Latest update! June 18th, 2020, @9am
- The Prime Minister announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.
- Canada has reached a new agreement to close non-essential border traffic with the U.S. until July 21.
- Finance Minister Bill Morneau will present an Economic and Fiscal Snapshot on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. The snapshot will provide information on the current state of the economy and the Government of Canada’s response to support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Government of Canada invests almost $500 million in science and engineering. The funding supports fundamental research that will fuel the science and technology discoveries of tomorrow.
- Applications for the Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund to be accepted as of June 22, 2020.
- Camping will resume gradually at a number of national parks and national historic sites across Canada starting on June 22, 2020.
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need.
- Canada has lost its bid for a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council.
- Gyms, arenas, indoor pools to reopen on June 22nd in Quebec, with conditions.
June 16th, 2020
- Message to Industry – Opening of the Application Period for the CUSMA Supply-Managed TRQs. The deadline for applications for both dairy and calendar year TRQs is June 22, 2020. Allocations will be issued on June 30, 2020.
- On June 12, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food launched the $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund (EPF) as part of the Government of Canada’s action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.
- The Prime Minister says the federal government is looking at extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and is promising an update by the end of the week.
- The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food launched the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program. The program aims to move surplus food commodities such as potatoes and other possible horticulture, fish and seafood, and meat through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians.
- The Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau announced that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This means that owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their lack of payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly, as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll will become eligible this week.
- Canada, along with the other 12 Ottawa Group members endorsed the concrete steps contained in the Joint Statement of the Ottawa Group: Focusing Action on COVID-19 at the meeting on World Trade Organization reform.
- Canada has joined together with 13 member countries to create the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI). In the short term, GPAI’s experts will also investigate how AI can be leveraged to better respond to and recover from COVID-19.
- The Government of Canada will now require temperature screenings for all passengers flying in or to Canada. Passengers departing Canadian airports for either international or domestic destinations will also be subject to a temperature screening. This new screening measure will be in addition to the existing health screening and face covering measures already in place.
- Quebec to allow indoor gatherings of 50 people or less, starting June 22.
- Ontario is allowing almost all regions to move forward to the next stage of the province’s restart phase on Friday, which allows restaurants, hair salons and malls to reopen, but Toronto is still excluded from the list.
- Phase 4 of the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions for PEI, will start June 26.
June 12th, 2020
- The Prime Minister spoke with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and the Commonwealth group of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, highlighting the ongoing challenge posed by COVID-19 and the need to build back stronger, more resilient, and greener economies.
- The Minister of Indigenous Services announced additional funding totaling $133 million to support Indigenous businesses through the pandemic and into recovery. Of these additional funds, $117 million will reach more community-owned First Nation, Inuit and Métis businesses including microbusinesses, who are not eligible for existing business support measures.
- The Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade announced that Canada would host the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Ottawa Group on World Trade Organization Reform on June 15, 2020 to discuss key priorities, including greater transparency around export restrictions, ways to ensure the smooth flow of goods and services to benefit their countries’ people, and helping businesses and workers adapt to an increasingly digital economy.
- FedDev Ontario and partners to support nearly 23,000 Ontario businesses to go digital.
- The state of local emergency is being lifted in Calgary at 12:01 a.m. Friday, but officials say physical distancing must continue, and the pandemic is far from over.
- P.E.I. will move to phase four of the province’s reopening plan on June 26.
June 11th, 2020
- The Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade announced that the Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations to help businesses across the country reopen safely.
- The Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance took part in a virtual Ministerial Council Roundtable hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), focused on “The Path to Recovery: Alternative Scenarios and Macroeconomic Policies”. During this event, the Minister underlined the government’s ongoing support for businesses and workers through its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to collaborating with international partners.
- Prime Minister’s commencement speech yesterday to post-secondary graduates.
- Liberals fail to win support for the latest CERB bill on fraud fines, jail time.
- 190,000 Canadians who received CERB payments have repaid them, CRA says.
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) has released information on the distribution of CED financial support to the province’s 67 SADCs and CAEs.
- Ontario Unveils a Plan to Reopen Postsecondary Education. 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.
June 10th, 2020
- The Government of Canada creates a hub for organizations looking to find resources on buying and supplying personal protective equipment.
- The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced the launch of the second call for proposals under the Local Food Infrastructure Fund. This second call for proposals, valued at $43.4 million, started accepting applications yesterday. The Fund provides non-repayable funding for activities such as the construction of greenhouses and garden boxes, the purchase of equipment for the preparation, refrigeration, distribution and storage of food, and vehicle and transport equipment.
- The CFIA is gradually resuming non-critical inspection activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Prime Minister updated Canadians yesterday on Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19.
- The Minister of Foreign Affairs hosted the ninth call of the Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID-19 with his counterparts from Australia, Indonesia, Morocco, Peru, Republic of Korea and Singapore. The ministers recalled the continued importance of exchanging information and coordinating efforts in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness announced the Government of Canada’s intention to provide up to $500,000 to five National Voluntary Organizations (NVOs) to develop pilot projects that will help reintegrate offenders under supervision at community-based residential facilities (halfway houses).
- The federal government is looking into new punishments for Canadians who defraud the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program, according to a copy of a draft piece of legislation.
- The Government of Canada offers financial support, through the RRRF program, to Réseau des SADC et CAE to help small businesses affected by economic impacts of the health crisis.
- Stage 2 of Alberta’s economic relaunch will begin Friday, a full week earlier than the province had initially targeted , giving Albertans an expanded set of activities that can resume with restrictions.
- Ontario is allowing restaurant patios, shopping malls, hair salons, child care and many other workplaces to reopen on Friday as it moves into “Stage 2,” but some cities in Ontario will have to wait a little longer.
- Quebec launches the probe of the pandemic in Montreal, preparing for the second wave.
June 9th, 2020
- The Canada Border Services Agency is announcing that as of June 8, 2020 23:59 EDT, foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and who do not have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or who do not have reason to believe they have COVID-19, will be exempt from the prohibition on entry to Canada if entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days. Foreign nationals who are admitted into Canada pursuant to this exemption must quarantine for 14 days.
- Joint Statement on the Role of a Sustainable Ocean Economy in a post-COVID-19 World
- The Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Minister of Economy and Innovation and Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante announced the injection of new funding worth $50 million to support businesses. The funds will be administered by PME MTL, the Ville de Montréal’s business support network.
- Up to $1 million to help Alberta beekeepers offset the costs of increased colony replacements due to COVID-19.
- Ontario releases stage two of its reopening plan.
- World reports the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day, WHO says.
June 8th, 2020
- Health Canada issues recall on hand sanitizers using industrial ethanol.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new guidelines for face masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that they be used in more situations than previously advised.
- Quebec is allowing training for team sports like soccer and baseball to resume Monday, but there will be no games, for now, and players will have to practise physical distancing.
- The Quebec government is investing an extra $250 million to encourage Quebec’s creative professionals and artists to start producing again.
- Ontario extends emergency orders to June 19 to support its reopening efforts.
- New Zealand appears to have completely eradicated the COVID-19, at least for now, after health officials said Monday the last known infected person had recovered.
June 6th-7th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic. This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment upto $600 to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020
- Statistics Canada has released the results of Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 2: Monitoring the effects of COVID-19, May 2020.
- The Government delays Divorce Act amendments coming into force in response to requests from justice partners due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a six-month postponement of the 3500 MHz spectrum auction process and its associated key dates to allow the telecommunications industry to maintain its focus on providing essential services to Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 5th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6. Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors and more than $1,500 for senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help them with extra costs during the pandemic.
- The Prime Minister spoke with premiers on continued efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19.
- The Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam has issued a clear warning that Canada could see “explosive growth” in new cases if reopening is not done with caution, as the latest federal COVID-19 modelling projects that there will be more than 100,000 confirmed cases in Canada, and up to 9,400 deaths by June 15.
- The Government of Canada signs an agreement with provinces to simplify and clarify the supervision of multi-jurisdictional pension plans.
- The Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, spoke yesterday with Hideki Makihara, Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. Minister Ng thanked Minister Makihara for his country’s support in helping Canadians who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, return home.
- The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, launched a call for expressions of interest under the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) youth innovation component, a Government of Canada grants and contributions program. This EAF component engages and challenges youth to volunteer and collaborate with local community-based organizations, and apply for funding of up to $10,000 for accessibility projects.
- Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John–Rothesay, on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced a $326,000 investment in an innovative online program that will help New Brunswick families save money on their energy bills while reducing pollution.
- The Government of Canada announces new regulatory measures to improve the review process for exploratory drilling projects in the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador offshore.
- Saskatchewan plan’s fourth phase to be rolled out in two parts.
- Wuhan tests 10 million people for coronavirus, finds 300 asymptomatic cases.
June 4th, 2020
- Message to Industry – Opening of the Application Period for the Dairy Export Thresholds under CUSMA
- The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced he is 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.
- The government is planning to spend more than $88 million to get its message out on everything from health advice to government programs related to COVID-19.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to deliver remarks today during the virtual Global Vaccine Summit, which the U.K. is hosting.
- Bank of Canada holds rate steady, saying COVID-19 economic impact ‘appears to have peaked’.
- New report details spread of COVID-19 through the global mining industry.
- Ontario to spend $150M on rural broadband and cell Cell Service for Rural Communities, mentioning that connecting Residents and Businesses to the 21st Century Digital Economy is Essential for Recovery after COVID-19.
- The Saskatchewan Health Authority is expanding visitation for “compassionate reasons” at its facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 3rd, 2020
- The Government of Canada announces interest relief for First Nations through the First Nations Finance Authority. The authority will receive interest payment relief as a result of a $17.1 million support from the Government of Canada.
- Prime Minister’s remarks at yesterday’s briefing on securing personal protective equipment and supplies. The Prime Minister highlighted the new government funding for four Canadian companies working on breakthrough solutions for COVID-19 rapid testing.
- The President of the Treasury Board of Canada tabled the Supplementary Estimates (A), 2020–21, in the House of Commons. Most of these are authorized by the COVID-19 Emergency Response Acts, which were approved by Parliament in March and April.
- The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the launch of a call for proposals under the newly modernized Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) – small projects component. The modernization of the program will help to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities, and provide more flexibility to organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Ontario extends state of emergency until June 30th.
- Hundreds of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Toronto area were not flagged to public health officials because of a mixup between two hospitals, CBC News has learned.
- Testing for COVID-19 in Alberta has been expanded to anyone who wants to be tested.
- Quebec is looking to recruit 10,000 people to work as orderlies in its labour-strapped long-term care homes to stave off a second wave of the novel coronavirus.
- On June 8, the COVID-19-related travel restrictions in Saskatchewan’s far north are expected to be lifted.
- The World Health Organization says that COVID-19 may add to a rising issue of antibiotic resistance. The W.H.O is suggesting doctors avoid using antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis in patients with mild cases of COVID-19, unless there is a clear reason to do so.
June 2nd, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced $2.2 billion funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund as one payment in June to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines.
- The Government of Canada announces funding for the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities.
- The Government of Canada will provide rent relief for eligible business tenants in all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today spoke with his counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States on the impacts of COVID-19, including the response of the World Health Organization and its plans to conduct an independent review of the global response to the pandemic.
- Many National parks, historic sites partly reopened yesterday, but no camping yet.
- Premier Doug Ford to ask the Ontario legislature to extend the state of emergency through June.
- B.C. bans commercial landlords who forgo federal rent relief from evicting tenants.
June 1st, 2020
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, spoke with the Secretary of Economy of Mexico and discussed the shared ways that Mexico and Canada are working hard to keep their citizens safe and healthy while supporting businesses amid COVID-19.
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) will receive $30 million in FedDev Ontario RRRF funding to provide financial relief to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) across southern Ontario that have experienced significant revenue shortfalls.
- The Government of Canada invests $7.6 million to support communities, businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario to help create jobs, spur growth and support the tourism industry.
