COVID-19 Government and International Response: May 12, 2020

WHAT TO KNOW

Global COVID-19 cases have reached 4,318,171, up from 4,234,004 at 3:30 p.m. yesterday. Canada now reports 71,099 cases, up from 69,907 cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Ontario reports 20,907 cases, up from 20,546 cases yesterday.

The growth rate of new cases in the province continues to remain under 2%, with 361 (1.8%) new cases reported since yesterday. Of the province’s total cases, there are 3,791 active cases, 15,391 have been resolved (73.6%) and 1,725 deaths (8.3%). The province has now tested 459,921 individuals and reports 10,811 tests are currently under investigation. More information here.

A province-by-province breakdown of Canada’s COVID-19 case count can be found here.

FEDERAL

The federal government announced, effective immediately, a new, temporary policy that will drastically reduce the time it takes for a temporary foreign worker to start a new job.

While this policy is in place, a worker who is already in Canada and has secured a new job offer, typically backed by a labour market test, can get approval to start working in their new job, even while their work permit application is being fully processed. This will cut what can often take 10 weeks or more, down to 10 days or less. More information here and here.

The Prime Minister announced a series of measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security. 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, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
  • Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.
  • Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.

During his daily briefing the Prime Minister was asked whether the Canada/US border closure would be extended past its May 21 deadline. The Prime Minister said Canada would be “very careful about vectors of infection into Canada, that means continuing with restrictions on international travel.” The government is in talks with the United States administration on a number of issues including the border. The Prime Minister told reporters he would have more to say on this issue in the coming days. More information here.

Further to the reduction of service at some Canadian land border ports of entry on April 15, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) today 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. More information here and here.

PROVINCIAL

The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to June 2. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.

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

  • Providing authority to address in-person attendance rules for school board trustees’ meetings in regulation. This would provide the flexibility in certain emergency situations to allow trustees to meet virtually during school closures;
  • Enabling corporations to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which annual meetings must be held in specific circumstances;
  • Allowing designations of a beneficiary to be provided electronically for Retirement Savings Plans, Retirement Income Funds, Locked-in Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Tax-Free Savings Accounts;
  • Allowing electronic filing of business registration documents, and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of business registration documents and e-signatures;
  • Allowing for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document;
  • Extending, on a one-time basis for 2020, the legislated four-year period during which a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) election is mandated to be held to give more time to support remote voting.

More information here.

Premier Ford also told reporters that more details on how the province will manage its reopening will be announced on Thursday. More information here.

TORONTO

Yesterday, Mayor Tory announced the launch of ShopHERE, a program to help Toronto independent businesses and artists open a free online store to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ShopHERE is supported by a number of community and corporate partners, including Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and Schulich School of Business – York University. More information here.

This morning the CNE announced it would join the ranks of other cancelled events including Caribana and Pride. The International Air Show which takes place over the Labour Day weekend has also been cancelled. More information here.

INTERNATIONAL

Country Total cases at 3:30 p.m. Total cases yesterday at 3:30 p.m. Increase from previous Cases per million Total recovered Total deaths
Global 4,318,171 4,234,004 84,167 554 1,569,217 291,360
United States 1,396,153 1,376,849 19,304 4,218 274,902 82,789
Spain 269,520 268,143 1,377 5,765 180,470 26,920
Russia 232,243 221,344 10,899 1,591 43,512 2,116
United Kingdom 226,463 223,060 3,403 3,336 N/A 32,692
Italy 221,216 219,814 1,402 3,659 109,039 30,911
Germany 172,978 171,999 979 2,065 147,200 7,713
Brazil           172,790 163,510 9,280 813 67,384 12,033
Iran 110,767 109,286 1,481 1,319 88,357 6,733
China             82,919 82,918 1 58      78,171 4,633
India 74,243 70,765 3,478                       54 24,124 2,415
Peru 72,059 67,307 4,752 2,185 23,324 2,057
Canada 71,099 69,907 1,192 1,884 33,707 5,167
Chile 31,721 30,063 1,658 1,659 14,125 335
Australia 6,964 6,948 16 273 6,229 97