COVID-19 Update for April 6, 2020 – All Province Update

Across the Provinces

Canada’s Premiers have given their support to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister’s COVID-19 proposal for the federal government to borrow on the provinces’ behalf and then loan back to them (based on the premise that the federal government can borrow at a lower rate). The letter of support from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, in his role as Chair of the Council of the Federation, was released today.

Canada now has nearly 17,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Here is a summary of the latest measures taken by the provinces and territories:

British Columbia – Ahead of the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit that opened for applications today, the BC government announced that those receiving federal benefits will not see any reductions to monthly provincial income assistance and disability assistance. The BC government is also offering carbon tax relief grants for greenhouse operators for the 2020 production year, to cover 80% of carbon tax costs paid by commercial greenhouse growers.

Alberta – After passing three pieces of emergency legislation last week, the Alberta Legislature will return again tomorrow for a three-day sitting again focused on COVID-19 measures. Another measure, to mitigate COVID-19 impacts to the forestry sector, has Premier Jason Kenney’s government deferring timber duties for six months, hoping this will help companies keep employees. (Alberta’s forestry sector supports nearly 20,000 direct jobs and 25,000 indirect jobs).

Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan has given an update on its Business Response Team, led by the Ministry of Trade and Export Development: so far, the team has helped 2,303 businesses navigate provincial and federal supports regarding COVID-19. Saskatchewan businesses can connect with the Business Response Team here.

Manitoba – The Manitoba government announced a series of new support and relief measures, including a $100 million investment for medical supplies and hotel capacity, tax relief by deferring provincial fees and charges, and the addition of 140 new shelter beds. The province is also accelerating the removal of annual PST from residential and business properties, effective July 1.

Ontario – Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce today unveiled new financial supports for parents. The Support for Families initiative is a one-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 per child up to 21 years of age with special needs. Over the weekend, the Ontario government launched a new web portal aimed at connecting workers with employers in the agri-food sector.

Québec – On Sunday afternoon, Premier François Legault announced that the closure of non-essential businesses will be extended until May 4.

New Brunswick – No significant new measures were announced by New Brunswick since our last Across the Provinces update. The province has 101 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Nova Scotia – Yesterday afternoon, Premier Stephen McNeil announced expanded COVID-19 testing to better identify community transmission. The expanded options include temporary primary assessment centres, a mobile assessment centre, EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) assessment units, and expanded lab capacity.

Prince Edward Island – The PEI government has increased its previously announced $25 million Emergency Contingency Fund by a further $15 million. The province has also made amendments to the Real Property Tax Act regulations to defer property tax and fee payments until December 31, extend property assessment appeal deadlines until December 31, implement interest relief for the 2020 tax year, suspend tax sale processes for 2020, and delay mailing of tax bills until June.

Newfoundland and Labrador – Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the province asked businesses and individuals receiving payments from the government via cheque to transition to electronic payments.

Yukon – In partnership with the Yukon Status of Women Council and Northwestel, the government is providing 325 phones to vulnerable women to better ensure access to phones and the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northwest Territories – No significant new measures were announced by the province since our last Across the Provinces update. The Territory has 4 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Nunavut – No significant new measures were announced by the Territory since our last Across the Provinces update. The Territory has no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The Enterprise Team

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