- The Western Economic Diversification Canada is working with tourism businesses to bolster the industry’s recovery efforts in western Canada.
- Alberta’s campgrounds will reopen today, but COVID-19 restrictions will keep half the sites closed.
- Starting today, private health-care services, such as dentists and physiotherapists, will be allowed to reopen in Quebec.
May 30th -31st, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new funding to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities. The funding includes:
- $285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities
- $270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program
- $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters
- The Prime Minister says the federal government is looking at how to reunite some families separated by the temporary COVID-19 measures at the Canada-U.S. border, a proposal that’s already getting mixed reviews from the premiers.
- The Prime Minister spoke with the Permanent Representatives of the United Nations’ African Group to discuss Canada’s candidacy to serve on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-2022.
- The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced updated measures pertaining to cruise ships and passenger vessels in Canadian waters.
- The Finance Minister, Bill Morneau announced the coming into force of regulations providing relief to federally regulated pension plan sponsors. Under the regulations, from May 29 until December 30, 2020, federally regulated defined benefit pension plan sponsors are not required to make solvency special payments. The regulations also provide accommodations for solvency special payments made since April 1, 2020.
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, spoke yesterday with Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, about the need for continued global cooperation to keep our people healthy and safe while mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19.
May 29th, 2020
- The Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau spoke with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos and US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as part of their continued collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed the importance of sustaining uninterrupted food and agriculture trade to ensure food security and safeguard the citizens in our three countries. They also stressed their commitment to a smooth and efficient transition to CUSMA.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, held their eleventh call with premiers to discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation. The leaders discussed the collaborative efforts by federal, provincial, and territorial partners to combat the pandemic and protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of all Canadians. They also discussed the recent reports by the Canadian Armed Forces on long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec, and agreed to take action to improve care for seniors.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, led a call for global cooperation yesterday at a major United Nations meeting aimed at mitigating the devastating social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 heads of state and government participated in the meeting, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and the U.K.’s Boris Johnson, along with representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the private sector.
- The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) have released a statement highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on cyber security.
- Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole, the two leading contenders to replace Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party, have released economic plans they say would jump-start an economy crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and TD Bank Group missed quarterly earnings expectations on Thursday, as they set aside billions to cover future loan losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The massive jump in provisions took the total amount set aside by Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal , Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank of Canada, CIBC and TD Bank to $10.93 billion.
- Starting today, museums, libraries and drive-in cinemas will be permitted to reopen across Quebec.
- Ontario extends all emergency orders for another 10 days. The orders will now be in effect until June 9.
May 28th, 2020
- The four dairy associations released a statement on allocation of CUSMA’s dairy TRQs: viability of Canada’s dairy sector at stake.
- Health Canada announces another step to accelerate access to health products for COVID-19
- The Minister of Natural Resources has released the following statement after meeting by videoconference with his provincial and territorial counterparts of the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference.
- Yesterday, the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, Mona Fortier, participated in a virtual meeting organized by CIVIX, a national registered charity dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians. She answered questions from students across Canada. She discussed the challenges currently facing young Canadians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the government’s support for young Canadians through its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
- Statistics Canada has released a report on Canadians’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Staffing and protective equipment are still a challenge in Quebec’s long-term care homes, military report says.
- Ontario is taking over management at five Ontario long-term care homes in the wake of a ‘gut-wrenching’ military report.
- BC Premier, John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency by another two weeks.
May 27th, 2020
- The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) and fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture industry.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said a new contract had been signed with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks to provide personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers.
- The Agriculture Committee will meet today and members will hear from the Dairy Processor Association of Canada and the Dairy Farmers of Canada, among other witnesses.
- A Canadian military report released on Tuesday chronicles conditions at five long-term care homes in Ontario.
- The Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Andrew Holness of Canada and Jamaica, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a special high-level meeting on 28 May to advance concrete solutions to the development emergency caused by the COVID?19 pandemic.
- The Liberal government’s plan to extend the suspension of regular parliamentary sittings until September because of COVID-19 went ahead Tuesday with the support of the NDP.
- Action Committee on Court Operations in Response to COVID-19 Approves Initial Guidance Documents
- The world may see a second peak of the coronavirus, even within this first wave, says Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.
May 26th, 2020
- The Prime Minister announced that applications are now being accepted for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.
- The Prime Minister stated that the federal government is talking to the provinces about bringing in 10 days of paid sick leave for workers.
- The Prime Minister to update Canadians today on the supply of personal protective equipment.
- The Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced the launch of a four-week hotline service called the Business Resilience Service. This service will help entrepreneurs and small business owners in need of financial planning advice, particularly those who may not have access to an accountant. The service will also be open to not-for-profit organizations and charities.
- The federal government introduced an additional measure to speed up access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for international students and temporary foreign workers, the National Post reports.
- Statistics canada has released a report on Monthly trade in goods by exporter characteristics for March 2020.
- The Nunavut government unveiled its COVID-19 reopening strategy Monday.
May 25th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, says he’s hoping Canada will adopt just one contact tracing app to encourage its use across the country to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- The House of Commons is meeting today to decide how it’s going to function as COVID-19 restrictions gradually lift across the country.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a public plea on Sunday, asking people to “please go get a test”, even if they are asymptomatic after the province fell short of its testing target for the seventh day in a row.
- The Toronto city’s chief medical officer condemned crowding in Trinity Bellwood park on Saturday, calling the behaviour ‘selfish’ and noting that cases of COVID-19 in Toronto are still on the rise.
May 23rd-24th, 2020
- The Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has the potential to provide up to $670 million directly to farmers.The changes allow an estimated additional 36,500 farms nation-wide to access the CEBA, for a total of over 67,000 eligible farms across Canada.
- The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government, announced a web-based benefits finder tool, “Find financial help during COVID-19”, to help people living in Canada determine which government benefits programs best meet their needs.
- The Prime Minister discussed the importance of testing, contact tracing, and the sharing of data to fight COVID-19
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is providing temporary flexibility for certain labelling requirements for shell eggs.
- Retail sales fell for the first time in five months, plunging 10.0% to $47.1 billion in March. This drop is the largest on record and is comparable to the retail sales decline observed in the United States (-7.1%) and other countries in the wake of COVID-19. Full report here.
May 22nd, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve. This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of Indigenous populations during this crisis, including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment.
- The Minister of Labour provided an update on ongoing engagement with provincial and territorial counterparts and leaders of labour and industry to keep Canadian workers safe.
- CFIA has put in place a temporary Ministerial Exemption (ME) process that will permit interprovincial movement of meat and poultry products from establishments that are not federally licensed if such trade becomes necessary to alleviate meat shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) says the country isn’t prepared for a possible second wave of COVID-19 and a shortage of personal protective equipment and poor testing numbers are leaving Canadians vulnerable.
- Ontario announces the first phase of research projects to fight COVID-19.
- In a special fiscal update released Thursday, New Brunswick’s Department of Finance revealed it is now projecting a $299.2-million deficit for the current year, rather than the $92.4-million surplus announced when the budget was presented to the legislature on March 10th.
May 21st, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that application documents and updated criteria for Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses are now available and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25.
- The Finance Minister and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the opening of the application process for the government’s Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF). The program will support Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing.
- The Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, now says Canadians should wear masks in public in situations where physical distancing is impossible.
- At Together|Ensemble 2020, Canada’s annual conference on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced that the Government of Canada had provided approximately $4.3 million in funding to 47 organizations through the 2019-2020 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Funding Program.
- Statistics Canada’s consumer price index plummeted to negative reading as the price of just about everything got much cheaper last month than it was a year ago. April’s decline was the first time Canada’s year-over-year inflation rate fell into negative territory since September 2009. Full report here.
- Manitoba increases gathering limits to 25 inside or 50 outside starting Friday.
- Starting Friday, Quebecers will be allowed to gather outdoors in groups of no more than 10 people, while still maintaining physical distancing, said the province’s deputy premier, Geneviève Guilbault.
- Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney told reporters at Ontario’s daily news briefing that the province is “recommending anyone travelling on public transit wear a face covering,” with exceptions for children under two-years-old, anyone who has trouble breathing, and anyone who would have trouble removing one.
- The European Union’s health and aviation bodies have issued a new set of guidelines for air travel, recommending the use of face masks and the practice of hand hygiene on flights in order to ensure safety of travelers and aviation personnel amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
- WHO records highest ever daily increase in global coronavirus cases prompting low-income country warning.
May 20th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. 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.
- The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau mentioned that the farmers can directly benefit from changes to Canada Emergency Business Account.
- An agreement has been reached between Canada and the United States to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel until June 21st.
- The Government of Canada published draft legislative proposals, that outline potential solutions that the Government could implement to ensure that the decisions the Government takes protect Canadians’ rights and access to justice. The draft legislative proposals will be available online for 10 days. Interested stakeholders are welcome to share their comments.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke with the Permanent Representatives of the United Nations’ Eastern European Group to discuss Canada’s candidacy to serve on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2021-2022.The Prime Minister highlighted the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting the importance of multilateral cooperation in addressing the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, and highlighting the central role of the United Nations in the international response.
- The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, today co-presided via video conference a second extraordinary meeting of the United Nations Group of Friends of Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting was on the additional actions needed to respond rapidly to the global economic crisis facing developing countries and support their efforts to build more resilient societies.
- The Ontario government announced yesterday that schools will remain closed for the rest of this school year.
- The Manitoba government wants about 6,250 civil servants within core government departments to take five days of unpaid leave to cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Minister of Finance Carole James said in the statement, that more than 250,000 eligible workers in B.C who provide front-line, in-person services in settings like hospitals, jails, long-term and assisted-living facilities would receive temporary pandemic pay. The pay comes as a lump sum payment worth about $4 per hour for a 16-week week period starting March 15 2020
- A resolution on the need to investigate the global response to the coronavirus pandemic won unanimously at the World Health Organization’s annual ministerial meeting on Tuesday.
May 19th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, says the first Canadian clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine have b??een approved by Health Canada and will be conducted out of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University.
- The Government of Canada announced a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt frontline services for vulnerable Canadians during COVID-19.
- The Government of Canada announced $306 million in funding to respond to annual humanitarian appeals through United Nations humanitarian agencies, non-governmental organizations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
- The WHO, director general, promised yesterday during a virtual meeting of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, that there will be an independent review of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
- On Tuesday, Ontario will officially enter the first stage of reopening the economy, which will allow retail stores with street entrances, certain sport facilities, and some professional workplaces to open their doors after months of being shut down due to the pandemic.
- Some Quebec travel restrictions were lifted, including the Ottawa-Gatineau border, but caution still advised.
- The B.C. Premier, John Horgan, says some children will start to return to classrooms on a part-time, voluntary basis beginning June 1st. The gradual reopening will apply to all students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Schools will have to abide by rigorous cleaning procedures and follow provincial health guidelines, he said.
May 16th-18th, 2020
- On May 15th, the Senate adopted Bill C-16 which will increase the CDC’s borrowing limit from $300 million to $500 million.
- Minister Pilett and Minister Bibeau at the Senate questions session on the 15th of May, 2020 on Bill C-16.
- The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that effective on Friday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications to the Agri-Food Pilot.The 3-year pilot will test an industry-specific approach to help employers in the meat processing, mushroom and greenhouse production, and livestock-raising industries fill ongoing labour needs for full-time, by providing a pathway to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers already in Canada.
- The Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, announced that the Government of Canada would extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. The Government will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau,announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Provide wage supports to universities and health research institutes.The government will provide up to 75 per cent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week.
- Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and this will cover up to 75 percent of total eligible costs.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) would be increased once again in July, to help families keep up with the costs of living and raising their children.The increase would be in place for the 2020-21 benefit year and will raise the maximum benefit to $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17.
- The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, kicked off the hiring period for Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) 2020.
- The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that benefit payments would continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time. Eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada child benefit (CCB) will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020.
