Opposition Calling For Two Full Weeks Of Sick Days For Canadians – Full COVID-19 Update

Yesterday Ontario reported 329 new cases of COVID-19 and 40 new deaths. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 21,236 and the death toll is 1,765. The increase in cases represents just 1.6 per cent growth over Tuesday’s total. The number of resolved cases stands at 15,845, which is nearly three quarters of all cases.

Opposition Calls For More Sick Days:

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will put a proposal forward as a motion in the House of Commons for all Canadians to have access to two weeks of sick leave benefits. He says Canadians shouldn’t have to choose between paying their bills or staying home to protect others from infection.  The federal government declined to include the proposal in its unanimous consent motion yesterday, but Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the federal government is in talks with the provinces about how they can deal with the issue.

Ontario Stage One Announcement Coming Today:

Today Premier Ford is expected to lay out the plan for Ontario entering Stage 1 of the COVID-19 recovery. Expect the Premier to announce golf courses and more public spaces will open this weekend. He may also allow more increase the size of a gathering you are allowed to have. What you won’t hear is that restaurants are reopening. That won’t happen in stage 1. Also, don’t expect an announcement on schools. The Education Minister has said that announcement will come early next week.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

Student Subsidy:

Students and recent graduates will be able to apply for financial relief from the federal government starting tomorrow.  The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will provide students $1,250 per month for up to four months, with an extra $750 for students with disabilities or dependents. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says students should preemptively create an account with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Border May Not Reopen Anytime Soon:

Prime Minister Trudeau says Canada is not yet prepared to confront the challenges that come with re-opening the shared border with the United States. But he’s not confirming whether the ban on non-essential travel will be extended to June 21st. The current ban is set to expire next Thursday.

Canada on Potential Chinese Responsibility:

Prime Minister Trudeau says there are many questions for countries, particularly China, around the origins of COVID-19 and how they reacted in the early days of the pandemic. But he says the spread of the virus requires a global, co-ordinated response. A recent Globe and Mail story quoted Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, Dominic Barton, as saying China’s diplomats have adopted a heavy-handed approach around the world, and that has injured its goodwill abroad. The story said once the pandemic is over, Barton wants to see a rigorous review of the World Health Organization and the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Here is Prime Minister Trudeau’s news conference from yesterday:

Reopening National Parks:

The federal government is poised to announce a gradual reopening of national parks and heritage sites across the country. Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson are expected to announce the phased-in plan today. Since the COVID-19 lockdown in mid-March, all national parks and historic sites have been closed, with visitor services and all motor vehicle access suspended. The gradual reopenings will also come with measures aimed at ensuring the safety of visitors and workers.

LTC Emergency Order:

Health Minister Christine Elliot says there are no immediate plans to use a new emergency order covering long-term care homes with severe COVID-19 outbreaks. The order allows the province to temporarily replace management at a home with a high number of COVID-19 infections or deaths or with a shortage of staff. Elliott says the new measure will allow the province to move rapidly in case a home continuing to have problems resists urgently needed help. But she says so far long-term care homes have cooperated with hospitals that have provided some resources and supervision.

Ontario Education Volunteers:

The province has cleared the way for education support workers to volunteer to be redeployed to health-care facilities needing staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province says it has secured agreements allowing workers not involved in at-home learning to volunteer at long-term care homes. Custodians, educational assistants, social workers and other staff will continue to be paid by their original employer, and will be provided with personal protective equipment. Premier Doug Ford says they can stop volunteering at any time.

 

Lawsuit Against the Government:

An organization representing Indigenous people across Canada has filed a court application over what it says is the federal government’s inadequate funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and its provincial and territorial organization’s filing challenges the funding allocation under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The organization says it’s not possible for it to provide meaningful relief to the thousands of off-reserve Indigenous peoples under current federal allocations.

Toronto Charges:

Toronto police say they’ve arrested and charged a woman for spitting, coughing and wiping her saliva on a bank machine. Police say the incident happened on April 30 around 5:30am. Staff called police after noticing what happened at around 9 a-m. Investigators say they arrested the 32-year-old woman and charged her with mischief.

Uber to Require Masks:

Uber says it will require drivers, couriers and passengers to wear masks and follow other anti-virus measures starting Monday to help contain the spread of COVID-19. They say drivers won’t be able to pick up customers until they have verified they are wearing a mask via photo-recognition software built into the Uber app. Passengers and drivers will be able to cancel rides if the person operating or entering the vehicle doesn’t wear a mask.

Vegas Reopening:

Las Vegas casinos The Venetian and Palazzo have announced they will reopen in June as preparations are made to test all staff and their family members over 13 years old for coronavirus before they return to work.  The casinos’ parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp. didn’t give a specific date for reopening but pledged to continue pay and benefits for staff members until that time. It will also continue emergency pay for several partner restaurants.  As well as offering coronavirus and antibody testing to staff for free, the casinos have issued a safety protocol for reopening that includes more than 800 guidelines.  Caesars, Treasure Island, and MGM International have also revealed an opening plan for their casinos as they work with Nevada authorities to establish an opening date.

Waterloo Region Numbers:

The curve is defeating flattening in Waterloo Region. Yesterday only 9 new COVID-19 cases were reported. The total is now 964 with 528 recovered. That’s 55%. Unfortunately, there was also another death and again it was at Forest Heights Revera long-term care. In total, 47 residents have now passed away there. They make up 45% of the Region’s total 105 deaths from the coronavirus. Only 2 new cases were announced yesterday in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph for a total of 331. Only 122 of those are in Guelph.

GRCA Layoffs:

The Grand River Conservation Authority has announced they are laying off 75 union and non-unionized staff in casual, seasonal, part-time and full-time positions all across the organization. They are projecting losses between $4-5 million dollars because of the pandemic.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

 

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Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan