COVID-19 Latest News

Live COVID-19 Special Coverage:

CIDI COVID-19 Special Coverage:

Most Recent Update:

This is CIDI’s coverage of the COVID-19 virus. This coverage includes general summaries of press releases and information distributed from every municipality within Brome Missisquoi. It is to help you stay informed with everything you need to know about this pandemic.

Parks and Public Spaces Update:

June 2nd Update:

The Centre Lac-Brome is re-opening with the following schedule:

Monday – Friday

8am – Noon, 1pm – 4 pm

To meet with a representative from the departments of Recreation, Tourism, Culture, or Community Life please make an appointment by calling 450-242-2020.

Douglas Beach Update:

May 25th Update:

Retail stores in Montreal are beginning to reopen starting today! Of course, newly open retailers will be required to follow all health care precautions including the two metre physical distancing rule. As for clothing stores the new regulations state that after clothing items have been tried on they are subject to be steam cleaned and put into “quarantine” for 24-48 hours before another person is able to interact with the item again.

The province of Quebec has been struggling to reach testing goals. Daily, in the last week Quebec reported hundreds of new cases of the corona virus. For perspective the lowest number of cases, 570, was reported on May 19th then two days later on May 21st the number rose to 720. This large increase is raising alarms among the public considering the province is starting to reopen. Many are questioning rather Premier Legault made the right decision to begin reopening or if he might have “jumped the gun” in efforts to restart the economy. A staffing shortage at long term care homes and overcrowded Montreal hospitals still remain unaddressed.

On Sunday Quebec confirmed there to be 44 more corona virus deaths bringing the death toll up to 4,069. In total there are 47,411 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quebec. The government has announced Monday an increase of 573 new cases and 85 deaths in comparison to only a day earlier. Included in today’s numbers are 1,425 people in hospital, decrease of 10, and 179 in intensive care, increase of 9.

Adding to the list of businesses that are allowed to reopen are: museums, libraries, and drive-in theatres. The set date for reopening is May 29th. As for public transit, the government has invested $6 million in a program to provide all public transit users with face masks. Masks are not obligatory in public, but they are strongly encouraged.

Canada currently has 84,699 cases of COVID-19 with just over half, 43,998, of the cases being considered recovered. Unfortunately, the current death toll is 6,515.

Brome Lake Farmer’s Market Update:

What is Opening June 1st:

  • Hair salons and Barber shops
  • Estheticians (except Greater Montreal Area and Regional Municipal County of Joliette)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Chiropractic practices
  • Massage Therapy
  • Psychology services
  • Optometry
  • Acupuncture
  • Naturopathy
  • Homeopathy
  • Life and Career Coaching
  • Social work
  • Family Therapy
  • Nutrition Counselling
  • Speech Therapy
  • Audiology
  • Podiatry
  • Psychiatrists
  • Dental clinics
  • Private Health Care services
  • Pet Grooming
  • Children’s summer day camps (June 22nd)

*Exception: services that are located in a mall and do not have a separate outdoor entrance.

Even though some businesses are reopening some rules still apply such as:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wear googles or eye protection (optional)
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres
  • Physical barriers must be installed between work stations
  • Surfaces must be disinfected regularly
  • A limited number of people in waiting rooms with waiting areas marked out on the floor to maintain physical distancing

What Can and Can’t you Do:

ALLOWED PROHIBITED
Golf Garage Sales
Fishing Large group gatherings indoors/outdoors
Tennis in the courts Loitering in parks
Outdoor gatherings of 10 or less people

May 21st Update:

The province of Quebec is now allowing outdoor gatherings of maximum 10 people from 3 different households. However, it is imperative that while conducting these outdoor gatherings people must respect the physical distancing rule of 2 metres. When being questioned about this new policy change Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province of Quebec’s public health director, stated that the mental health of citizens due to isolation was a large part of the consideration.

When planning a gathering this weekend please remember 10 – 3 – 2: 10 people, 3 households, and 2 metres apart.

Official Brome Fair Update:

May 20th Update:

  • Globally there are 4,897,492 recorded cases of the Corona Virus and specifically 79,503 in Canada. The province of Quebec remains the hotspot of Canada reporting 44,197 cases of COVID-19, unfortunately this number includes 3,647 deaths, 1,784 people in hospital (increase of 13), and 180 in intensive care (increase of 1). This is an overall increase of 570 cases and 51 deaths in comparison to the day before.
  • Canada is now enforcing a mandatory 14 day isolation and contact tracing to any international travellers, arriving by land and air, entering the country. This regulation was put in place March 25th while the global numbers for COVID-19 were rapidly rising.
  • To better enforce the mandatory 14 day isolation for incoming travellers the local police forces report they have made 2,200 house visits, which they refer to as physical verifications, to ensure people are respecting the quarantine regulations. A total of 294 physical checks have been reported in Quebec and no arrests have been made. However, failing to comply with the Quarantine Act can lead to a fine of $750,000 – $1 million and/or a prison sentence of six months – 3 years.
  • The American border will remain closed until at least June 21st. The decision to extend the border closure for another 30 days was mutually decided between the two parties, Canada and America. Trudeau hinted during the Tuesday press conference that once the border is officially re-opened for non-essential travel tougher measures will be put into place to combat the spread of the virus.
  • The CBSA, Canadian Border agents, reported during the week of May 11th to 17th approximately 127,000 people, mostly truckers bringing goods into the country, crossed at land borders. In comparison to the same time last year this is an 88% drop in traffic. As for the airports approximately 14,536 people have arrived from international locations. This is a 98% drop in comparison to the same period last year.
  • For the first time since 2009 Canada’s inflation rate has turned negative.
  • Quebec’s public health director has voiced that the public needs to continue to comply with the social distancing measures as some sectors are reopening. If citizens do not follow public health directives the province will have no choice but to close again.
  • As Quebec plans to start reopening businesses: hair dressers, dentists, physiotherapists, and psychologists are at the top of the list. May 25th has been set as the date retail stores can begin to reopen in the Montreal area. Also with limited spaces available the daycares in the Greater Montreal area will be allowed to begin reopening.  
  • Quebec travellers are still being turned away when trying to cross the New Brunswick border.
  • Health care workers on the frontline are no longer given exemption from job assignments due to highly susceptible family members. This has forced a few health care employees to leave their jobs for the safety of their families.

May 5th Update: Town of Brome Lake Press Release

Please read the attached press release regarding a tax relief measure implemented by the Town of Brome Lake.