- As co-chairs of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS), the Minister of International Development, the Honourable Karina Gould, and the Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Sierra Leone, issued a statement on behalf of the IDPS.
- The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced funding to over 500 women’s shelters and sexual assault centres.
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the Government of Canada would provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES).
- The Government of Canada has released a plan helping British Columbia agriculture and food businesses affected by COVID-19.
- Alberta, Nova Scotia Yukon and N.W.T. announced immediate easing of restrictions on Friday.
May 15th, 2020
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of Farm Credit Canada (FCC), announced the launch of a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund to support proven, viable companies through unexpected business disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is set up to support a wide range of enterprises in the agribusiness and agri-food sector, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging and distribution.
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.25 million to help farmers better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy food products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding will be used for initiatives like purchasing personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and redesigning workstations.
- The Prime Minister announced the launch of the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans (Centre of Excellence) at McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences. The Centre of Excellence will focus on pain management research and evidence-based therapies that address Veterans’ complex chronic pain challenges and needs.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced up to $469.4 million in new measures to support Canada’s fish harvesters, who are economically impacted by the pandemic but cannot access existing federal measures. This investment builds on the $62.5 million for the new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund announced last month to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector.
- The Prime Minister also said the government is putting extra money into support for Indigenous communities. During his daily briefing, Trudeau said there will be targeted support for Inuit and Metis students and Indigenous businesses. He says there would also be funds for support services and shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
- The Minister of Transport, introduced new measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in remote and vulnerable Arctic communities. As of June 1, 2020, pleasure craft will be prohibited from operating within Canada’s Arctic coastal waters (north of the 60th parallel), as well as in the coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador. These measures will remain in place until at least October 31, 2020.
- Starting June 1, 2020, Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada will gradually resume some operations at selected national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas and national wildlife areas.
- Yesterday, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and the provincial and federal governments signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that recognizes Wet’suwet’en rights and title throughout the Yintah and sets out a process to negotiate an agreement on how to implement them.
- Statistics Canada has released its Monthly Survey of Manufacturing for March 2020. According to the survey, the manufacturing sales fell 9.2% to $50.8 billion in March, the lowest level since June 2016 and the largest percentage decline since December 2008, during the previous recession.
- To assist the education sector, municipalities, and students during the COVID-19 emergency, Ontario has passed the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, amending the Education Act, Planning Act, Development Charges Act, Police Services Act and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act.
- Yesterday, the Ontario government announced additional workplaces that can reopen: the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities would be permitted to open as early as Saturday, May 16, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, met virtually with her G20 international trade counterparts. During the meeting, they committed to a collective action plan to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on jobs, trade, and the global economy, while ensuring the health and safety of their citizens.
- Canada and 48 World Trade Organization [WTO] members signed a joint statement committing to address the immediate economic challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises throughout this crisis.
- The World Health Organization is warning that the novel coronavirus “may never go away”. The global health body is cautioning against trying to predict how long COVID-19 will keep circulating around the world.
May 14th, 2020
- The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, along with the Minister of National Revenue, announced that the application period for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) will begin on Friday, May 15, 2020. The CESB, which will be delivered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), will provide temporary income support to eligible post-secondary students and new graduates who are unable to work or find work this summer due to COVID-19, or are working and are not making over $1000.
- The Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is now accepting applications from businesses and communities. It is specifically targeted toward those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but have been unable to access existing support measures. The funding will be allocated as follows:
- $110 million for Atlantic Canada – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
- $211 million for Quebec – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
- $34.3 million for Northern Canada – Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
- $252.4 million for Southern Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
- $49.5 million for Northern Ontario – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor)
- $304.2 million for Western Canada – Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
- The House of Commons passed Bill C-16 yesterday, which increases the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit to $500 million from $300 million. The Bill will be studied by the Senate on Friday.
- House of Commons – Meeting of May 14, 2020
- The CFIA has posted on their website, “due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on stakeholders and government, timelines for all regulatory initiatives will be delayed. The dates in the 2019-21 Forward Regulatory Plan are no longer applicable. CFIA will assess these timelines over the coming months.”
- The Government of Canada, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council and Métis Nation–Saskatchewan announced emergency support for COVID-19 response in northwestern Saskatchewan.
- Alberta will proceed to the first phase of its relaunch plan on May 14, though Calgary and Brooks will reopen more slowly than the rest of the province, says Premier Jason Kenney.
- Ontario is set to announce its first phase of lifting restrictions on construction work and loosening restrictions on most retail shops as part of its COVID-19 reopening plan, today.
May 13th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a series of additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis. These measures include:
- Providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS
- Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects.
- Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed.
- During the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVI) meeting on May 12, MP Gourde asked a question to Deputy Prime Minister Freeland on the allocation of CUSMA TRQs to dairy processors (in French).
- The House of Commons reconvenes today to debate legislation to permanently increase the Canadian Dairy Commission’s (CDC) borrowing limit to half a billion dollars.
- The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has released a statement on Temporary Foreign Workers.
- The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the temporary suspension of service at certain small vessel reporting sites, small airports of entry, ferry terminals and to the Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) program. These COVID-19 related measures are temporary, and in effect as of May 12, 2020, at 11:59 pm EDT. They will remain in effect until further notice.
- The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today announced new support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s end-game strategy, toward ensuring regular routine immunizations for hundreds of million children around the world. Gavi is currently helping low-income countries respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, including making additional funding available for strengthening health systems.
- The Minister of Foreign Affairs, hosted the eighth call with his counterparts from countries affected by COVID-19, including Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom and they discussed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed that a coordinated multilateral response continues to be essential as economies begin to reopen and plan for next steps.
- Following priority scientific review, Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 serological test for use in Canada, the DiaSorin LIAISON®. Canadian laboratories will use the test to detect antibodies specific to COVID-19.
- Yesterday, Statistics Canada released the results from its second crowdsourcing initiative, which asked postsecondary students in Canada about how they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Canada-U.S. border is expected to stay closed to non-essential travel until June 21st.
May 12th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new measures to support businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and weather this pandemic. These measures include;
- Establishing a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers
- Expanding the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs which include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million
- Continuing to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC through the Canada Account
- Parliament is sitting tomorrow to debate and pass the feds’ emergency assistance for the dairy sector. Ottawa is looking to boost the lending capacity of the Canadian Dairy Commission, raising the amount to $200-million. That would help the sector cover the costs associated with storing unsold inventories of perishable goods.
- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Ottawa and Washington are working out plans to manage the cross-border traffic as restrictive measures start to ease on both sides of the border. Both countries had agreed to restrict mobility to essential travel until at least May 21.
- The Premier, Doug Ford, will ask the Ontario Legislature to extend the provincial state of emergency until June 2, as the government continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. The current state of emergency was set to expire on Tuesday.
- The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) has released the second phase of its province-wide action plan in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The additional supports include an extra $1.8 million — provided by the federal government — to help MNA citizens amid the pandemic. That funding will be divided between the MNA’s six regions in Alberta to top up support in key areas of need for Métis Nation citizens, including housing, family and child care support.
- BC provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, expects Phase 2 of the B.C. restart plan to go ahead next week. The second phase would allow some businesses to reopen, with restrictions, and for people to gather in groups up to six after the Victoria Day long weekend.
- The government of Saskatchewan made some changes to the Phase-2 of the ‘Reopen Saskatchewan Plan’, which is set to start May 19th. The changes include the addition of a few new businesses such as farmers markets, thrifts stores etc. being allowed to reopen, as well as some changes to previously announced plans.
- Manitoba’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Brent Roussin, said on Monday that the province would be watching the number of COVID-19 cases as restrictions are loosened, adding that should they loosen restrictions carefully and thoughtfully, they could move to the next phase of reopening by the end of May or early June.
- Alberta released a new online tool with COVID-19 sector by sector guidelines to help businesses prepare for reopening.
May 11th, 2020
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.25 million in provincially licensed meat processing plants to better protect employees and ensure the continued supply of healthy products for consumers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- In response to COVID-19, the Agriculture Training Support Program was introduced in Alberta, and this program is intended to offset costs for COVID-19 safety and training, including the costs for personal protective equipment and to remove any barriers to getting Albertans safely working. By providing up to $5 million in support to farmers, agri-businesses and food processors, the program helps offset the cost to train new employees safely in new agri-food roles. The program will support training for as many as 2,500 new jobs in Alberta. The maximum government contribution under the program is $2,000 per new employee, up to a maximum of $50,000 per employer. Grants will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis until available program funding is fully allocated.
- Statistics Canada has released a labour force survey for April.
- The Indigenous Services Canada providing direct air transportation with strict, safety-first health protocol for essential personnel to serve fly-in First Nations communities and protect against COVID-19
- Quebec elementary schools outside the Montreal area will reopen today. Ontario schools will remain closed through May and Quebec high schools, CEGEPs and universities will stay closed to in-person classes until fall.
- The Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday, May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday, May 15, 2020. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month.
- The Manitoba government is lifting the one-month supply limit on prescription drugs. Effective May 11, Manitobans who have prescriptions for long-term medications will be able to fill them as per their prescriber’s directions up to a three-month supply.
- Cargill Ltd. is suspending operations at its meat-packing plant near Montreal after more than 10 percent of its workforce tested positive for COVID-19, marking the company’s second shutdown in Canada because of the novel coronavirus.
May 9- 10th, 2020
- The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the emergency wage subsidy program is being extended beyond June, in an effort to encourage more employers to rehire staff and “help kick-start” the gradual economic reopening amid “tough times.”
- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the new Industry Strategy Council, chaired by Monique Leroux, a strong business leader with a distinguished career in Canadian finance. This council will serve as an advisory board to assess the scope and depth of COVID-19’s impact on industries and inform the government’s understanding of specific sectoral pressures.
- The Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, shared further details regarding the Government of Canada’s April 17th announcement of temporary relief measures to support the culture, heritage and sport sectors as they manage the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan for the future. A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate the financial pressures of affected organizations.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau says Canada will not pay the full price for medical masks that do not live up to medical standards.“We have been working very, very hard from the very beginning to bring in PPE,” he said Saturday. The day before, however, the federal government suspended shipments of N95 respirators from a Montreal-based supplier after about eight million of the masks made in China failed to meet specifications.
- Canada has backed an American-led effort to allow Taiwan to be granted observer status at the World Health Organization because of its early success in containing COVID-19.
- A broadening of criteria related to federal government wage subsidy support will allow 17,000 essential workers in P.E.I. to receive a $1,000 payment, including agriculture.
- Here is the joint statement released from Minister Qualtrough, Minister Morneau and Minister Duclos on the economic impact of the Covid-19.
- The Ontario government has approved an emergency order that would enable available school board employees to be voluntarily redeployed to congregate care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and women’s shelters. Many of these congregate care settings are in need of staff such as custodial and maintenance workers.
May 8th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers. The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers, and the provinces will provide the rest. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support and how much support they will receive.
- AAFC has posted new workplace guidance for sector employers and employees.
- Federal and provincial privacy commissioners issued a joint statement, outlining principles governments should stick to as they work to develop contact-tracing apps to manage the spread of COVID-19. They said the use of these apps should be voluntary and that data should be aggregated or “de-identified” where possible.
- Federal health authorities and their regional counterparts are asking Canadians to refrain from visiting their cottage properties as the summer months approach to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in more rural communities with less robust health-care systems.
- Peter MacKay is calling for use of the Magnitsky Act if specific individuals in China can be identified as having suppressed information related to COVID-19.
- In Alberta, the emergency management committee of the cabinet will meet next Monday to make decisions about precise timelines for Phase 1 of the relaunch, and will do so with regional statistics in mind and with advice from the chief medical officer of health and her team.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health detailed yesterday its plan to resume scheduled surgeries that were postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The process will be managed at the regional level, with individual hospitals doing feasibility studies in conjunction with the various COVID-19 task forces that oversee hospital networks. Both hospitals and the regional task forces will need to sign off before procedures can resume.
