COVID-19 Update for April 2, 2020 – 2:00pm

April 2, 2020

Increased Mental Health Support

Premier Doug Ford announced today that Ontario is providing emergency funding of up to $12 million to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports for Ontarians, including support for frontline workers.

Platforms include:

  • Bounceback: A guided self-help program using workbooks with phone coaching support.
  • Help Phone: 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling as well as information and referrals in both official languages
  • Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): Online CBT courses, support by therapists, in French and English
  • CBT for frontline health care workers: Online CBT for frontline health care workers experiencing burnout, anxiety or PTSD.

Premier Ford also said that the government is launching the Mental Health Wellness Program, investing $2.6 million to hire new psychologists and mental health workers to provide OPP personnel with support. To read the entire announcement, please click here.

The Premier was joined by the Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo.

Transparency

Premier Ford has asked the medical experts to provide a full briefing to the public tomorrow, warning that the figures would provide a stark assessment of where the province has been, where we are now and where it might be.

The Premier said the release would be “a real wake up call… a real sobering discussion” and would provide Ontarians with the same information that he has and is using in making decisions.

He said figures could not be released until now because people were still returning to Ontario from other countries and the Chief Medical Officer needed to have them here to provide an accurate assessment.

This update will walk the public through various scenarios on how COVID-19 can spread and its potential impact on the province.

When asked about limited access to protective equipment for healthcare workers and the need to build a stronger supply chain of medical products in Ontario, Premier Ford commented that “We won’t rely on the rest of the world to provide PPE (personal protective equipment). We can never be put in this position again where we rely on rest of the world.”

Across the provinces

With nearly 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases across Canada, provinces and territories are continuing to roll out new measures for economic assistance while trying to limit the spread of the disease. Here are the latest updates of how each jurisdiction is dealing with the crisis.

British Columbia – BC has announced new relief measures for electricity bills. Residential customers who can’t work because of the pandemic are receiving a credit for their bills valued at 3 times their average monthly bill. Small businesses forced to shut down are having their power bills waived by BC Hydro from April through June. Major industries can defer their bills for three months.

Alberta – Alberta released a comprehensive list of essential services. With that list in place, the province is expanding child care services for anyone who works in an essential service. (Until now, child care spaces were limited to frontline health care and critical infrastructure workers).

Saskatchewan – To address extra cost pressure emergency shelters are experiencing, Saskatchewan unveiled one-time additional funding of $171,000.

Manitoba – Manitoba is boosting its frontline health care by allowing former nurses to practice again, through changes allowing the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba to waive or modify registration requirements. Meanwhile, all non-critical businesses have been ordered to close between April 1 and April 14, save for critical exemptions detailed in the new public health order.

Ontario – Ontario has launched its new one-time $50 million Ontario Together Fund, to support businesses retooling existing machinery to make essential medical supplies such as masks, swabs and testing equipment.

Québec – Almost all Québec businesses will be closed this coming Sunday, including grocery stores. The only exemptions will be gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores and takeout restaurants. Premier François Legault stated earlier this week that Sunday closures will allow employees (particularly grocery workers) a day of rest.

New Brunswick – Relatively good news came out of New Brunswick, including confirmation that their personal protective equipment supply is meeting demand. After being temporarily closed, select Service New Brunswick locations reopened yesterday to handle essential requests, albeit with precautions in place include limiting how many people can be inside at a time.

Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia unveiled a new COVID-19 Employer Assessment online tool to clarify for businesses and non-profits if they can stay open, and how to best comply with public health orders.

Prince Edward Island – PEI today announced that eviction orders will not be enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newfoundland and Labrador – The province is facing steep fiscal troubles with the COVID-19 pandemic compounding other escalating economic troubles. Premier Dwight Ball released a letter he’d recently sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for help, as the province would have been unable to borrow.

Yukon – The Government of Yukon announced a new Temporary Support for Events Funding Program to help businesses recover costs from major events cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northwest Territories – The NWT government this week announced a series of measures to support businesses and individuals, including waiving professional fees for medical professionals, waiving interest charges on all late tax returns between March 15 and June 30 (including payroll tax), and support for the hospitality and restaurant industries by offering to buy back any unopened alcohol stock.

Nunavut – Nunavut remains without any confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 cases and plans to keep it that way. The latest measure includes barring all visitors from long-term care facilities and Elders’ Homes.

If you have any questions about this update, please let us know.

The Enterprise Team

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