April 30th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

Canadian Emergency Student Benefit

Yesterday, the Government introduced legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which would provide income support to post-secondary students who lost work opportunities due to COVID-19.

Through the CESB, currently being considered by Parliament, students who are not receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit would receive $1,250 per month for up to four months (May-August 2020). Students with disabilities, students with dependents would receive an additional $750. The CESB would be available to:

  • students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • students who ended their studies or graduated no earlier than December 2019;
  • high-school graduates who have applied for and will be joining post-secondary programs in the coming months; and
  • Canadian students studying abroad meeting one of the above criteria.

Students who have been unable to find employment or self-employment due to COVID-19 during the four week period for which they are applying for the CESB would be able to do so starting in May. Details will be available soon.

Comprehensive measures, including more student grants and expanded student and youth programming will help students, job seekers and youth looking for service opportunities through these extraordinary times.

Notice to Suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment 

Are you a supplier in large quantities of personal protective equipment such as gloves or masks? Our Brome-Missisquoi stores need you! You can write to us and we will put you in touch with the appropriate people.

Reaching Home program: additional resources for homeless people

Today, our government has reached an agreement with the Government of Quebec to make additional funding of over $21.4 million available through the Reaching Home program for 2020–2021. This funding will enable us to continue our shared efforts to prevent the impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. All Quebec regions that are already receiving Reaching Home funding will have access to additional funds and the funding available for each designated community will be communicated as soon as possible.

Measures for the AG sector

You will find attached a series of measures our Government has put in place in order to support the AG sector during these difficult times. We responded quickly to help people and companies that needed the most. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

April 28th Update:

  • There are 24,982 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the province of Quebec. Unfortunately, 1,599 people have died including 84 new deaths of which 79 were in CHSLDs.
  • Currently there are 1,541 individuals in hospital with 210 patients in intensive care.
  • There are 3,041,764 confirmed positive cases of the Corona virus globally with 49,040 cases in Canada.
  • Premier Legault has announced the re-opening of schools and daycare centres beginning on May 11th for most of the province, excluding Montreal. This re-opening only includes elementary schools and attendance is not mandatory.
  • Quebec is also expected to increase testing to approximately administer 15,000 tests per day, however, the faster 30 minute tests will only be available by the end of May says Dr. Horacio Arruda.

April 24th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

EMERGENCY RENT ASSISTANCE

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

The government is also providing further details on the program:

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. 
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

CANADA SUMMER JOBS PROGRAM

For those who applied via the Call for Proposals, Service Canada will inform you of the status of your application starting in May 2020.

In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our Government is implementing temporary flexibilities for Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) 2020 in order to be more responsive to the challenges facing employers and youth.

In addition, the public service worked with us to identify organizations that provide essential services in the community and could provide youth jobs but did not apply for the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2020. These employers will be contacted to submit an application by the public service.

CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY

As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.

This wage subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis.

Starting April 27, 2020, eligible employers can apply for the CEWS in CRA My Business Account or through a separate online application form

April 23rd Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

$1 BILLION DOLLARS IN MEDICAL RESEARCH

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced more than $1 billion in support of a national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19 that includes vaccine development, the production of treatments, and tracking of the virus. This new funding builds on the $275 million investment for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures announced in March.

The Government of Canada will invest in new medical countermeasures to better understand COVID-19, and develop the infrastructure needed to fight the virus here in Canada. 

More details here: https://bit.ly/2XWjICx

CANADA CHILD BENEFIT

Do you receive the Canada child benefit?
You will automatically receive up to $300 more per child on your regular May 20, 2020 payment.

For more details: http://ow.ly/LRmy50zljeh

CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT

I made a mistake and applied for both EI and CERB and have received 2 payments of $2,000. What should I do?

If you applied for both the Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency delivered payments, you may have received two separate payments of $2000, which is not permitted.

If this is the case, don’t worry, Service Canada and the CRA are working together to reconcile these payments and you’ll be proactively contacted by letter with details on how to repay this amount. 

Should I complete my bi-weekly EI reports?

If you’ve filed a claim for the CERB through EI, you’ll be asked to complete bi-weekly reports (online or by phone) to confirm you continue to meet the eligibility requirements, so that you can continue to receive your benefit for the duration of your claim.

April 21st Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

EMERGENCY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND – APPLICATION

As you know, the Prime Minister announced yesterday the $350 millionEmergency Community Support Fund that will help community organizations adapt frontline services for vulnerable Canadians – such as seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, newcomers, women, children and youth, LGBTQ2 people, Indigenous people and racialized people, including Black Canadians – to the challenges of COVID-19.

Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through the national partners or their local entities. The partners and their networks are working as quickly as possible to set up application processes. Community organizations should check the websites of the United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada to learn more about how and when they will be able to apply.

Centraide Richelieu-Yamaska : https://www.centraidery.org/

Centraide Estrie : http://www.centraideestrie.com/

HELP THE AG INDUSTRY! NEW PLATFORM FOR EMPLOYMENT IN AGRICULTURE

Step up to the plate to help feed Canadians! Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada just launched an initiative to match Canadians looking for a job with a farm and food business who are feeding Canada during this critical time. Jobs in #CdnAg are very rewarding and employ a range of skills.

Click on the links below to learn more:

Twitter:

Facebook:

CANADA EMERGENCY STUDENT BENEFIT

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced comprehensive support of nearly $9 billion for post-secondary students and recent graduates. This plan will help provide the financial support they need this summer, help them continue their studies in the fall, and help many get the experience they need to start their careers. These measures include launching:

  • the proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
  • the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall. 

The Government of Canada will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months. In addition, to help students continue their studies in the fall, the government will:

  • double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
  • broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
  • enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
  • increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
  • extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

April 22nd Update: Help coming for Students

Many students or recent grads were preparing to start a summer job or new career in the weeks ahead, and are now concerned about how to make ends meet.

No one should have to choose between taking action against COVID-19 and their education. As the Prime Minister said today, a sustainable economic recovery will require a strong workforce and good job opportunities for young people – and that means giving them the support they need to continue their studies and encouraging them to serve their communities.

That’s why today Justin Trudeau announced nearly $9 billion of comprehensive support to help students and recent grads, including:

The new Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB): $1,250 per month from May through August for eligible students, and $1,750 for students with dependents or permanent disabilities

 The new Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG): Up to $5,000 for a student’s education in the fall for students who choose to work in national service positions and serve their community.