- The B.C. government plans to spend $250 million in the next year in an attempt to reduce its surgical waitlist that includes at least 30,000 needed surgeries that were put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Canada’s chief science adviser says Quebec has failed to come up with a detailed plan for widespread testing for COVID-19 as it prepares to reopen schools and businesses. Quebec’s public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said last week the province’s target is to conduct 14,000 coronavirus tests a day as deconfinement measures ramp up. So far, Arruda admitted Wednesday; the province is still at about 7,000 tests per day.
- The United Nations called on governments, companies and billionaires yesterday to contribute to a $6.7 billion fund for immediate needs in fighting the coronavirus pandemic in vulnerable countries, warning that a failure to help could lead to a “hunger pandemic,” riots and more conflict.
May 7th, 2020
- The Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, announced action to further ensure Canadians have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary medical equipment. To keep Canadians safe, the government is waiving tariffs on certain medical goods, including PPE such as masks and gloves. This will reduce the cost of imported PPE for Canadian businesses, which face tariffs of up to 18 per cent in some instances, help protect workers, and ensure our supply chains can keep functioning well.
- During the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food meeting on May 5th:
- During the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic (COVI) meeting on May 6th:
- MP Lukiwski questioned Minister Bibeau on the announcement for the AgriRecovery program and compensations to the agri-food sector (answers in French).
- MP Martel questioned Minister Bibeau on the support to dairy producers and processors (in French).
- MP Shields questioned Minister Bibeau on the BRM and AgriRecovery programs (answers in French).
- Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada is slowing down, with the new case doubling rate much slower than it has been in the past. Tam says that the doubling time for new cases is now up to about 20 days, as opposed to last week, when it was 16 days.
- Ontario will relax some of its coronavirus restrictions in the days ahead, moving with “cautious optimism” to allow garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores to reopen so long as they adhere to the same public health measures currently in place at grocery stores, Premier Doug Ford says.Select retailers can reopen according to this schedule:
- Friday: Nurseries and garden centres
- Saturday: Hardware stores and safety supply stores
- Monday: Retail stores with street entrances will be permitted to reopen for curbside pickup
- The province will also expand what counts as essential construction with work allowed on condominiums and apartments, Ford said.
- Effective immediately, Ottawa is reopening green spaces within public parks, but amenities such as play structures and benches remain off limits, as do dog parks, sports fields and basketball courts.
- BC presented its Restart Plan yesterday. Phase 2 will start next week and includes:
- small social gatherings;
- a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
- provincial parks open for day use;
- opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans;
- recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
May 6th, 2020
- DPAC’s Statement: DPAC welcomes this initial government support to the food supply chain
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced measures within agriculture programs and an investment of more than $252 million to support farmers, food businesses, and food processors who provide essential services to Canadians every day by ensuring a safe and reliable food supply:
- $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food processors access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations
- $125 million funding in launching a national AgriRecovery initiative
- Launching a Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories
- Working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program
- Working with provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages
- The Prime Minister also announced that the Government intends to increase the borrowing limit of the Canadian Dairy Commission by $200 million to support the costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter. The Government will work with the opposition parties to secure the necessary legislative changes.
- The Prime Minister also mentioned that there would be more aid for the sector. His speech from yesterday is here.
- The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) has reacted to the announcement, stating that it falls short in Addressing Needs of Agri-Food’s Mounting Losses.
- Some opposition Parliamentarians say the federal government misled them on when the new NAFTA will come into force, believing they had an assurance that the updated trade pact would start at the beginning of August and not a month before, to the detriment of Canada’s dairy sector.
- Statistics Canada reported yesterday that Canada exported $46.3 billion worth of goods to the world in March, the lowest level since January 2018. At the same time, imports fell to $47.7 billion, the lowest level since October 2017. Both figures were down by almost 10 percent from the level seen in March of last year, showing a trade deficit of $1.4B for March. Full report can be found here.
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, issued a statement on joint commitment with WTO members to maintain predictable and rules-based trade at this critical time.
- Yesterday, Canada and the other 20 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation [APEC] endorsed a statement committing to mitigate the economic impacts caused by COVID-19 and to plan for economic recovery—especially in developing countries. As a founding member of APEC, Canada recognizes the importance of collaboration with the dynamic and fast-growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
- The Ontario premier, Doug Ford yesterday mentioned that the province’s recent COVID-19 case numbers are “encouraging,” and said that if they continue their downward trend, parks and stores could reopen sooner than later. He also asked that businesses start preparing their supplies of masks and taking other steps needed to reopen in advance of a green light to reopen from public health officials.
- The Ontario government also announced its expanded virtual mental health service to help those suffering throughout the coronavirus pandemic.The expansion is a part of the $12 million the provincial government previously announced toward mental health services.
- Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister on Tuesday announced the Seniors Economic Recovery credit, which is a $45-million program to support seniors facing additional costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a $200 one-time refundable tax credit for all seniors in the province.
- Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal are making changes this week to allow for physical distancing.
May 5th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, joined other global leaders to launch the Coronavirus Global Response. This online pledging event aims to initially raise more than $8 billion (USD) to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
- The Canada’s Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, and Quebec’s Minister for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, issued a joint statement encouraging those who do not feel safe at home during the pandemic to use the resources available.
- CFIA has published information on Food safety during COVID-19. You are unlikely to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 through food. You can lower your risk of infection by following safe food shopping, handling and cooking practices.
- As provinces begin gradually to reopen their economies, Andrew Scheer is warning that federal emergency aid could discourage some people from going back to work.
- Quebec delays reopening retail stores in Montreal amid coronavirus pandemic. However, schools will reopen as planned.
- BC says nothing will “reopen” this week: Premier John Horgan is expected to outline the broad strokes of B.C.’s plan on Wednesday, but it won’t be until the middle of the month before things take effect. And, rather than delivering a long list of which stores should open, the province will instead give guidelines to industries that may have voluntarily closed over the past two months.
- Air Canada says it lost $1.05 billion in its first quarter compared with a profit of $345 million in the same quarter last year as governments imposed travel restrictions around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 4th, 2020
- Dairy Processors Association of Canada is scheduled to appear today before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced an investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians. This investment will support Wellness Together Canada, an online portal that provides Canadians with free resources, tools, and professional support services to help with wellness and resilience, as well as mental health and substance use. The investment will also support digital products, including the Canada COVID-19 app, which helps people track their symptoms, receive the latest updates, and access trusted resources.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also highlighted that families receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) would get $300 extra per child in May to help them deal with the added pressures of COVID-19. Eligible families will automatically receive this one-time increase as part of their scheduled CCB payment in May.
- The Government of Canada announced the creation of the COVID19 Supply Council.The Supply Council will bring together a diverse group of leaders to provide the government with advice on the procurement of critical goods and services required for Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery.
- Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, today announced a contribution of $175.6 million to AbCellera Biologics, a Canadian biotechnology company that researches and discovers next-generation antibody drugs to fight infection and disease. This contribution is part of Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19, announced on March 23, 2020.
- Health Canada is restricting the use of a made-in-Canada, rapid COVID-19 test created by Spartan Bioscience after the National Microbiology Lab found problems with the test that made it unreliable.
- Many provinces are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions starting today.
- Some seasonal businesses in Ontario reopen today under strict safety guidelines.
- Quebec is reopening retail stores outside Montreal today.
- The Saskatchewan government’s five-phase plan to reopen parts of its economy starts today with dentists, optometrists and other health professionals being allowed to resume services.
- Manitoba allows health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists, retail businesses at half occupancy, restaurants and also the museums and libraries are to open today.
- Alberta plans to allow some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to start today. Service provided by dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals are also to be permitted.
- However, British Columbia hasn’t released its reopening plan yet.
May 2nd-3rd, 2020
- The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, issued a joint statement, following the virtual meeting with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. The statement highlights support of concrete actions to advance the commitments agreed upon by the G20 trade and investment ministers on March 30, 2020, including facilitating the cross-border movement of essential goods and maintaining open and connected supply chains throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Ontario government has announced that certain businesses and workplaces can reopen on Monday the 4th of May with strict public health measures in effect. The government said businesses permitted to reopen include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects.
- A new set of rules were introduced for Manitoba care homes, starting on Friday, limiting health-care workers to just one care home.
May 1st, 2020
- Conservative MP Richard Lehoux, deputy agriculture critic, has stated that Liberals mislead the dairy sector on the CUSMA implementation date.
- Extracts of the meeting of the special committee on the Covid-19 pandemic. During the question period to Ministers, MPs asked the following questions to the government :
- Early entry into force of CUSMA on July 1st: Extract from the intervention of MP Gourde and Deputy Minister Freeland (in French)
- Compensation for agriculture sectors not having yet been compensated and extension of the CDC credit line: Extract from the intervention of MP Perron and Minister Bibeau (in French)
- Funds to support the food sector (pork and beef processors) during the Covid-19 pandemic : Extract from the intervention of MP Nater and Minister Bibeau (in English)
- Funds to support meat process capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic: Extract from the intervention of MP Soroka and Minister Bibeau (in English)
- The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has asked the Federal Government to provide an Agriculture and Agri-Food Emergency Fund of $2.6 billion to help maintain food security in Canada in response to COVID-19.
- Most food importers are now required to have a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence to import food into Canada, says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The agency has declared that in the near future, if the SFC licence number is not entered properly on the import declaration, the transaction will be rejected, and the shipment could be refused entry into Canada.
- Leading food and consumer goods manufacturers report significant cost increases, productivity losses, and increasing concern about shortages of raw materials and personal protective equipment needed to keep producing essential goods. The results were published by Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) this week in the association’s second survey of members’ business impacts and responses related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, together with the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government and the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced two new additions to the Government of Canada’s suite of virtual tools to support the health and wellness of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux’s report assumes real GDP will contract by 12 per cent this year, and help shoot the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to 48.4 per cent, CBC reports.
- The Ontario government yesterday released guidelines needed by employers, like those in food processing, to protect workers, customers, and the general public from COVID-19 as the province prepares for a gradual reopening of the provincial economy.
- Premier Jason Kenney detailed his government’s plan for a multi-stage relaunch that will depend on the province’s continued ability to control the spread of the coronavirus and curb the number of COVID-19 patients who need hospital care.The first step in Alberta’s plan to reopen its economy will emphasize outdoor activities, with golf courses to open on Saturday followed by shops, bars and restaurants by mid-May. However, Alberta schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year.
- Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald unveiled the provincial government’s five-stage plan for relaxing public health restrictions, including conditions that need to be met as the province progresses from present conditions — what it calls Level 5 — to living with COVID-19 — Level 1.
- Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister yesterday announced a series of non-essential businesses would reopen on Monday, subject to a range of physical distancing rules and other conditions aimed at minimizing the spread of coronavirus. A second phase is planned for June 1st, with the subsequent lifting of restrictions to follow.
- British Columbia’s premier says the province will unveil its plan to loosen COVID-19 restrictions and open up some sectors of the economy at a briefing next week. The province also extended its state of emergency to May 12.
- Nunavut has reported its first case of COVID-19 in the community of Pond Inlet, according to Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Michael Patterson. The territory was the last provincial and territorial jurisdiction remaining in Canada to have zero cases until yesterday.
April 30th, 2020
- Joint DFC-DPAC press release on CUSMA implementation: the dairy sector was also misled by the federal government.
- Yesterday, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, introduced legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which would provide income support to post-secondary students who lost work opportunities due to COVID-19. The bill was tweaked at the last minute to provide a $250 boost to students with a disability or a child, to expedite its passage. The changes, which had been pushed for the NDP, raises the benefit to $2,000 a month for these groups.
- The Supreme Court postponed hearings again for Ontario and Saskatchewan’s carbon-tax appeals to September, with hard dates pending. The top court was originally supposed to hear the pair of cases in late March, but pushed them back until June due to the pandemic. The scheduled April 1 increase of the carbon price went ahead as planned in the face of calls from Alberta and the oil lobby for a freeze.
