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Always up-to-date COVID-19 Information

As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we are committed to keeping you up-to-date with important information for UFCW 1518 members. Check back here regularly for the latest announcements from Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments and for information on how to stay safe at work.

Last update: 12:00 pm PST 2020-03-30. This page will be edited frequently as the situation develops. For urgent concerns, please contact your union representative.

Summary of today’s government announcements:

Federal:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced updates to the wage subsidy program to small businesses, large businesses, non-profits and charities. These will all be eligible for a 75 per cent subsidy to help them keep employees on the payroll.
  • The federal government announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a $2000/month payment available to Canadians who have lost their employment, become sick, are quarantined or must stay home to care for children because of school closures. An online application system will be available soon.
  • The house of commons passed an $82 billion aid package that includes $27 billion in direct supports and another $55 billion to help businesses.
  • The Canada Child Benefit will increase by $300 per child. There will also be special payment under the GST credit to low and modest-income families.
  • Student loan repayments have been paused.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canadians who are not employed in essential services are to self-isolate at home and practice social distancing. He has not ruled out using the Emergency Measures Act to enforce social distancing.

Provincial:

  • In the coming days, schools and the provincial government will be providing guidance on virtual learning options for BC students, who will not be returning to in-class instruction at the end of March break.
  • The BC Ministry of Health announced that grocery stores and other retailers should offer customers bags and not allow them to use reusable bags or boxes.
  • The BC Centre for Disease Control released guidelines to retailers to prevent transmission of COVID-19. These guidelines allow retailers to have more than 50 customers in store, but only if they can ensure physical distancing of at least two metres. Read the guidelines here.
  • Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced that people who resell essential goods, like medical gear and cleaning equipment, can now be fined up to $10,000.
  • Premier John Horgan announced a renters rebate of up to $500 to help renters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The province has announced a moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Finance Minister Carole James announced a $5 billion stimulus package.
  • $2.8 billion has been allocated to help people pay their bills and support the health care system. The other $2.2 billion will go to help businesses recover.
  • The stimulus package includes $1,000 one-time, tax-free payment to people whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak. This will be over and on top of EI payments and includes the self-employed.
  • The BC CDC has issued the following guidelines for grocery stores to enforce social distancing:
    • At grocery stores: Premises must limit the number of customers entering the store and advise customers in line to maintain social distancing. When customers are waiting in line at the check-out they must stay 2 metres away from each other. In a practical sense, this would mean an equivalent of two arm’s length or one large shopping cart.
    • Enhance your premise’s sanitation plan and schedule, and ensure staff are practicing proper hygiene (e.g., frequent hand washing, as well as coughing or sneezing into your elbow rather than hands).
  • Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that there will be enhanced screenings available for health care workers and guidance on personal protective equipment.
  • Minister Dix and Dr. Henry applauded the essential grocery store and pharmacy workers who are helping to flatten the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also encouraging the public to maintain social distancing while in stores and calling on them to protect the health and safety of grocery store staff.
  • The provincial government also announced protections for workers who need to take leave for a COVID-19 related issue. Workers will be able to take unpaid protected leave for an unlimited amount of time without having to put their jobs at risk. This leave will be retroactive to January 27, 2020.

Municipal

  • Vancouver city council announced fines of up to $50,000 for businesses and $1,000 for individuals breaking public health rules. This includes restaurants that do not enforce social distancing.

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