Doubling the Canada Students Grants ProgramBroadening the eligibility for Student Financial AssistanceCreating 76,000 jobs for young people in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs program, in sectors that need an extra hand right now or that are on the frontlines of this pandemic.

Specific support for Indigenous studentsAnd much more…Together, these measures will help ensure students and recent grads have the support they need to continue their studies, or to get the experience they were counting on to start their careers.
Supporting young Canadians is key to making sure Canada comes out stronger than ever from this crisis. And these new measures build on our Liberal government’s strong commitment to doing whatever it takes to support all Canadians during this difficult time, including urgent steps to support families, workers, small businesses, and vulnerable Canadians.

We will get through this together, and our Liberal government knows that young Canadians will help define our path toward a better and more equal future.

April 21st Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

LAUNCH OF THE EMERGENCY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FUND

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an investment of $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need. Our Government will provide additional support to charities and non-profit organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund.

The investment will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations. It will support a variety of activities, such as:

  • Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
  • Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
  • Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
  • Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
  • Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
  • Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet

CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY

Today, our Government launched the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator to support employers as they prepare to apply for the CEWS.

The CEWS calculator can be found on CRA’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Web page. This Web page incorporates feedback received during user testing with stakeholders, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.  It includes detailed information and instructions about who can apply for the subsidy, how eligibility is assessed, and how the subsidy is calculated.  The calculator also includes a printable statement feature that employers can use to view their claim at a glance and, as of April 27, enter required information into the CEWS application form quickly and easily.

April 20th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

In this National Volunteer Week, I would like to highlight the important contribution of our volunteers to the well-being of the members of our community, particularly in the situation we are going through, which requires strong citizen solidarity. For those who already volunteering, please continue. If you want to get involved, it is never too late to volunteer at a volunteer centre. 

“This year’s theme, ‘It’s time to applaud this country’s volunteers’, underscores how volunteers work tirelessly and often behind the scenes. It highlights how our charities and non-profit organizations depend on their support to provide services to Canadians who need them most.

Thank you to all these people of heart who give generously of their time.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to protect Canadian jobs and provide greater support to businesses and organizations dealing with the economic impacts of VIDOC-19.

Here is an overview of these targeted measures totalling $1.7 billion:

$675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.

$287 million to support rural businesses and communities, including by providing them with much-needed access to capital through the Community Futures Network.

$500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes. The Fund is meant for organizations that can’t qualify for the existing Wage Subsidy because of the lumpy or irregular nature of their revenues as well as to cover contract workers. The Fund will also provide advances on future grants and contributions to help maintain liquidity as well as small subsidies to cover some fixed costs.

Eligible organizations and businesses include: 

·        Canadian not-for-profit cultural, heritage and arts organizations 

·        National Sports Organizations, Multisport Service Organizations, and Canadian Sport Centres and Institutes 

·        Canadian journalistic organizations 

·        Canadian book publishers 

·        Canadian production companies that work in the film or television industries

·        Organizations in the music industry 

·        Television and radio broadcasters

·        Recipients of the Digital Citizen Initiative 

$250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access existing COVID-19 business support, through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.

$20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue to support young entrepreneurs across Canada who are facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief for its clients for up to 12 months.

April 16th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

CRITERIA MODIFICATION – Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Our Government is stepping up to better support those who need help but don’t qualify for the CERB, and Canadians working in essential jobs. To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the Government will be changing the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.

Here is the link to learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/04/expanding-access-to-the-canada-emergency-response-benefit-and-proposing-a-new-wage-boost-for-essential-workers.html

TEMPORARY TOP-UP TO THE SALARIES OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS

We are also working with provinces and territories to help provide a temporary top-up to the salaries of  workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, that make less than $2,500 a month. The top-up is in recognition that these essential workers’ salaries are often less or similar than what they would receive from the CERB. We will continue to look for ways to better help all Canadians during this difficult time.

LAUNCH OF THE WELLNESS TOGETHER CANADA – Mental health and substance use support portal

Today, the Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced the launch of Wellness Together Canada, a mental health and substance use portal for all Canadians. During these difficult times, it is critical that Canadians have access to effective tools to support their mental health and wellbeing, obtain credible and reliable information about mental health and substance use, and access services. 

This web-based portal provides Canadians with a virtual network of psycho-social information services and supports, and is available on Canada.ca/coronavirus and the Canada COVID-19 app. The Wellness Together Canada mental health and substance use support portal is meant to support existing provincial and territorial services. It is a central resource for accessing confidential mental health and substance use support with respect to COVID-19.

April 15th Update:

  • There are 14,248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province of Quebec. In total, 435 people have died and 936 people are in hospital, which includes 230 in intensive care. The amount of COVID-19 deaths in the province have tripled in the past week.
  • The province of Quebec is partially lifting the ban on visitors entering long-term care homes. This will allow experienced caregivers to enter the homes to help out in the fight against COVID-19. In efforts to be more transparent the province has released a list of 41 long-term care facilities suffering a critical outbreak of the virus. The province has recognized the largest contributing factor to these outbreaks is the lack of staff.
  • Montreal General Hospital has confirmed 2 patients and 4 staff members have tested positive for the virus.
  • Montreal’s numbers are already peaking, while the province is still waiting to see the peak in the total number of cases of COVID-19.
  • There are 27,557 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Canada and a total of 1,973,715 globally.

April 15th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

TEMPORARY FOREIGN WORKER

Our Government announced yesterday $50 million to help farmers, fish harvesters, and all food production and processing employers, put in place the measures necessary to follow the mandatory 14-day isolation period required of all workers arriving from abroad.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is crucial for many players in the agricultural sector. As you know, employers are responsible for the welfare of the Temporary Foreign Worker once they arrive at their facility. Recognizing the importance of this responsibility, the federal government will provide support of $1,500 for each temporary foreign worker, to employers or those working with them to ensure requirements are fully met. The funding is conditional on employers not being found in violation of the mandatory 14-day isolation protocols or any other public health order. This program will be available as long as the Quarantine Act is in force and the isolation protocol is followed. Rest assured, no travellers including temporary foreign workers who present with COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to board international flights to Canada.