- The Ontario government has expanded its temporary “pandemic pay” to a number of other front-line workers, including paramedics. Premier Doug Ford announced that about 350,000 healthcare workers in the province would receive a $4 an hour pay bump for the next 16 weeks along with a monthly lump sum payment of $250 in recognition of the important work they are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Ontario government also expanded the emergency child care benefit to parents who work in retirement homes, grocery stores and pharmacies, truck drivers, workers in the food supply chain, as well as Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence staff in the province.
- Final exams are cancelled for Ontario high school students, says Education Ministry.
- The Post-Farm Food Safety Program is offering COVID-19 funding for the April 2020 – March 2021 funding year. Eligible companies can seek funding to acquire Personal Protective Equipment and other approved safety supplies for use at their facilities.
- AAFC organizes a conference call with a broad group of agri-food stakeholders every Tuesday and Thursday. This conference call is open to anyone who wishes to participate. You will find the calling information here.
April 29th, 2020
- Senator Plett is Outraged by the Trudeau Government’s Latest Broken Promise. Senator Don Plett, the Opposition leader in the Senate, says Canada’s dairy industry stands to lose about $100 million if the new trade agreement with the United States and Mexico goes into effect July 1. Senator Plett calls the change in timing — particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic — a betrayal of the Canadian dairy industry, which is already giving up 3.6 per cent of its domestic markets to imports under the terms of the deal.
- The government of Canada has released the principles, criteria and measures needed to restart the economy.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada released updated modelling on Tuesday that shows a continued decline in the rate of new infections, largely due to social distancing measures and economic restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. New modelling shows that while the number of new cases was doubling every three days previously, it is now doubling every 16 days. Short-term projections predict between 53,191 and 66,835 cases by May 5, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths by that date.
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, yesterday organized the seventh call with his counterparts from countries affected by COVID-19, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom.The ministers agreed that while the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed new challenges on the multilateral system, they underscored the critical role of multilateralism and international institutions in securing the health, prosperity and security of states, including efforts toward finding a vaccine.
- CFIA has posted a new Food import notice on their website to provide information on how to properly declare a Safe Food for Canadians licence number on food import declarations.
- Premier Brian Pallister stated that Manitoba had expanded the criteria for Manitobans to get tested for the COVID-19 to include all people with even mild symptoms of the illness.
- Premier Jason Kenney told reporters yesterday that he hopes to begin reopening Alberta’s economy next month and at the same time, to start removing restrictions on social activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat-processing plants to stay open on Tuesday to protect the food supply in the United States, despite concerns about coronavirus outbreaks, drawing a backlash from unions that said at-risk workers required more protection.
April 28th, 2020
- Yesterday, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched the application process for the CEWS. As of yesterday, employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a client. The payments made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers’ accounts as of May 7th.
- The Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen announced funding of $160,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to purchase a software platform that would allow Manitobans to order food online from local producers and farmers’ markets. The funding would also go toward the development of a network of pick-up and delivery options to connect consumers with their orders and the development of COVID-19 safe handling and packaging practices for producers and processors.
- Statistics Canada has published preliminary estimates for the first quarter 2020 on Canada’s Market turbulences and COVID-19 outbreak: The impact on Canada’s international investment position.
- The Ontario government has laid out its three-stage framework for reopening the economy and society in a way that would see a gradual rollback of restrictions over weeks and potentially months.However, Premier Doug Ford said there are no dates in this framework because the schedule depends on many different factors.
- Quebec will begin reopening its elementary schools and daycares on May 11th, Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced yesterday, but only if the state of COVID-19 in the province’s hospitals continues to remain stable. However, the high schools, CEGEPS and universities in the province will not reopen until September.
- AAFC organizes a conference call with a broad group of agri-food stakeholders every Tuesday and Thursday. This conference call is open to anyone who wishes to participate. You will find the calling information here.
April 27th, 2020
- CUSMA to enter into force July 1st after the United States takes final procedural steps for implementation.
- Dairy Farmers of Canada has launched a special 2-week consumer facing marketing campaign ‘Here for Canada’ :
- The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced $62.5 million of a new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund to the fish and seafood processing sector. This new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund will help businesses to:
- access short-term financing to pay for maintenance and inventory costs;
- add storage capacity for unsold product;
- comply with new health and safety measures for workers;
- support new manufacturing/automated technologies to improve productivity and quality of finished seafood products; and,
- adapt products to respond to changing requirements and new market demands.
- Ontario and Quebec are poised to release detailed plans on reopening economies some time this week, following provinces such as Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
April 25-26th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that the federal government had reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 percent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19, including nonprofits and charities that:
- Pay less than $50,000 per month in rent.
- Have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop versus pre-COVID-19 revenues.
- The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online. The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
- The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan have agreed to increase the 2020 AgriStability interim benefit payment percentage from 50 percent to 75 percent for Saskatchewan producers.
- The Ontario government has announced it will be providing frontline workers with a temporary “pandemic pay” raise amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. The increase will provide $4 per hour extra on top of existing wages.
- Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that all publicly-funded schools will remain closed until at least May 31st.
- The Northwest Territories government is putting $5.1 million toward child-care support for health-care workers, front-line staff and essential workers responding to COVID-19.
April 24th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced $1.1 billion in support of a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19, which includes;
- $115 million for vaccine development and the production of treatments
- $662 million through the Strategic Innovation Fund, over two years to support COVID-19 vaccine and therapy clinical trials
- $350 million for the establishment of the “COVID-19 Immunity Task Force”, which oversees the coordination of a series of country-wide blood test surveys that will tell us how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations
- Statistics Canada has released the “Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians: First results from crowdsourcing”. Over the next few weeks, new crowdsourcing initiatives will be launched to get timely information about other important issues, such as the extent to which COVID-19 is affecting the lives and well-being of different groups of Canadians.
- The Employment and Social Development Canada has posted the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Statement, highlighting the coordination with other G20 ministers to develop and implement comprehensive, effective measures to mitigate the impact of COVID?19 on domestic and global labour markets and societies.
- Saskatchewan will begin reopening some of its services on May 4th. The plan allows restricted medical services like dentists, optometrists and physical therapists to reopen on May 4.
- Alberta is in the final stage of testing a new contact-tracing app that people will be able to download to their cellphones, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said at a news conference yesterday. This app uses Bluetooth to note if you came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
- Canada cities are looking for $10 billion in emergency operating funding from the federal government: at least $7.6 billion in direct federal allocations to all municipalities, plus $2.4 billion for those with transit systems. The financial impact of COVID-19 on municipalities may be devastating, and they don’t have the same ability to tax and run deficits/finance for extreme losses as other levels of government have at their disposal.
- The European Commission has issued guidance for safe return to work after COVID-19. This provides practical answers for employers, including on updating risk assessment, taking care of workers who have been ill and more.
April 23rd, 2020
- The CFIA has published a notice on the timelines for regulatory initiatives. All timelines have been reexamined in light of the pandemic and will be updated in CFIA forward regulatory plan as things become clearer.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced comprehensive support of nearly $9 billion for post-secondary students and recent graduates. This plan will help provide the financial support they need this summer, help them continue their studies in the fall, and help many get the experience they need to start their careers. These measures include launching:
- Proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 if they are caring for another person or are living with a disability themselves
- New Canada Student Service Grant, which will provide up to $5,000 to students who help their communities during the COVID?19 pandemic
- Increasing existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
- Also include: doubling the Canada Student Grants, broadening eligibility for student financial assistance for the year 2020/21, enhancing the Canada Student Loans Program and extending expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships and federal research grants.
- Statement from the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade on joint WTO efforts to ensure open and predictable trade for food and agricultural products amid COVID-19
- To help battle the COVID-19 outbreak, starting immediately, the government will remove the restriction that allows international students to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, provided they are working in an essential service or function, such as health care, critical infrastructure, the supply of food or other critical goods.
- The Ontario government is calling for help from the Canadian military to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in long-term care facilities.
- Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said that Saskatchewan would be ‘cautiously’ reopened from the coronavirus pandemic in 5 phases.
- US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), under which USDA will take several actions to assist farmers and consumers:
- The program will provide $16 billion in direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers
- USDA will partner with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat.
- The coronavirus pandemic is expected to drive carbon dioxide emissions down six percent this year, the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, and this would be the biggest yearly drop since World War II.
- AAFC organizes a conference call with a broad group of agri-food stakeholders every Tuesday and Thursday. This conference call is open to anyone who wishes to participate. You will find the calling information here.
April 22nd, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, yesterday announced an investment of $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need. The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations.
- The Minister of National Revenue launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS. The calculator can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page. This allows employers to view their claim at a glance and, as of April 27, can start applying for CEWS.
- Fifty Senators signed a letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his deputy, Chrystia Freeland, to “restructure” the feds’ Canada Emergency Response Benefit to a “minimum basic income” in order to “stop other groups of Canadians from falling through the cracks,” according to a press release.
- Agriculture and Agri-food Canada has launched an online employment portal to provide links to resources for job seekers who are interested in working on farms, in distribution, food processing, and other related occupations. Resources will include national and regional employment websites, and information on skills and training.
- The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his counterparts from 12 different countries, took part Saturday in the sixth call of the Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID-19 (MCGC) to reiterate the need to maintain essential global links as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. The ministers committed to work together to coordinate their countries’ public health, travel, trade, economic and financial measures in order to minimize disruptions and to ensure a strong recovery that puts people first. The group also stressed the importance of maintaining the flow of essential goods and supplies and the need to preserve maritime routes and air bridges.
- Joint Statement by Brazil, Canada, Italy and Egypt following the Extraordinary High-Level Meeting on mitigating the potential socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on food availability, supply, and to attain food security.
- With some provinces now seemingly past the peak of COVID-19, some premiers are now expressing hope they can lift certain restrictions and partially reopen their economies soon. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said he’s aiming for his province to be the first to reopen.
- Air Canada has announced it is suspending service to the United States after Canada and the U.S. agreed to extend restrictions on cross-border travel for another 30 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- President Trump said that he intended to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States, a drastic move that he said would protect American workers from foreign competition once the nation’s economy began to recover from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
- The International Monetary Fund recently announced the “Great Lockdown” recession will drag global GDP lower by 3% in 2020, but its managing director now thinks the gloomy outlook could be too positive.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that all available evidence suggests the novel coronavirus originated in animals in China late last year and was not manipulated or produced in a laboratory.
April 21st, 2020
- The House returned on Monday after its temporary suspension more than a month ago, to debate the government’s motion to hold in-person sittings once a week. The motion, which also called for two virtual sittings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, was passed. Parliament as a whole is expected to be suspended until May 25.
- Minister Gould reiterated Canada’s commitment to combat the pandemic by supporting the WHO’s critical role in maintaining supply chains of essential goods, notably medical supplies and also,Canada’s concern about the challenges faced by small-island developing states and sub-Saharan Africa, during her meeting with the head of WHO.
- The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has provided an online space, Pandemic Info Share, to enable businesses and organizations to share their pandemic-related good practices and resources.
- The City of Ottawa is getting ready to spend more than $11.4 million in combined funds from the federal and provincial governments to address homelessness and curb the spread of COVID-19 among the city’s most vulnerable residents. In a teleconference Monday afternoon, Mayor Jim Watson said the city received $6.6 million from Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (roughly half of the province’s $13.3 million commitment for this year for social services relief) along with $4.8 million from the federal government’s Reaching Home program.
- The peak of community spread of the novel coronavirus in Ontario seems to have been less severe than anticipated according to updated provincial modelling, but public health officials say Ontarians must “stay the course”with COVID-19.
April 20th, 2020
- Canada and Ontario are supporting the Agri-food Sector Supply Chain During COVID-19 with $1million in new funding. This program would help primary agriculture, food processing companies and grocery retail to recruit and train workers who are important to keep the food supply chain functioning.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, yesterday announced up to $306.8 million in funding to help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions.
