The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 7 Business Manager Todd Mitchell was interviewed on a daily labor-focused podcast on April 29.
Heat and Frost Insulators News and Events
Dr. Tam provided an update on the number of cases in Canada: 15822 cases and 293 deaths. She says the most concerning news right now are the new outbreaks in hospitals and hearing of young people being hospitalized and people as young as in their 20’s dying from the disease. She shares this information as a reminder that this is a critical illness that may strike anyone at any age. She also gave an update on testing that Canada has now completed over 339 000 tests. She points to cautious optimism from British Columbia as they recorded a lower number of cases than last week showing that collective action can slow the spread of the virus.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an address from Rideau Cottage, noting today applications opened for CERB and that 240,000 people had applied already.
- Trudeau also highlighted that the government plans to expand eligibility for CERB to include part-time workers who have gone through a loss of hours, students, gig economy workers, and others in the $2,000 per month flat rate benefit.
- The Prime Minister reiterated the government plans to reconvene Parliament to pass legislation necessary for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy implementation. He indicated the government is also working on a plan to hold virtual sitting of the House and Senate.
- He lauded certain banks and credit unions for reducing interest rates on credit accounts by almost a half, asking for more similar action by other financial institutions.
- Trudeau said the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched the Canadian Business Resilience Network and explained it would be helpful for Canadian businesses doing all they can to get through these trying times.
- In response to questions, The Prime Minister said he would stay at his residence as much as possible as his self-isolation period is coming to an end. He said social distancing measures are expected to last for “many weeks” or a “few months.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained CERB opened for applications today, saying 240,000 people have already successfully applied and that the government is suggesting people apply according to their birth month. He said there are some who don’t qualify who still deserve help and that the government would expand access to CERB soon for gig workers, freelancers, those who have had hours reduced to below 10 hours per week, and others.
How to Apply
Eligible employers would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application. Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.
(Toronto, ON) “Today’s decision by the government of Ontario to largely shut down private sector Industrial and Commercial construction in the province is a difficult but necessary one, given the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. Public sector infrastructure projects, together with the residential sector will largely remain open.
In response to the construction industry’s questions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, the following are steps workers should be taking now:
• Don’t go to work if you are feeling sick.
• Don’t go to work if you have a fever.
• Don’t go to work if you have a cough or shortness of breath.
• Avoid contact with sick people.
• Don’t shake hands when greeting others.
• Avoid large gatherings or meetings of 10 people or more.
• Stay at least 6 feet away from others on job sites and in gatherings, meetings, and training sessions.
• Cover your mouth and nose with tissues if you cough or sneeze or do so into your elbow.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When hand washing isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
• Clean your hands frequently, including before and after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
• Bring food and water bottles from home to the job site and do not share.
• Drive to worksites or parking areas by yourself—no passengers or carpooling.
• Wipe down interiors and door handles of machines or construction vehicles, and the handles of equipment and tools that are shared, with disinfectant prior to entering. CDC has issued disinfection recommendations here.
In the last two weeks, Congress has passed one major piece of legislation and is poised to do the same in the coming days on a second bill. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has been signed into law by the president. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) is scheduled to be voted on by the US House of Representatives as early as Friday, March 27 after already passing the US Senate on Wednesday, March 25. The House is expected to pass the bill and then it will head to the president who is expected to sign it into law.
Both of pieces of legislation were designed to provide economic relief for businesses and workers severely impacted by COVID-19. North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) lobbied very aggressively to ensure each bill contained policies that would help the working families of the construction industry as well as its contractors. The following memo is a summary of many of the key provisions impacting the building trades and its industry partners.
While Congress is expected to officially recess until mid to late April (possibly longer), plans for a fourth relief bill are already coming together. With the help of all the affiliates and our councils, the building trades will begin lobbying on it immediately. As you will read, we have unfinished business and our members and their families are depending on us to get it done.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
On March 25, the Prime Minister announced a new taxable benefit that provides $2,000/month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 19, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee approved legislation to regulate the amount of asbestos used in building materials and industrial facilities.