CANADA EMERGENCY WAGE SUBSIDY

Here are some improvements to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) that were announced in detail on April 8, 2020 and subsequently refined as part of the legislative process. These improvements include the following:

  • To measure their revenue loss, it is proposed that employers compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019 or, in order to provide added flexibility, to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
  • For March, the government proposes to make the CEWS more accessible than originally announced by reducing this 30% benchmark to 15%, in recognition of the fact that many businesses did not begin to be affected by the crisis until partway through the month.
  • To provide certainty for employers, the government is also proposing that once an employer is found eligible for a specific period, they would automatically qualify for the next period of the program. 
  • To recognize the challenges in measuring revenues of non-profit organizations and registered charities, it is proposed that they be allowed to choose whether or not to include government assistance in revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue decline test. Once chosen, the same approach would have to be maintained by the organization throughout the program period.
  • It is also proposed that employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Once chosen, the same accounting method would have to be used by the employer throughout the program period.
  • It is also proposed that the CEWS provide an additional amount to compensate employers for their contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Quebec Pension Plan and Quebec Parental Insurance Plan paid in respect of eligible employees who are on leave with pay due to COVID-19.

For more info: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/wage-subsidy.html

April 8th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – additional flexibility for certain criterias

Today, we provided further details on the eligibility criteria for businesses to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

Our Government is proposing that employers eligible for the CEWS be entitled to receive a 100-per-cent refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund would apply to the entire amount of employer-paid contributions in respect of remuneration paid to furloughed employees in a period where the employer is eligible for the CEWS.

In order to address the realities faced by the not-for-profit sector, high growth companies and new businesses, our Government proposes the following additional flexibility:

  • To measure their revenue loss, it is proposed that all employers have the flexibility to compare their revenue of March, April and May 2020 to that of the same month of 2019, or to an average of their revenue earned in January and February 2020.
  • For March, our Government proposes to make the CEWS more accessible than originally announced by reducing the 30-per-cent benchmark to 15 per cent, in recognition of the fact that many businesses did not begin to be affected by the crisis until partway through the month.
  • In recognition that the time between when revenue is earned and when it is paid could be highly variable in certain sectors of the economy, it is proposed that employers be allowed to measure revenues either on the basis of accrual accounting (as they are earned) or cash accounting (as they are received). Special rules would also be provided to address issues for corporate groups, non-arm’s length entities and joint ventures.
  • Registered charities and non-profit organizations would also be able to benefit from the additional flexibilities being provided to employers with respect to the revenue loss calculation. In addition, to recognize that different types of organizations are experiencing different types of funding pressures, it is proposed that charities and non-profit organizations be allowed to choose to include or exclude government funding in their revenues for the purpose of applying the revenue reduction test.

Canada Summer Jobs Program

With the exceptional situation we are currently experiencing, young people are facing serious challenges finding work. To build the foundations of strong communities, we need a strong workforce that includes good job opportunities for youth. That’s why the Primer Minister announced today that we are changing the Canada Summer Jobs program this year to help employers adapt to the realities of COVID-19 and support young Canadians as they begin to look for summer employment. The temporary changes to the program for this year include:

  • Increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • Extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
  • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis

Canada’s small businesses increasingly depend on the employment of young Canadians. The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will help small businesses hire and keep the workers they need so they can continue to deliver essential services. The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services. This program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age.

April 8th Update:

  • The Quebec government is projecting to see between 1,200 and 9,000 deaths from COVID-19 by the end of the month. However, following the current trajectory Public Health Officials believe we will be closer to the lower end of the range.
  • The province of Quebec has two scenarios that could play out by April 30th. Optimistic scenario: 29,212 confirmed positive cases of the virus, 1,404 people hospitalized at once, and 1,263 deaths due to the virus. Pessimistic scenario: 59,845 confirmed positive cases, 3,208 people hospitalized at once, and 8,860 deaths due to the virus. In this pessimistic scenario Quebec would run out of beds available in the ICU to treat the more severe cases.
  • Regardless of the scenario the Public Health Officials predict that the cases of the virus will peak on April 18th.
  • To this day there has been 150 deaths from the virus recorded in Quebec. This number is slightly above that stated in the optimistic projection. On the other hand, there are currently 583 people in the hospital which is slightly below the projection.

April 7th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

Support from industry

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced further progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID‑19 that will help provide vital, made‑in‑Canada protective gear and medical equipment to respond to the outbreak. 

The Government of Canada is building a secure, domestic supply of needed items to protect frontline health workers as they fight this global pandemic. Nearly 5,000 Canadian companies have offered their expertise and capacity as we work together on projects.

Complementary to these domestic efforts, the Government of Canada is also working through over 22,000 submissions to Public Services and Procurement Canada from companies interested or able to sell to Canada. All efforts are being made to secure contracts and deliveries as quickly as possible.

Medical equipment and supplies

We are expecting 500,000 3M masks tomorrow, and we are working as quickly as possible to get them to our front-line workers. Our priority is the health and safety of all Canadians.

THANK YOU TO ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS FOR BEING THERE FOR CANADIANS!

Whatever field you’re working in, we’re grateful for the outstanding work you’ve been doing every day since the beginning of this crisis. Your dedication in these turbulent times deserves our respect and recognition.

CANADA EMERGENCY RESPONSE BENEFIT

We have received several questions about the CERB.

Here is a FAQ to help figure it all out.

Can you receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you are not a citizen or permanent resident?

To be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number.

Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements.

Does the minimum income of $5,000 have to be earned in Canada?

No.

The income does not have to be earned in Canada, but you need to reside in Canada.

If I am on special benefits such as maternity/parental am I eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

It is expected that you will return to work when you are finished collecting maternity/parental or other special benefits under the Employment Insurance Program.

If work is not available as a result of reasons related to COVID-19 upon conclusion of your maternity/parental leave, you may be eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, provided you meet the eligibility requirements.

If I am in receipt of dividends am I eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

Yes, as long as the dividends are non-eligible dividends (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate).

An individual could count this income towards the $5,000 income requirement to be eligible for CERB.

April 7th Update:

  • Quebec has confirmed 8,580 positive cases of COVID-19, including 121 deaths. 533 people are in hospital with 164 in intensive care.
  • Canada has 17,046 confirmed cases of the corona virus. Globally there are 1,345,048 total confirmed cases of the virus.
  • If the number of ICU hospitalizations continue to rise Quebec veterinarians are ready to step in and help operate the ventilators on humans.
  • Over the weekend police wrote thousands of tickets to people not respecting the social distancing rules.
  • All non-essential businesses in Quebec will be shut down until May 4th
  • Premier Legault has stated several times that the province of Quebec has conducted the most COVID-19 tests in all of Canada. This gives more perspective to the high numbers of infected people in the province.
  • Experts are blaming an earlier march break as to why Quebec was hit harder by the pandemic. Travellers were coming or returning to the province just as the virus began to spread and became a pandemic.
  • Quebec has seen the sharpest rise in cases of the virus in the country whereas B.C. is already appearing to have a relatively flattened curve.
  • With caution, Premier Legault stated that he “can see the light at the end of the tunnel”.