- The U.S. and Canada have agreed to keep the border closed to non essential travel for another 30 days.
- Ontario has extended its state of emergency for another 28 days. The order closes non-essential businesses and child-care centres until May 12 and schools won’t reopen on the previously announced May 4th date.
- Parliament set to resume today as Conservatives reject proposed virtual sessions.
April 18-19th, 2020
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $1.7 billion funding to the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, and the Alberta Orphan Well Association, to clean up orphan and/or inactive oil and gas wells and also up to $750 million to create a new proposed Emissions Reduction Fund to reduce emissions in Canada’s oil and gas sector, with a focus on methane.
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also announced new actions to protect Canadian jobs and provide more support to businesses and organizations dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19:
- $675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies
- $287 million to support rural businesses and communities through the Community Futures Network.
- $500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations
- $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program
- $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue to support young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19.
- The Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, announced new measures requiring all air passengers to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel. These measures come into effect at noon EDT on April 20, 2020.
- The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) liaison and reconnaissance elements are to help establish the locations and the employment protocols for approximately 125 CAF members with health care training that will begin to deploy on Saturday, April 18th in Quebec, to assist in LTCF in the Province.
- The AgriStability enrollment deadline for the 2020 program year has been extended without penalty, from April 30th to July 3, 2020. This extension will allow farmers more time to sign up and benefit from the program.
- The preliminary estimate shows 9% decrease in GDP in March, according to Statistics Canada (-2.6% for Q1 2020). This is the worst quarterly result since 1961. In the U.S., retail sales fell 8.7% in March.
- For Canada Day 2020, the government is working with Canadian artists and artisans to put together a virtual program, reflecting our diversity and values, and showcasing the immense talent our country has to offer.
April 17th, 2020
- The federal government is expanding eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.
- The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced the launch of Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.
- In response to the increasing demand for hand sanitizers in Canada during the current COVID-19 pandemic, Health Canada temporarily allowed technical grade ethanol for the manufacture of hand sanitizers. These products can be distributed to healthcare and commercial settings.The risk assessment to be published today.
- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government is focusing its efforts on responding to growing concerns of threats to Canada’s food supply as the processing sector faces shortfalls in labour due to the pandemic.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated that the shutdown of the Canada-U.S. border to all non-essential travel is likely to remain in place for a significant amount of time before we can loosen current restrictions. The two countries negotiated a mutual ban on non-essential travel in both directions in mid-March. This agreement explicitly exempted the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health care workers like nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border.
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has developed a series of pandemic guidance tip sheets to help high-risk occupations and essential services and industries work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), hosted a virtual press conference to address the extraordinary challenges being faced by Canadian farmers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFA and its members are asking the government to create an Emergency Fund or financial backstop so farmers in need can access funds to help them overcome the mounting costs.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has advised, effective today, that truck drivers and other essential workers crossing the Canada-U.S. border must wear a non-medical mask or face covering.
- Alberta beef processing facility in High River, Cargill, has suspended cattle kills completely. The plant accounts for 36% of Canada’s beef processing capacity, according to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The CCA called for a federally co-ordinated “set-aside” program that would enable producers to keep their animals longer. It would involve feeding cattle a maintenance diet instead of the more nutrient-dense growth diet they would normally eat ahead of slaughter.
April 16th, 2020
- The Prime Minister announced expanded access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak
- Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19
- The government is proposing a new wage boost for essential workers. In recognition that these essential workers’ salaries are often less or similar than what they would receive from the CERB, the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, who make less than $2,500 a month. Details will be released shortly following further work with provinces and territories.
- The Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the government will provide immediate, temporary relief to sponsors of federally regulated, defined benefit pension plans. This relief will be in the form of a moratorium, through the remainder of 2020, on solvency payment requirements for defined benefit plans.
- New expectations for operators have been posted on the CFIA website about preventing COVID-19 in establishments regulated by CFIA. The document outlines steps that the CFIA expects operators to take to address exposure risks for both the establishment and CFIA employees.
- The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) yesterday announced the temporary reduction of service hours at certain low-traffic ports of entry (POE) along the Canada-United States land border. These COVID-19 related measures are in effect as of April 15, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT. They will remain in effect until further notice. Click here for the fact sheet with current hours of service.
- The Bank of Canada (BOC) today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 0.25 percent, which the Bank considers its effective lower bound. The BOC said necessary efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a sudden and deep contraction in economic activity and employment worldwide. The global economic recovery, when it comes, could be protracted and uneven. In its quarterly monetary policy report, the bank outlined two recovery scenarios under which real gross domestic product (GDP) would shrink. It estimated real GDP would fall by 1% to 3% in the first quarter and would contract by 15% to 30% in the second quarter, both compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.
- Joint Statement by the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, and leaders from labour and industry regarding support for workers and employers during the coronavirus crisis.
- The Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, launched a new portal dedicated to mental wellness on Canada.ca/coronavirus and the Canada COVID-19 app. Wellness Together Canada will connect Canadians social workers, psychologists and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and will make it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
- Minimum wage of Quebec to increase to $13.10 on May 1. According to the Quebec government, this 4.8% increase will make it possible to reach, for the period 2020-2021, the target of a ratio of 50% between the general minimum wage rate and the average hourly wage.
- USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced that they are ensuring that dairy producers will not be penalized if their milk has to be dumped due to recent market disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. RMA said it is going to allow dumped milk to be counted as milk marketing for the Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP) program or actual marketing for the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy (LGM-Dairy) program, according to the Cheese Reporter.
April 15th, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced additional support to address immediate health, economic, and transportation needs in the North. These measures will include:
- $72.6 million to the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut to support their COVID-19 health and social services preparations
- Up to $17.3 million to the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut to support northern air carriers to ensure the continued supply of food, medical supplies, and other essential goods and services
- $15 million in non-repayable support for businesses in the territories to help businesses with operating costs not already covered by other Government of Canada measures
- An additional $25 million to Nutrition North Canada to increase subsidies so families can afford much-needed nutritious food and personal hygiene products.
- The Government of Canada is also providing $20 million to the CFIA to support critical food inspections. This investment will allow the CFIA to hire, train and equip additional staff (including recently retired CFIA inspectors and veterinarians) to conduct critical inspection activities, reassign staff from within the Agency to focus on critical services, and work closer with industry and trading partners to minimize supply disruptions during this crisis.
- The Government of Canada updates mandatory requirements under any traveller arriving in Canada,whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic, cannot isolate or quarantine in a place where they would be in contact with vulnerable people. Travellers who do not have an appropriate place to isolate or quarantine must go to a place designated by the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. In addition, all travellers arriving in Canada will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to proceed to their final destination, where they will isolate or quarantine. They will be provided with a mask if they do not have one.
- New expectations for operators should be posted during the day on the CFIA website about preventing and responding to COVID-19 in establishments regulated by CFIA. The document outlines steps that the CFIA expects operators to take to address exposure risks for both the establishment and CFIA employees.
- In an effort to continue minimizing the impacts of the pandemic on Canadians and stopping the spread of COVID-19, regulatory amendments under the Contraventions Act came into force. These changes provide increased flexibility to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local and provincial police forces, to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with orders under the Federal Quarantine Act.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) and European Commission have published separate guidance about coronavirus and food safety.
- The WHO interim guidance for food businesses said it was “highly unlikely” that people can contract COVID-19 from food or food packaging. Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food as they need an animal or human host.
- The European Commission published a Q+A on COVID-19 and food safety covering production, food in shops and food at home. The document states businesses cannot ask for virus-free certification guarantees from suppliers for COVID-19 as there is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health.
- Joint statement by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy regarding international collaboration in addressing COVID-19
April 14th, 2020
- Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced $50 million to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad. Bibeau said the funds are meant to acknowledge the compliance with the quarantine rules that apply to foreign workers, coming at a cost for business. $1,500 per worker can be used to offset their salaries or supply appropriate accommodation for the quarantine period.
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has updated its notice to industry regarding labelling requirements for foodservice products during the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice was updated to provide additional clarity around the retail sale of Canadian-made foodservice products that are labelled according to U.S. requirements.
- Federal health officials released new interim infection prevention and control guidance for long-term care homes nationwide, saying there is need for rigorous visitor and resident care protocols and precautions.
- An interim agreement was reached to allow additional House of Commons committees to hold virtual meetings, which the health and finance committees have already been doing. The four additional committees are the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology; the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development; the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates; and, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
- The Quebec government announced the expansion of its list of essential services. Garages, landscaping and gardening services, and mining will reopen on April 15. Home construction to complete deliveries of residential units (construction and renovation) scheduled for July 31, 2020 (including surveyors and building inspectors) will reopen on April 20.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that he plans on extending the province’s state of emergency by 28 days when the legislature resumes on Tuesday.
- Health Canada has approved a device from an Ottawa-based company, Spartan Bioscience, that can test for COVID-19 and produce results in less than an hour.
April 13th, 2020
- On Sunday, Parliament Bill C-14, A second Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19, received the Royal Assent, bringing it into law. The legislation includes additional flexibilities that provide effective support to employers and help protect Canadians jobs. The proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) would apply at a rate of 75% of the first $58,700 earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week per employee. For March, the CEWS benchmark is set at 15%.The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. An increase in the borrowing limit of the Canadian Dairy Commission is not included in the Act. Such an increase would have allowed the Canadian Dairy Commission to expand its storage programs in order to minimize the milk that has to be disposed of from the farm.
- OPEC, oil nations agreed to record-setting oil production cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Global News.
- Canada is building its own PPE supply chain in China, according to CBC. The made-for-Canada plan was set up with the help of diplomats and consultants in China, a warehouse in Shanghai, and two of Canada’s airlines.
- “As of Sunday, April 12, there are 23,318 cases of COVID-19 cases and, sadly, 653 deaths and have completed tests for more than 404,000 people, and 5.6% of those tests were confirmed as positive”, said Dr. Tam. The Chief Public Health Officer of Canada encouraged Canadians to consult Canada.ca/coronavirus for the latest information. Click here for the statement.
- Apple and Google are developing technology to aid in COVID-19 tracking. In this spirit of collaboration, Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.
April 10th, 2020
- Minister Morneau and Minister Ng mark launched the Canada Emergency Business Account yesterday. Small business owners can now apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.
- The Bank of Canada (BOC) said it will announce its decision on the target for the overnight rate, or key interest rate on April 15th. The current rate is 0.25%, and the bank’s quarterly Monetary Policy Report (MPR) will also be released that day including its analysis of the economic impact of COVID-19 on Canada.
- The House to meet on Saturday, April 11, 2020, at 12:15 p.m., for the consideration of measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the wage subsidy legislation.
- Public Health Agency of Canada’s Risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic provides employers and employees with guidance to make safe and balanced decisions regarding health actions, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment.
- Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) published the Tariff Classification and Other Information to Import Medical Supplies, including PPE supplies.
- The Government of Canada released national-level modelling on the COVID-19 epidemic in Canada.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke with premiers to discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation. The leaders discussed preparations and actions taken by federal, provincial, and territorial partners, their views on how the Emergency Act could be used, if required, and also they agreed to the continued data sharing and other measures currently in place.
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance for the essential workers who may have had exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
April 9th, 2020
- Today, the government of Canada officials will hold a media technical briefing at 9am on data and modelling informing public health action on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
- Yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau provided further details on the eligibility criteria for businesses to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), including the proposed change to relax specific requirements. Therefore, for March, the Government intends to make the CEWS more accessible than originally announced by reducing the 30% benchmark to 15%. Employers have the flexibility to compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
- Small businesses can begin applying for an interest-free loan under the newly created Canada Emergency Business Account today. Through the program, eligible small and medium-sized businesses can get loans up to $40,000 through their banks and credit unions and up to $10,000 of the loans may be forgiven if they are paid back by Dec. 31, 2022.
