertans returning from international travel.
The government of Alberta is implementing phased-in actions that align with the March 25 Order that states international travelers must self-isolate for 14 days:
IntErnational travelers will be required to pass through a provincial checkpoint at airports to receive a thermal screen; Travelers must provide a self-isolation plan and detail how they will travel to their self-isolation destination and how they will receive food and medication; and If travelers do not have transportation or an adequate plan, they will be placed in a mandatory quarantine location.
A provincial checkpoint will be established at the Alberta/U.S. land border crossing in Coutts, where 90% of land travel enters Alberta. Travelers must pass through an initial thermal scan, and if they have high temperature, a second check with a touchless thermometer. All travelers will receive a call from border officials within 3 days to address self-isolation concerns.
Additionally, the following airport protective protocols will be implemented: Enhanced cleaning requirements for airport arrival lounges and high-touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer dispensers placed at kiosks and touch screen machines. Physical distancing measures for all international travelers.