April 3rd Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

Starting next Monday, April 6, you will be able to apply to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is a $2,000/month benefit for people who have lost income due to COVID-19.

To ensure that you receive the benefit on time, it is important to respect the application dates based on your month of birth, as described in the table below.

More information here :

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

To open My Account:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/account-individuals.html

SUPPORT FOR FOOD BANKS AND LOCAL FOOD ORGANIZATIONS

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government of Canada will provide funding to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity. These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians.

This funding will be used to purchase food and other basic necessities. It will help these organizations find new, creative ways to reach people in need.

April 2nd Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

To simplify your research, please find below some quick links to the measures that our Government has implemented to support employers and employees. 

Our Government remains committed to doing whatever it takes to help individuals and businesses with the most pressing needs. 

April 2nd Update:

  • As of this morning, Canada has 10,132 confirmed positive cases of the virus and 131 deaths. 256,933 people have been tested in Canada for the corona virus.
  • Almost half of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 are under the age of 50. Officials are asking for Canadian youth to respect the social distancing measures put in place by the government.
  • Global cases near 1 million with 48,000 deaths due to the corona virus.
  • President Trump resists national shutdown leaving the decision up to the individual states to decide to shut down or not.
  • 6.6 million individuals have claimed unemployment in the USA.
  • More than 500 long term care facilities in Quebec have at least one positive case of COVID-19. This is extremely concerning putting senior residences on the top of the list of largest concerns.
  • Quebec has 4,611 confirmed positive cases including 33 deaths due to the virus. Currently, there are 307 people in hospital with 82 in intensive care. The total number of cases increased by 449 within 24 hours representing an 11% increase of confirmed cases, which is actually below the trajectory, usually ranging from 20-25%, seen in the previous days.
  • Travel restrictions within the province have expanded to include parts of the Laurentian’s, Lanaudière, La Tuque, and Outaouais regions.
  • The city of Montreal is bringing in stricter measures as the number of cases surpassed 2,000. There are 2,097 confirmed cases of the corona virus and 14 Montrealers have died. This number includes 100 health care workers that have tested positive for the virus.
  • Montreal is taking new efforts to contain the spread by restricting visits to large multiplexes and condo buildings. Landlords are also working to enforce more strict cleaning measures.
  • With the rising concerns regarding limited supplies of personal protective equipment Premier François Legault announced the province has received new shipments of supplies.

March 31st Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

NEW PARTNERSHIPS WITH CANADIAN INDUSTRIES TO FIGHT COVID-19

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced progress under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, which increases Canada’s ability to respond to the outbreak with necessary medical equipment and supplies.

The Government of Canada is investing $2 billion to support diagnostic testing and to purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment, including for bulk purchases with provinces and territories. Personal protective equipment includes things like more masks and face shields, gowns, and hand sanitizer.

APPLYING FOR BENEFITS

One of the ways you can apply for benefits, like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, is through the CRA MyAccount secure portal.

Creating a CRA MyAccount will be the first step, and this can be done now before applications are open on April 6th.

Next, make sure you are signed up for direct deposit payments to receive the benefits directly in your bank account.

EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS        CANADA EMERGENCY 

Did you know? If you applied for EI after March 15th you will automatically be enrolled for the Canada Emergency Benefit. No need to reapply.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

MORE INFORMATION

For all the latest news, please visit: canada.ca/coronavirus

March 31st Update:

  • The USA is now the epicentre of the Corona Virus. They have 161,000 reported cases, which is highest in the world, followed by Italy with 102,000. For comparison Canada currently has just over 7,400 cases reported.
  • The U.S. Navy Ship Comfort arrived in New York City’s harbor. This ship will supply 1,000 more hospital beds.
  • The Northwest Territories have fully restricted travel into the territory for non-residents.
  • Trudeau has announced a credit program of $5 billion dollars to support farmers directly.
  • Approximately 1 million people have applied for unemployment insurance since the package was announced.
  • Grocery stores will now be closed on Sundays in April to allow the workers to have a much needed break each week.
  • Please be aware there are currently scams circulating regarding corona virus related issues. They include: text messages offering free face masks in order to obtain your personal info, emails designed to look like they come from the WHO or the Public Health Agency of Canada, or fake phone calls claiming you have tested positive for the virus and asking for your credit card details. However, the one exception to the rule is the Canadian Government has asked telecommunications companies to send text messages to Canadians who are still outside of the country in an effort to contact them. The messages will look like the image below:
  • On the Island of Montreal only ambulance workers will now be responding to medical calls. Firefighters will no longer be responding due to the risk of COVID-19 and to further limit the spread.
  • As of March 30th, Quebec has a total of 3,430 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 25 deaths. The City of Montreal contributes approximately 1,600 of those positive cases.
  • The province of Quebec has launched a program called Open School, which is an online education platform for students. Open School is an amalgamation of various free educational websites where parents can find resources to help tutor their children. The website includes all subjects from math to science and even gym.
  • Police have set up checkpoints to restrict travel into certain more vulnerable regions of Quebec. These 8 regions include: Bas Saint-Laurent, Saguenay – Lac Saint Jean, Gaspesie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Abitibi – Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord, Nord-du-Québec, Nunavik, and Cree Territories around James Bay.
  • If you think you have COVID-19 remember to call 1-877-644-4545, instead of 811.

March 30th Update:

  • Canadian domestic travel ban for people showing symptoms of COVID-19 is effective today
  • As of Monday morning, Canada has approximately 6,320 confirmed and presumptive cases, unfortunately, this includes 66 deaths. 592 cases of COVID-19 have been resolved
  • There have been two COVID-19 deaths of Canadians abroad. 1 in Japan and 1 in Brazil
  • There are approximately 2,840 cases of COVID-19 in Quebec, including 22 deaths
  • The Quebec government announced $113 million in emergency aid for senior residences
  • Premier François Legault states that the province appears to be “stabilizing” as the rate of new cases per day has decreased
  • Montreal has declared a state of emergency. The Montreal Police will be handing out fines to people and businesses who do not follow the public health directives. They will also be increasing the amount of patrols in the neighbourhoods that are heavily affected by the virus
  • All tourism related lodging has been ordered to close beginning Saturday. However, hotels and campgrounds designated to house “snowbirds” will remain open
  • The premier has advised people to avoid the Montreal and Eastern Townships Regions. This means stopping people from travelling to their weekend cottages

March 28th Update:

March 27th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

The Prime Minister today announced additional new measures to support small businessesdealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic. These measures will help Canadian businesses protect the jobs that Canadians depend on, and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times.