- The federal government is also introducing an expanded Canada Summer Jobs program, which would offer companies and organizations a 100% subsidy, of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage, for students to be hired this summer. The program includes an extension of the end date for employment to Feb. 28, 2021, and the inclusion of part-time jobs.
- The Insurance Bureau of Canada suggests customers reach out to their insurance company to see whether they qualify for relief, and some insurers have already cut auto premiums by 75%, according to the National Post.
- The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) submitted a set of recommendations to USDA urging the Trump administration to take swift, comprehensive action to support the US dairy industry through the coronavirus crisis.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford yesterday announced extended construction hours for essential construction projects, such as critical projects in the health care sector, while ensuring the safety of construction workers. The report will be updated regularly with new data.
- Statistics Canada released data on Canadians’ pandemic shopping habits. The report highlights trends in consumer demand and sales using transaction data for grocery products.
- “AAFC organizes a conference call with a broad group of agri-food stakeholders every Tuesday and Thursday. This conference call is open to anyone who wishes to participate. You will find the calling information here.
April 8th, 2020
- The CFIA update on SFCR: Given these extraordinary circumstances, until further notice the CFIA will not prioritize compliance activities associated with the July 15, 2020, coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) for the manufactured food sector and any changes to the CFIA’s prioritization of these compliance activities will be announced with adequate lead time once the situation allows.
- At yesterday’s briefing, the Prime Minister announced further progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19 that would help provide vital, made in Canada protective gear and medical equipment, which would build a secure, domestic supply of needed items to protect frontline health workers as they fight this global pandemic. This includes:
- Producing up to 30,000 ventilators in Canada
- Working with one of Canada’s Nobel Prize-winning researchers, Dr. Art McDonald, to develop a ventilator that can be constructed quickly and reliably in Canada
- Producing PPE using innovative alternative materials
- Establishing and securing new supply chains to produce medical gowns from new Canadian sources
- Purchasing hand sanitizer from Canadian companies
- Placing orders for millions of surgical masks from various companies
- The Prime Minister also said that Canada expects to receive delivery of 500,000 masks from 3M on Wednesday.
- According to The Globe and Mail, the feds’ draft bill for the 75 per cent wage subsidy introduces some flexibility for businesses and charities looking to qualify. For example, the requirement to show a decline in revenue has been reduced to 15% for those who wish to use March as a benchmark. This threshold remains at 30% for April and May.
- In a tweet, Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez said the government is “still in discussions with all parties to reach an agreement and recall the House as quickly as possible.”
- After Canada, Mexico recently sent its notification to the US and Canada that they have completed their internal legal processes for the CUSMA to go into force, but the United States must still follow suit. Yesterday, Mexico’s government asked the US and Canada to grant its automotive industry extra time to adapt its supply chains to meet rules of origin requirements in the CUSMA Agreement.
- The National Milk Producers Federation, the largest organization of U.S. dairy farmers, and the International Dairy Foods Association last night submitted a request for assistance to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As most of the country shelters in place and large swaths of the foodservice sector come to a standstill, dairy sales outside retail channels have plummeted,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.
- WHO is working on new guidelines for food processing. The guidelines are expected to provide more detailed recommendations for different workplaces as well as recommendations for workplaces where social distancing may not be possible. No date has been set for their publication. For additional information, click here.
- The minister of Canadian Heritage, announced yesterday that the Government of Canada is investing $3 million in several organizations through the Digital Citizen Initiative’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program. This funding will help combat the spread of disinformation.
- Updated guidance has been posted on the CFIA website about preventing and responding to COVID-19 in meat slaughter and processing establishments. The guidance document outlines steps that meat slaughter and processing establishments are required to take to address exposure risks for both establishment and CFIA employees. This is an update to the document that was published on March 31, 2020.
- Early estimates from Statistics Canada indicate that, since mid-March, when physical-distancing guidelines kicked in, more than three million people have applied for the government’s emergency relief and EI.
- AAFC organises a conference call with a broad group of agri-food stakeholders every Tuesday and Thursday. This conference call is open to anyone who wishes to participate. You will find the calling information here.
April 7th, 2020
- Effective immediately, the CFIA is temporarily suspending certain labelling requirements that have no impact on food safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This notice applies to foodservice food that has already been packaged and labelled and the foodservice food that is packaged and labelled within 90 days of the publication of this notice.These activities include low-risk activities that do not immediately impact the production of safe food for Canadians. Details can be found here.
- Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said that wearing a non-medical mask can help people prevent transmission to others and protect others. However this shouldn’t replace the physical distancing and frequent handwashing.
- During his briefing yesterday’s briefing , the Prime Minister Trudeau mentioned that the government is looking at expanding the CERB benefits package to those who work 10 hours or less due to the pandemic, along with students who may be unable to find a job in this current market.
- Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office said yesterday that everything seemed to be going smoothly in the first few hours since the online portal was open for CERB applications. By 6:30 p.m. yesterday, the Minister of Employment’s office confirmed that they had processed 642,000 CERB applications.
- Yesterday, 3M issued a statement saying a deal had now been reached that would protect the sending of respirators, face masks to Canada and elsewhere. 3M also said they would import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months, primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, starting in April, according to National Post.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care as a precautionary measure after his coronavirus symptoms “worsened”. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was asked to deputise “where necessary”.
April 6th, 2020
- Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) opens today, and the CRA has assigned specific days of the week for accepting applications based on the month applicants were born. The CERB excludes those who have voluntarily quit their jobs. Find out more details here.
- Yesterday, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, announced the allocation of $159.5 million in funding to support international efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment includes $50 million announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in March. The $159.5 million investment is divided as follows;
- $84.5 million to international partners to support humanitarian appeals;
- $40 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for COVID-19 vaccine development;
- $30 million to address country-specific requests for assistance;
- $5 million to global health security capacity building.
- The Minister of Transport, yesterday announced new measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on commercial passenger vessels and ferries. As of April 6, all commercial marine vessels are prohibited from carrying more than 12 passengers from engaging in non-essential activities, such as tourism or recreation. These measures will remain in place until at least June 30th.
- Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez has asked Speaker Anthony Rota for advice on the possibility of convening the House virtually. Since the current Standing Orders don’t allow for electronic or remote voting, Mr. Rodriguez acknowledged, there would have to be “substantial revisions” to the rulebook.
April 4th-5th, 2020
- The government announced an investment of $100 million on the 3rd of April to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will go to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that can reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity. Eligible activities for this new funding include the purchase of food, support for the transportation and distribution of food, etc. The $100 million investment is divided as follows:
- $50 million to Food Banks Canada
- $20 million divided evenly between Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada
- $30 million for local-level organizations who serve people experiencing food insecurity
- The US dairy sector is facing an ‘Unprecedented Challenge’ to find markets for milk. For example, in Wisconsin, farmers have been asked to dump milk at the farm. Several dairy organizations in the past week have urged the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to begin buying substantial volumes of dairy products as quickly as possible to help reduce the negative fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. They also urge Congress to provide targeted financial aid to food industry workers.
- In Europe, the European Dairy Association (EDA) is asking the EU to activate Private Storage Aid for powder, butter and cheeses to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 on the European dairy market.
- The Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to request companies to let the Government of Canada know what products or services they have to support Canada’s response to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada needs information about products and services businesses can supply in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19. This includes medical products for prevention, like disposable N95 masks, vinyl gloves and hand sanitizer. It also includes different services, such as security, nursing, and food services. The full list is posted on the Calling all suppliers – Help Canada Combat COVID-19 on Buyandsell.gc.ca. Information regarding product specifications is also available.
- Quebec announced an Emergency Assistance Program for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses aimed to support, for a limited period, eligible businesses who are experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 and who need $ 50,000 cash or less. The assistance will take the form of a loan or loan guarantee of up to $ 50,000 for companies from all sectors of activity; cooperatives; non-profit organizations; and social economy enterprises engaged in commercial activities.
- The Ontario premier Doug Ford announced a significantly pared-down list of essential services allowed to remain open. Those that did not make the cut must suspend operations by Saturday 11:59 p.m. The new closures, which will be in effect for at least 14 days, include all industrial construction sites except for those on projects considered essential, such as hospitals. Updated List of Essential Activities by Province can be found here.
- On Friday, the Government of Canada announced it has entered into an agreement with Amazon Canada to help manage the distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies purchased by the government to support the COVID-19 response.
- Canada also announces support to those experiencing homelessness and women fleeing gender-based violence during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
- A new resource hub on the Global Affairs website is now live for Canadian development partners to navigate through the #COVID19 crisis at home and abroad. The site will provide regularly updated information on: measures the government is taking to support international development partners; repatriation of Canadian project employees and their families, volunteers and interns; support for employees in Canada.
April 3rd, 2020
- Canada formally ratified CUSMA last night meaning that it notified other countries in writing that “it has completed the internal procedures required for the entry into force of this Protocol”. The Protocol can be found here.
- The Government of Canada provides guidance on services and functions deemed essential to Canada’s critical infrastructure during COVID-19. Yesterday, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has released the “Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic” to assist various jurisdictions and businesses in their decision-making around the types of employees considered essential to maintaining the health, safety, security and economic well-being of Canadians throughout this health crisis. The list includes, among others, Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, fish processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities.
- A DPAC-DFC joint press release on the milk supply situation can be found here.
- Although no agreement has yet been reached on a date for a recall of Parliament, it is expected to be early next week. The Opposition parties are making clear they want to review a ‘final’ version of the legislation before they recall parliament and commit their support to adopt new measures.
- According to the CBC news, premier Doug Ford said that Ontario would be releasing the government’s projections on COVID-19 death rates today.
- The BC Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Bruce Ralston announced BC Hydro would offer a temporary 1% cut relief for residential customers, small businesses and major industries:
- Residential customers who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 will receive a rate cut that is three times their monthly bill.
- Small businesses forced to close will have their power bills forgiven for three months and will be waived entirely from April – June; and
- Major industries will be able to defer 50% of their bill payments for three months.
- To assist truckers, who experience issues finding food, restroom and rest-sop options through Alebarta’s key trucking corridors, the Alberta Motor Transportation Association is providing details on their website identifying rest areas that remain open. Similar calls from other premiers, notably Quebec and Ontario, have been made as well, and provincial trucking associations are providing their members with online lists of facilities open to them.
- UK lobbyists anticipate UK Prime Minister Johnson to make a decision about a Brexit extension closer to June, the cut-off date in law for agreeing to a delay with the EU, once the impact of coronavirus on the economy has become clearer. Then they expect Jonhson will look to a strictly time-limited extension to match the time lost to the virus.
- Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System published a Web page on Covid-19: Covid-19 animal health information source
April 2nd, 2020
- The government announced the details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which is now estimated at $71 billion. Employers having a drop in gross revenues of at least 30% in March April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would qualify for a 75% wage subsidy under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). The CEWS would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020. Details can be found here.
- The Government of Canada also announced that Canadians would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as of April 6th at https://www.canada.ca/en.html. There will be no waiting period, and direct deposit payments will be delivered into accounts within 3 business days of applicants being eligible to receive it, and cheques within 10 days. The news releases can be accessible here.
- At yesterday’s briefing, the Prime Minister mentioned that the government is reaching out to opposition parties with a goal of recalling parliament to discuss emergency measures being taken to help businesses and workers affected by COVID-19 measures. It is expected that at least some MPs and Senators will be heading back to the Hill next week.
- The province of Quebec has announced a stringent set of travel restrictions — including control points on the bridges between Ottawa and Gatineau —as part of its attempt to fight the spread of COVID-19.
- Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government underfunding, coupled with insufficient attention to the nation’s emergency inventory of personal protective equipment, has likely led to a situation where Canada does not have enough to meet the growing demands as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
- CTV reported that the United States had dropped its controversial proposal to station American troops near the shared border with Canada as part of its COVID-19 containment strategy.
