The latest on the Coronavirus (April 1) So far this morning ⤵️ • Ontario hospital to build COVID -19 unit • Insurer says it will pay dentists’ claims for pandemic coverage • Rent day arrives as thousands seek financial relief
Plus: Ottawa transit driver tests positive; Ontario jail guards protest lack of screening; Stanfield’s to produce medical gowns
Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail7:30 a.m. EDTInsurer says it will pay dentists’ claims for pandemic coverageAviva Canada CEO Jason Storah says the insurance company will “stand by" itspandemic coverage for dentistswho followed provincial orders to close down their practices because of the outbreak of COVID-19.
The reassurance to the dental community comes two weeks after provincial dental associations “strongly recommended” that thousands of dentists immediately suspend all non-essential and elective or routine services for patients.But after submitting claims with Aviva for business interruption insurance - which includes pandemic coverage - many dentists were left in the dark about whether their policies would be honoured, with several dentists told it was highly unlikely because they shut their offices down voluntarily.
Mr. Storah said late Tuesday the company received “unprecedented COVID-19 related pandemic coverage insurance claims” from dentists and that the delay was due to a “number of complex legal, regulatory and operational hurdles” related to the dentists’ claims. However, he said, the hurdles have been resolved by the provincial governments’ shutdown orders for non-essential services.
- Clare O’HaraDerek Root's Gradient Spaces skylight installation at Tunney's Pasture in Ottawa's light-rail transit station is seen in a 2019 file photo.The Globe and MailOttawa transit driver tests positive for COVID-19A driver in Ottawa’s transit system is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
Story continues below advertisementThe city says the driver developed symptoms on March 20 and was tested for the virus that causes the illness the next day.The local health unit says there’s concern the driver might have spread the virus in the days before feeling sick.
The city says it’s deep-cleaning the buses that the person drove, which mostly ran between downtown Ottawa and western suburbs.-The Canadian Press7:25 a.m. EDTCruise ship with 250 Canadians aboard to arrive in FloridaA ship carrying passengers sick with COVID-19 is expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday.
About 250 Canadians are among the passengers aboard Holland America’s Zaandam, which was denied entry by several countries after reporting four deaths and dozens of infections.Story continues below advertisementFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the state’s health care resources are already stretched too thin to take on the ships’ coronavirus caseload.
But President Donald Trump said people are dying on the ship, and he’s going to do “the right thing” for humanity and allow it to dock in Florida.-The Canadian PressA poster calling for a rent protest is photographed in Toronto on March 24, 2020.Fred Lum/the Globe and Mail
6:35 a.m. EDTRent day arrives as thousands seek financial reliefIt’s April 1st andrent payments are duefor millions of Canadians for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic led to an economic shutdown and many layoffs.Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have signed petitions, asking for the outright cancellation of rents and mortgage payments for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggests that’s not going to happen, but says the banks have been asked to give people a break if they need it.Story continues below advertisementMultiple provinces have placed an outright ban on evictions, while others have placed an effective ban by closing down landlord and tenant boards.
Applications for federal support payments and details about wage subsidies that are meant to help Canadians weather the storm are still to be released.-The Canadian PressPrime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer speak at Parliament Hill in a 2019 file photo.
PATRICK DOYLE/Reuters4 a.m. EDTTrudeau, Scheer among MPs to donate pay hike to charities during COVID-19 crisisPrime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer are among the MPs who are promising to donate an automatic increase in their salaries to charity, as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the economy and puts thousands of Canadians out of work.
The raise goes into effect today, as does the latest increase in the federal carbon tax.Trudeau has been under pressure to cancel both.Story continues below advertisementHowever, he has ruled out scrapping the planned increase in the carbon tax and there’s nothing he can do about the salary hike without recalling Parliament, which has been adjourned until at least April 20 as part of the nation-wide bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Under legislation passed in 2005 to de-politicize parliamentarians’ pay, salaries paid to MPs and senators increase automatically on April 1 each year, based on the average increase negotiated by major bargaining units in the private sector.This year, MPs are entitled to a 2.1 per cent hike, which will increase their base salaries by just over $3,750 to $182,656.
-The Canadian PressParliament may need to be recalled again to approve wage subsidy programCanadians are supposed to get more details today of the federal government’s massive emergency wage subsidy program — a day later than promised.Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Small Business Minister Mary Ng were to have held a news conference Tuesday to fill in the details of the program — including the multibillion-dollar price tag — but that was cancelled.
Story continues below advertisementThe pair, along with Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, are expected to try again today to explain the program, aimed at saving jobs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shuttered businesses across the country.
A government official says the delay was simply a matter of trying to iron out all the fine print in a huge program that, in normal circumstances, would have taken months to put together.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, acknowledged that the government is also trying to sort out whether it will need to recall Parliament again to approve legislation to authorize the wage subsidy program.
Parliament, which has been adjourned since mid-March as part of the nationwide effort to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19, was recalled briefly last week to approve a $107-billion emergency aid package.That package included a wage subsidy of just 10 per cent.
However, the day after the package was approved, the government announced a greatly enhanced wage subsidy program that will cover 75 per cent of an employee’s wages, up to $58,700. That will amount to as much as $847 a week per employee.Businesses, regardless of size, whose revenues have decreased by at least 30 per cent because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are eligible for the subsidy, which is to be backdated to March 15.