Please see the attached backgrounder for more information.

Support for Business

  • Providing an up to 75% wage subsidy for qualifying employers for up to 3 months;
  • Allowing businesses to defer GST/HST payments, and customs duties until the end of June;
  • Launching the new Canada Emergency Business Account to help provide interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for-profits.
  • And providing SMEs with guaranteed loans to help cover operational costs.
  • Together, they represent an additional $65 billion in direct support, and $30 billion in additional tax deferrals.
  • This builds on our work so far to expand work sharing, launch the Business Credit Availability Program, and stabilize our financial markets.

GST/HST & Duty Deferral

  • Deferral of any payments on GST/HST and customs duties over the next three months.

Wage Subsidy – to come

  • We enhanced the wage subsidy: our Government will provide an up to 75% wage subsidy for qualifying employers, for up to 3 months.

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for profits.
  • These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next couple of months.
  • Valued at a maximum of $40,000 to qualifying businesses, the program will support Canadian employers – including not-for-profits – with $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
  • Loans may be repaid over 2 years with no interest with an option for option for another three years with interest.
  • Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

Loan Guarantee and Co-Lending Program

  • We launched two new programs which will help provide cash flow during this challenging time.

o   EDC will guarantee new operating and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, providing up to $6.25 million.

o   BDC, together with financial institutions, will provide additional liquidity tobusinesses through a new Co-Lending Program providing up to $6.25 million.

Here is a link to find out about additional business support:

March 26th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

Given the extraordinary challenges posed by COVID-19, our government is taking strong and quick action to protect our economy, and the health, safety, and jobs of all Canadians during the outbreak.

We understand that providing constituents, business owners and organizations with the right information on the various supports available is key. You will find below direct links to a webpage aggregating all the information relating to resources available for Canadian businesses, as well as information on the support measures available within the Regional development agencies (RDAs).

RESOURCES FOR CANADIAN BUSINESSES: COVID-19  (click HERE)

The website includes four key considerations for Canadian businesses

Business Credit Availability Program (click HERE)

Call to Action: Canadian manufacturers need help to combat COVID-19 (click HERE)

SUPPORT MEASURES AVAILABLE WITHIN THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES

  • The six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been given more tools and flexibility to help local businesses deal with economic difficulties. They will help them deal with the immediate impact of COVID-19 on their operations by allowing, for example, deferred repayment, advance payments or reimbursement of legitimate claims.
  • All clients of the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will benefit from deferred payments for a period of three months. The RDAs will also waive all associated interest payments. This measure will help to alleviate the immediate pressure on businesses’ finances.
  • We will ensure that grants and contributions awarded to local events, festivals or other initiatives are maintained and take into account the possibility of cancellations due to COVID-19.

Businesses affected by the situation are asked to contact their local economic development officer. Our team at Economic Development and Official Languages is also ready to assist if need be.

The safety and security of all Canadians remains our top priority.

See here for updates to COVID-19 here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

With these steps, as well as measures we will take in the coming days and weeks, our government is continuing to protect the health and safety of Canadians, while ensuring economic resilience throughout the country.

Associated Links

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and businesses

Canada outlines measures to support the economy and the financial sector

March 25th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

We’re currently going through an exceptional time. COVID-19 is affecting everyone, employers and employees alike. At this time when solidarity is critical, our government is working hard to find innovative and accessible solutions. 

Today, we announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for employees affected by COVID-19. Here’s some information on this measure:

  • Available in early April
  • For people who have lost their jobs, face reduced hours or must stay at home because of COVID-19
  • Whether you are EI-eligible or not
  • $2,000/month for up to 4 months

More application details available through My CRA Account and My Service Canada Account starting the first week of April.

March 25th Update: What’s happening in Quebec?

It has been confirmed that every region in the province of Quebec has at least one case of COVID-19. The confirmed cases include paramedics, seniors, the homeless population, among others.

  • Quebec currently has 1,013 confirmed cases and 4 deaths. Furthermore, 67 people are in hospital, including 31 in intensive care. Please note that there is a total of 500 intensive care beds in the province.
  • All non-essential stores with face-to-face contact in the province are closed until April 13th unless otherwise stated.
  • The reason behind not closing the provinces SAQ’s is to avoid overcrowding at the grocery stores. Premier François Legault also reasoned that there would be serious health consequences for heavy drinkers if access was cut off to the SAQ’s.
  • The provinces capital, Quebec City, has laid off 2,000 municipal employees due to the reasoning that there is not enough work for them. Mayor Régis Labeaume said this lay off was a question of fairness for the city and the workers.
  • Unfortunately, a homeless man in Montreal was left to wander the streets after being tested for COVID-19. His tests came back positive. This is sounding alarms for the individuals working in this sector because homeless individuals do not have a safe place to self-isolate in. Also many do not have access to internet or television leaving them unaware of the current situation.
  • 60 Urgences-Santé paramedics, which serve the Laval and Montreal region, are currently off-work and in self-isolation.
  • A private senior’s residence (Résidences Soleil Manoir) in Sherbrooke has had 5 employees and 6 residents tested positive for the virus bringing the total to 11 people. All 6 residents have been hospitalized and the 5 workers are in self-isolation. 1 of the 11 people infected are in intensive care. The remaining residents have been notified to stay in their rooms until further notice to minimize the spread.
  • 5 people, with one being a hospital worker, have tested positive in Kahnawake (Mohawk Community). The hospital has not identified the source of the virus meaning it could be a case of community transmission.
  • Société des Traversiers du Québec (STQ), Quebec’s ferry service, is reducing its voyages.

This morning Ghyslain Forcier, Communication Manager for Lac Brome, has announced a call for action!

March 24th Update: A word from Mayor Burcombe (Lac Brome)

March 24th Update:

Following the recent measures given by the Quebec government, The Town of Brome Lake has closed all parks and public spaces for an undetermined period of time. This new set of closures is to help enforce the ban on large gatherings. It includes the eight green spaces in the territory, the dog park, playgrounds, the skate park, the parking lots at Douglass and Tiffany Beach as well as the parking lot on Argyll Road. Please note that the trail network remains open.