- The Prime Minister, yesterday, announced the following change in the senior ranks of the Public Service: Dr. Harpreet S. Kochhar, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations Sector, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Health, effective immediately. His role would be to support the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19 through a whole-of-government, comprehensive, and coordinated approach.
April 1st, 2020
- In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer led by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the Members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade, raise concerns about whether businesses—already under pressure from COVID-19—have the information and capacity to comply with new rules under the revised North American trade agreement. They also highlight that Mexico and Canada should be in full compliance with their commitments under the agreement before entry into force.
- At yesterday’s daily briefing, the Prime Minister announced 2 billion to purchase protective equipment. The Prime Minister also announced that surgical masks, ventilators and test kits will be supplied directly from Canadian industries. Canada’s goal is to be self-sufficient. To the question if the CERB program is not an incentive for essential workers who make less than $2,000/month not to go to work, the Prime Minister recognized the importance for everyone to be able to support themselves while also recognizing the importance of essential workers. More details can be found here.
- Minister Morneau announced that details of the 75% wage subsidy program will be released later today: https://twitter.com/Bill_Morneau/status/1245058446812229639
- Please note that the CFIA is working on adapting the Meat processing Guidance document released yesterday to other food processing businesses that fall under CFIA’s Oversight. As per communications DPAC had with CFIA, dairy processors are encouraged, in the meantime, to consult the above hyperlinked document since many of the Meat specific processing guidance could also apply to dairy processing establishments.
- Due to the Covid-19 emergency, the Mexican government suspended all non-essential services as of March 26, 2020. However, Mexican Customs are expected to continue operating as usual for most agriculture and agri-food products. As a result of this suspension, Mexico’s public health agency (COFEPRIS) has indicated that between now and April 20, 2020, it will only be providing import permits for medical supplies that help address the Covid-19 emergency. COFEPRIS is responsible for issuing sanitary import permits for the food fish/seafood products, milk/dairy products, prepared fruit products/jams, and nutritional supplements including hemp protein. Shipments that already have import permits are still crossing the border, but it is not clear what will happen with new products.
- Public Safety Canada is seeking input from critical infrastructure owners and operators to better understand the scope of potential shortages in sanitization products and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Canada. The assessment survey can be found here.
- As the Government of Canada continues its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot is now scheduled to open on May 15, 2020, and will accept applications until May 14, 2023. Information on how to apply will be posted online and shared via social media closer to the launch date.
- Work Permit Extension: For Temporary Foreign Workers already in Canada, IRCC has taken measures to facilitate extensions of work permits.
- The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), is offering FREE online learning resources that will give Canadian families and teachers new tools to keep young minds engaged.
March 31st, 2020
- At yesterday’s daily briefing, the Prime Minister announced the eligibility criteria for the 75% wage subsidy, which has been backdated to March 15, 2020. The businesses seeing a drop of at least 30% in revenue due to COVID-19, will qualify for the subsidy program regardless of the number of employees or the size of the business. This measure also applies to non-profit businesses and charities. According to the criteria, the wages will be capped at $847 a week.
- AAFC organises a conference call with a broad group of agri-food stakeholders every Tuesday and Thursday. This conference call is open to anyone who wishes to participate. You will find the calling information here.
- Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister, David Marit, announced the deadline to apply, reinstate, cancel or make changes to SK Crop Insurance contracts is extended to April 13, 2020.
- The Government announces support for the air transportation sector and broadcasting sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency by another two weeks. In addition, Ontario is also issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately.
- As some provinces set up ‘information roadblocks’ on various highways, trucking companies involved in the supply chain are adapting to the new reality. In all cases, trucking of goods is considered ‘essential’ but the checkpoints may cause delivery delays. In Quebec, checkpoints were set up at St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Stansted, and St-Armand – all towns near the border with the United States – to ensure travelers returning to the province are aware of the government’s latest directives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Quebec Trucking Association advised its members on the weekend that, ‘Although police may ask questions at these checkpoints, there is nothing to suggest to government officials that the definition of essential travel has changed, and therefore the trucking industry will be able to proceed as it has done in recent days.’ In Manitoba, five highway checkpoints have been set up: one on the Ontario border and four on the Saskatchewan border. For additional information: COVID-19 Daily Bulletins Canadian Trucking Alliance
- IRCC recently announced exemptions to travel restrictions to facilitate entry of TFWs into Canada. Employers using all streams of the program are able to make arrangements for workers to enter Canada.
- Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says 24,000 reserve and regular military personnel are ready to mobilize to assist in relief efforts if requested from provinces or cities.
March 30th, 2020
- During yesterday’s morning update, the Prime Minister announced the measures to support vulnerable Canadians to help cope with the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID?19 pandemic. These supports include $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with mental health support and $9 million in funding through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors.
- The Government of Canada also announced new measures for domestic transportation by air and rail, which includes a health check of travelers before they board a flight or a train.
- Canada and 15 other members of the WTO have decided to put in place the Multi-party Interim Arrangement [MPIA] for allowing appeals of panel reports in trade disputes. This arrangement will be in place on an interim basis until the WTO Appellate Body is fully operational.
- The Government of Canada is making additional investments to support Canadian businesses from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The measures include;Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments,Deferral of Customs Duty and Sales Tax for Importers, New Loan Programs for Businesses, Canada Revenue Agency’s Additional Aids for Individuals and Businesses.
March 28-29th, 2020
- On the 27th of March, the Prime Minister announced a 75 % wage subsidy for qualifying businesses (originally set at 10%), for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15.
- Bank of Canada lowers overnight rate target to 0.25% in response to coronavirus fallout.
- Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel issued an order lifting the weight limits associated with thaw periods for trucking on March 25. The order applies only to vehicles transporting foodstuffs, sanitary and medical equipment, pharmaceutical products and products necessary for the production of food.
- Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office says that the implementation of the CUSMA is still under discussion between the three countries.
- The travel ban exemption for Temporary Foreign Workers is now in effect, and employers using all streams of the program are able to make arrangements for workers to enter Canada. Temporary foreign workers, like all travelers arriving in Canada, are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine period before they are able to begin work on farms. More information can be found here.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, CFIA offices will be open by appointment only. Please contact your local CFIA office, before visiting, to book an appointment.
March 27th, 2020
- During yesterday’s morning update, the Prime Minister confirmed that the White House was actively discussing putting troops near the Canadian borders in response to its security concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister said it was in both the U.S. and Canada’s interest to keep the border free of the military.
- The British Columbia government released a list of essential services. Food and agriculture service providers, including food processing and manufacturing are recognized as essential services. Meanwhile, the government of Saskatchewan published its own list of essential services, which includes production, processing and supply chain of the agriculture sector. Updated List of Essential Activities by Province can be found here.
- The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has published a FAQ on the Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers program. The program is a three-month measure allowing eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the CRA. The subsidy is currently equal to 10% of the remuneration paid between March 18, 2020, and June 20, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer. However, the federal government is under increasing pressure to increase the subsidy to at least match what is done in some EU countries.
- The Quarantine Act was fully implemented at midnight on the 25th of March. It requires any individual entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, except individuals who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods/services and those who provide essential services. Individuals exempt from the Order will still need to practice social distancing and self-monitoring and contact their local public health authorities if they feel sick. Failure to comply with this Order is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could face a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
- The President of the Canada Border Services Agency, made a statement highlighting the new measures at the border to address COVID-19. The note highlights that workers who cross the border regularly, such as truckers (…) will continue to be exempt from the new requirement for mandatory isolation provided they are asymptomatic. Healthy workers who provide essential services, maintain critical infrastructure, and ensure economic supply chains continue between Canada and the U.S. will also be able to cross the border.
- CFIA has posted a note inviting the industry to send questions to CFIA by email if it hasn’t already answered under their “Coronavirus disease questions answered” section.
- AAFC has also posted answers to the most frequent questions received from the industry on COVID-19.
- The Federal Government closes all in person Service Canada centres due to COVID-19.
- The Minister of Indigenous Services outlined the details of the $305 million for the new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund, to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities related to COVID-19.
March 26th, 2020
- Bill C-13, COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, has been given the Royal Assent, guaranteeing the rapid implementation and administration of measures to protect Canadians’ health and safety and stabilize the Canadian economy.
- The Government Aid Package introduces a Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to help workers and businesses. The CERB is a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. It applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). An online portal for applications to be launched by April 6th, if possible, and these benefits to be received within 10 days after the application date.
- The Government Aid Package also provides support to Canadian businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), and also supports the Agriculture and Agri-Food sector by amending the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Act. The Package includes as well a temporary wage subsidy for small business employers. The subsidy was set at 10% initially, but the government stepped back following pressures to increase the percentage. The final percentage is still to be determined. The full list of aids can be found in the news release of the Department of Finance Canada.
- The Bill C-13 will also grant the government broad powers to spend on new measures related to the crisis until the end of September without parliamentary oversight.
- Federal government invoking Quarantine Act, effective at midnight tonight, to force mandatory isolation of 14 days for all travellers entering Canada. This does not apply to ‘essential workers’ such as truckers involved in cross-border trade and does not apply to inter-provincial travel nor interprovincial trade. Violators could face fines up to $1 million.
- The Honourable Mary Ng,Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, has issued a statement on a joint international effort to ensure supply chain connectivity amid COVID-19 pandemic.
- Support to publishing and news sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic has been posted by Canadian Heritage highlighting eligibility for Journalism Tax Measures and the simplified process of Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund.
- The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has made selected courses and publications freely available to help support workplaces in their efforts to protect the health, safety and well-being of their employees during the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Atlantic provinces have put restrictions on inter-provincial travelling, requiring travellers entering the province to self-isolate for 14 days. These measures don’t apply to the interprovincial movement of goods and essential services.
- CUSMA: Despite an objective to have the USMCA (CUSMA) in place by June 1st in the United States, a member of the tri-party trade advisory group believes this deadline will not be met due to the COVID-19.
- The CFIA has posted a document to the industry with most frequently asked questions and answers on COVID-19.
March 25th, 2020
- Early this morning, the Government and the opposition reached a deal on the COVID-19 emergency aid bill. After hours of negotiations, the House of Commons has adopted a modified version of the federal government’s $82-billion aid package to bring direct financial aid to Canadians and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The $82-billion response package includes $27 billion in financial aid for Canadians and $55 billion in economic stimulus and tax deferral measures for businesses. Also included in the billions of new spending the Liberals promised that would start rolling out the door once this bill passes are implementing an emergency care benefit, deferring the tax deadline, waiving the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits, boosting the Canada Child Benefit, wage subsidies for small businesses and targeted assistance for vulnerable demographics.
- Bill C-13, “COVID-19 Emergency Response Act” will now go to the Senate for approval.
March 24th, 2020
- The CFIA has posted the current measures during COVID-19 for industry regulated by the CFIA. This guidance includes the directives given to CFIA officials entering facilities for inspections.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is eliminating mid-peak and on-peak electricity rates giving residents who have been forced to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreak the lowest rate available (off-peak) all day – for 45 days.
March 23rd, 2020
- The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada. Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors: Support for farmers and agri-food businesses under Canada’s response to COVID-19
- Following the Prime Minister announcement, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) announced the availability of payment deferrals to existing customers (producers, agribusiness, agri-food processors) should they need it to assist with cash flow. FCC is also introducing a credit line offer to assist producers with cash flow so we can get the 2020 crop planted and to agribusiness and food processors that are experiencing cash flow challenges due to sales disruptions or cash only terms on inputs required for their processing needs. Please click on the links to the FCC media release and to the FCC CEO note.
- The Quebec government orders the closure, as of March 25 and until April 13, 2020, of all non-essential businesses and services. Food processing is listed as a critical manufacturing activity. Click on the link to see the full list of essential businesses and services.
- Ontario orders the Mandatory Closure of All Non-Essential Workplaces to fight the spread of COVID-19. Agriculture and food production are listed as essential businesses. Click here to see the full list of essential businesses and services.
- The CFIA has activated its business continuity plan, which highlights their priorities and temporary suspension of low-risk activities.