TD Economics has previously estimated that the enhanced subsidy would cost about $25 billion, while RBC separately estimated its value at $28 billion.The government is also expected to provide more details today on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a taxable benefit that is to provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the pandemic.
The benefit was included in last week’s emergency aid package. At the time, the government said it hoped to have a portal for applications opened by April 6.-The Canadian PressJon Stanfield, president and CEO of Stanfield's Ltd., stands in one of the production areas of the garment manufacturing company in Truro, N.S., on March 31, 2020.
Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian PressLong john producer Stanfield’s will ‘pivot’ to medical gownsA historic Canadian undergarment factory famed for long johns and boxer shorts is about to rapidly reinvent itself as a domestic producer of medical gowns.Stanfield’s Ltd. of Truro, N.S., is among five firms that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday have received letters of intent to manufacture personal protective equipment and clothing for front-line health workers.
Jon Stanfield, the chief executive of the fifth-generation family firm, said in an interview he’s already sourced approved fabric from nearby Intertape Polymer, and is ready to be producing medical clothing within days.The 48-year-old says once the federal government provides details of its offer, the company could bring back over 75 of its over 200 staff who were sent home earlier this month as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He describes the restart as a “pivotal” signal that Western governments are moving to ensure there are domestic suppliers of medical gear and gowns crucial to public safety in the future.Stanfield said the firm has patterns and machinery that would initially produce more than 2,000 gowns daily per shift to help feed a Canadian demand for garments that emerged after the pandemic sliced supply from China.
-The Canadian Press3:30 a.m. EDTPolice to enforce public health measuresA police unit has been assembled in Newfoundland and Labrador to enforce public health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.Three investigators, an analyst and a supervisor with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary make up the unit.
They are tasked with following up on possible incidents of non-compliance of emergency orders aimed at slowing spread of the illness.The police force says investigations may involve gathering video, interviewing witnesses or paying “compliance check” visits.
-The Canadian PressN.B. says social distancing is workingNew Brunswick’s chief medical health officer says measures to “flatten the curve” are starting to have an effect and cautions people against becoming complacent.Doctor Jennifer Russell says there are three cases of community transmission so far in the province, and nine people who were positive have recovered.
New Brunswick reported two new cases yesterday for a total of 70.Russell says one case is travel-related, and the other is a contact of a previous case.-The Canadian PressN.S. sees COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilitiesNova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says long-term care is a particular concern when it comes to widespread transmission of COVID-19 as has been seen in larger provinces like Ontario and British Columbia.
Doctor Robert Strang says to date, four staff members and two residents of three long-term care facilities have tested positive for the virus.Strang says that’s concerning, but he feels measures have been taken to limit the possibility of virus introduction and there are “robust” response plans in place for long-term care facilities.
Nova Scotia reported 20 new cases yesterday for a total of 147 confirmed cases province-wide.-The Canadian Press3 a.m. EDTOntario jail guards protest lack of screeningThe union representing Ontario’s jail guards says no one is being screened as they go into provincial correctional facilities.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union says lack of screening puts both staff and inmates at risk of contracting COVID-19.Guards at an Ottawa-area jail refused to work a shift yesterday in protest of the lack of screening protocols.Everyone scheduled to work the morning shift at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre refused to go inside, leaving managers to perform their duties for the day. (The Canadian Press)Read more: The Globe and Mail »
In Canada, there have been at least 8,591 cases reported, more than double the number from 5 days ago. There have also been 1,297 recoveries and 101 deaths. Health officials have administered 244,846 tests. Our guide with updated provincial numbers ⤵️
'The eleventh hour': Petitions call for cancellation of April 1 rent paymentsPetitions with more than 800,000 signatures were delivered to the provincial and federal governments Monday calling for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments as of April 1. Pay up or get out MORTGAGES TOO!!!!!! Under the best of circumstances, getting the rent from tenants can be a difficult task. I had someone just tell me, 'no' once and then proceeded to live rent free until he was court ordered to leave the premises.
Feds waive rent payments for airport authorities amid COVID-19 crisisThe federal government is providing some relief to Canada’s air transportation sector, one of the many industries hit hard by the COVID -19 pandemic.
Commercial rent delays could turn into abatements if crisis drags on, industry watchers sayOne quarter of small businesses can’t make April lease or mortgage payments — and it won’t get much better any time soon On the other hand, three quarters of small businesses can make April lease or mortgage payments. CoronaVirus
1/4 Of Canada's Small, Medium-Sized Firms Can't Make Rent Wednesday'Protecting livelihoods is going to be a group effort. We’re all going to have to step up.”
As rent day arrives, landlords roll out ‘support’ plans — with some charging interestLoans offered as temporary relief mean some tenants would end up paying more rent during this unprecedented time I love when 'support' costs more I’m sure the financial institutions that hold mortgages on those properties are not waiving interest fees & surcharges. Why would you expect tenants not to have those expenses not passed down to them. The story is banks are using deferrals like someone is just having a bad 2 weeks. They are using their normal procedures so interest is being added. You won't get relief, you'll get hit hard when you go back to work with higher payments. Does the Gov have to do everything?
Tenants Across Canada Scramble As Rent Deadline LoomsOver 700,000 people have signed a petition calling for rent payments to be cancelled during the COVID -19 crisis.