The town is also asking people to not venture out onto the lake as a preventative measure to avoid the need for interventions of the public security teams.

“With the issues we are currently facing, we want to preserve the energy of our firefighters and first responders. A very large part of their work is related to the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. I ask everyone to show good faith and avoid circulating on Brome Lake’s frozen surfaces”, said Brome Lake Mayor Richard Burcombe.

Quebec Premier François Legault recently announced that all schools and daycare facilities will remain closed until May 1st, however, this date is subject to change due to the nature of the crisis we are facing. Many schools have restarted this week hosting online classes and employing all parents to become new homeschool teachers.

Legault also announced the closure of all non-essential businesses within the province. This was deemed effective tonight at midnight. Here are the essential businesses that will be remaining open:

  • All occupations in the health and social services network
  • Pharmacies
  • Dentists (emergency consultations only)
  • Optometry (emergency consultations only)
  • Veterinarians and animal shelters
  • Police services
  • Fire services
  • Correctional services
  • Waste collection
  • Suicide prevention services
  • Maintenance and operation of strategic infrastructure services
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • SAQ’s
  • Hotels
  • Media and telecommunication services
  • Electricians and plumbers

Please visit this link for a more in depth list of essential businesses: https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/here-are-the-essential-businesses-and-services-that-will-stay-open-during-quebec-s-covid-19-shutdown-1.4864805

Restaurants are also open, but only for take-out and delivery service! Remember to support local restaurants at this time, so they are able to reopen their doors when the time comes.

With all this being said, I believe the first responders and all the other volunteers within the Eastern Townships deserve a big thank-you. They are stationed at various locations sanitizing hands and shopping carts, asking people important questions upon entering as well as limiting the number of people in the stores. It is their top priority to protect the health and safety of the citizens. It has also been noticed that various pharmacies and grocery stores have been installing plexiglass shields to help protect the workers. All the shopkeepers, restaurant workers, and public works employees among many more deserve a big thank-you as well for continuing to serve our community during this time.

In other news, the Canadians are the first to declare that they will not be attending the 2020 summer Olympic games in Japan. However, there are talks that the IOC may postpone the Olympics one year to the summer of 2021, but this decision will not be made for at least another month.

Bromont:

  • Police service has suspended the criminal background check service for an indefinite period of time
  • A larger police presence will be seen around the town of Bromont to reinforce the measures in place to stop the spread of the virus
  • All public spaces and parks are closed within the region of Bromont

Dunham:

  • D’entraide is looking for volunteers to help answer the phone to take citizens delivery orders as well as pick up and deliver the orders to people’s homes.

Farnham:

  • All parks, playgrounds, and places of gathering in East Farnham have closed. This includes: La Place du Village, Lucien-Boudreau Park, Barrand Park and the Shack and skating rink behind the municipal office

Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge:

  • If you or someone you know is unable to communicate with friends or family and is need of help during this time, please hang a piece of red fabric on your door knob. Fire fighters will be making rounds twice a day to aid the individuals with the red fabric on their doors with supply deliveries or whatever it maybe that they require.

Stanbridge East:

  • There are some amazing resources on the town website for the following topics: stress, anxiety, and depression associated with the coronavirus, protect yourself and others, and instructions for home isolation.

Stanbridge-Station:

  • The town would like to inform parents about the online teaching aid “Alloprof” for all students to use during this time of homeschooling

The Government of Quebec has also released a great “Self-care Guide”: https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/sante/documents/Problemes_de_sante/19-210-30A_Guide-auto-soins_anglais.pdf?1584985885

March 23rd Update:

Today we would like to provide you with something a little different. Rather than the regular update filled with facts and numbers that often spread more fear and panic, we would like to share the more positive outcomes we have seen. In this time of uncertainty, we are all in the same boat floating in a sea of pandemic, endless closures, interruption to daily life, fear, and isolation, but we must work together, while still keeping our social distance of 1-2 metres of course, to stay afloat. I think it is safe to say our audience is aware of the causes and consequences of the 2019 Novel Corona Virus we all know too well as COVID-19. It continues to spread around the world and unfortunately has travelled vast distances to become an unwanted visitor in our little corner of the world. The situation still remains extremely serious, but here is a little glace into more positive corona virus news coming from our world:

  • There hasn’t been a positive case confirmed in Wuhan, the virus epicentre, in three days. With this news, some of the social distancing measures in China are being lifted.
  • The canals of Venice have become crystal clear due to the decrease in boat traffic. The colourful plants, little fish, and crabs that inhabit the canals are now visible to see by the naked eye.
  • The smog and air pollution in China has partially cleared leaving blue skies. Air quality has also increased in many other countries under quarantine measures.
  • Scientists around the world are working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. They currently have just begun clinical trials. It will most likely be between a year and a year and a half before a vaccine is released to the public. Canada has confirmed that they will be spending $192 million on developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • In Wuhan a total of 71,740 people have been declared cured and one of the hospitals built specifically for the virus has closed because there is no longer a need for it.
  • The Trudeau government has offered an emergency aid of $82 billion for families and small business to allow them to survive this crisis.
  • The Trudeau government has also offered $5000 loans to help people outside of Canada travel back home.
  • Communities are working together to deliver groceries and other supplies to the elderly and other people in quarantine.
  • With no current cases of the Corona virus, Cuba has sent 52 doctors to Italy to help in the hardest hit parts of the North. This is the first time in history the communist country has sent aid to Italy. Cuba has also sent doctors to help in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname, and Grenada.
  • A few breweries in the country and around the world are starting to brew hand sanitizer instead of beer to help meet the worlds demand.
  • A 103 year old grandmother in Wuhan has made a full recovery after being treated for six days in hospital for the virus.
  • Plasma, the clear liquid portion of the blood that remains once the red blood cells are removed, from the newly recovered patients of COVID-19 can help treat others who are infected. This is due to the fact that the plasma of recovered people carries the required antibodies needed to fight off the virus.
  • Live Broadway musicals are being released for your viewing pleasure at home to keep people entertained. This is the same case for many large museums. You are now able to virtually visit museums from the comfort of your couch.

We understand that this is just a snippet of the positive news circulating around the world, but we are sharing what we can to brighten up the days of our community. If you have any positive initiatives that you have seen or are personally doing, please feel free to share them will us. We would be more than happy to talk about them on the radio. I know I have seen a few beautiful rainbows that kids have been colouring floating around the internet. So, let’s all get involved and colour a rainbow!

March 22nd Update:

March 20th Update: A word from Mayor Burcombe (Lac Brome)

March 20th Updates: Town Specific Updates

Bedford:

  • Municipal taxes are now due: June 1st, August 3rd, October 1st
  • Municipal offices are closed to the public
  • The town building inspector is no longer present at the office to respond to calls for an undetermined amount of time

Brigham:

  • The town is taking the following preventative measures:
    • Do not physically visit Town Hall, instead call or send an email
    • The reception desk at town hall is now closed to the public
    • The public library is also closed to the public
    • Any non-essential municipal services are currently suspended

Bromont:

  • All municipal buildings are closed
  • The municipal tax deadlines are being discussed and the decision will be made at the next council meeting. In the meantime, taxes can be paid online on the towns website or by a cheque dropped in the box outside of the Town Hall building
  •  You are still able to request permits through the town website, however, burn permits are not available. All building inspections are currently being suspended
  • All town leisure activities are cancelled. Inscription dates for the spring sessions will be modified

Cowansville:

  • All municipal buildings are closed to the public. You are able to reach town employees by phone at 450-263-0141 or by email.
  • All essential and emergency services are still open

Dunham:

  • All municipal buildings are closed to the public. This includes the Art Centre and the library
  • Indoor sports and Night at the Cle-des-champs gym are cancelled
  • Essential and emergency services remain open
  • Town employees can be reached by the public at 450-295-2418 or by email at info@ville.dunham.qc.ca
  • Municipal taxes can be paid directly on the towns website or on the website of your personal bank

Farnham:

  • All municipal buildings are closed to the public
  • If you wish to make a payment by cheque or to deliver a document it is asked that you slide the envelope into the slot of the municipal building office door
  • Make sure you sign up for the emergency alert system for the town of Farnham
  • For seniors, there are activities available online on the town website and a list of all the businesses that will make deliveries

Frelighsburg:

  • Recyc-Quebec asks people to keep their recyclables at home until a later date
  • Masks, gloves, and wipes must be put into the garbage

Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge:

  • Town Hall, the library, and all other community activities are cancelled
  • Citizens are able to pay their taxes online
  • If you need a permit, please contact Jean Vasseur at 450-244-8833
  • For seniors, the following businesses are delivering: Le Marche Gendreault 450-296-4337, Les Pharmacies Proxim 450-248-2892, Familiprix 450-248-3348, La Papeterie Coupal 450-293-3643
  • Le Journal L’AMI will not be distributed, but you are able to access it online

Pike River:

  • The town hall is closed. If needed, please call or send an email
  • You may continue to leave documents in the box outside the door of Town Hall

Saint Armand:

Stanbridge East:

  • All municipal buildings are closed including: town hall, the library, and the community centre

Sutton:

  • Sign up for the CITAM alerts and mass notification system and the Sutton updates weekly newspaper. 1-844-642-3540
  • If you can follow the Ville de Sutton Facebook Page
  • Town hall is closed to the public, but the employees are meeting daily to discuss emergency plans
  • For seniors, here are some delivery services: IGA Sutton 450-538-2211 and for the Brunet Pharmacy 450-538-0055.
  • If you would like to volunteer you time to help make home deliveries please call the CAB at 450-538-1919 or via their website at www.cabsutton.com
  • During the closure of the library several thousands of books and other resources are available online, free of charge, at simba2.crsbp.qc.ca catalog

March 20th Update: Lyne Bessette (MP) Update on COVID-19

Yesterday the Government of Canada announced more than $82 billion in support for Canadians. Click on the following link for details about Canada’s economic plan:

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

CANADIANS ABROAD

With respect to Canadian nationals abroad, we are currently working on three kinds of support:

  1. Financial assistance ($5,000 in emergency loans)
  2. Cooperation with airlines
  3. Cooperation with the countries concerned in order to deliver consular services given the prevailing emergency conditions.

It is extremely important that you make use of commercial flights while they are still available. If you are abroad and require assistance, contact Global Affairs Canada at sos@international.gc.ca or +1 613 996 8885 (collect if available).

WHERE TO START

Here are a few good starting points to find out how to get the help you need to deal with COVID-19:

4. Visit the government website for information on support available to small business. It will be constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.

5. Download the Canada Business App to find support tailored to your needs and to answer specific questions about COVID-19.

6. See the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Pandemic Preparedness Guide to help businesses prepare for the days and weeks ahead. 

7. Talk to your bank. Canada’s banks are committed to supporting businesses and individuals during these difficult times in a responsible, fair and compassionate way. To help provide businesses with stability in these uncertain times, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is reducing the domestic stability buffer requirement, freeing up more than $300 billion in additional lending capacity for Canadian financial institutions.

Income tax returns

The deadline for filing corporate income tax returns is extended to August 31, 2020. For all individuals, the deadline is extended to June 1, 2020.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

Access to more than $10 billion in financing and credit insurance solutions through the following organizations:

Helping businesses retain employees

To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy. 

  • Waiving the payroll tax for three months by providing a 10% wage subsidy to small businesses
  • A subsidy up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

Increased short-term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.

EI Work Sharing program

Provides benefits to workers who are willing to reduce their normal work schedule due to new circumstances beyond their employer’s control by increasing the duration of eligibility for work sharing agreements to 76 weeks, relaxing eligibility requirements and simplifying the application process. This was announced by the Prime Minister on March 11, 2020. Click on the link to apply.

Self-employed workers and EI

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure will be in effect as of March 15, 2020.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

Starting in April:

  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
    • workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits; and
    • workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • The Emergency Support Benefit administered by the CRA will provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

For parents

Starting in April, parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not, will be able to access the Emergency Support Benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency.

In May, the Canada Child Benefit will be increased only for 2019-2020 by $300 per child.

Here is a table showing the start of these measures:

March 19th Update:

March 18th update:

Brome Lake announced on March 18th, 2020 – The Town of Brome Lake is pleading for the collaboration of ALL age groups, not only the at risk populations, to address the COVID-19 crisis. The town strongly advices citizens to respect the voluntary isolation measure that have been put in place over the past few days. By taking the appropriate precautions and measures we will be able to not only reduce our personal risk of being infected, but the transmission of the virus to other citizens.

“Unfortunately, too many people designated as vulnerable are still wandering around downtown and frequent or various businesses,” said Brome Lake Mayor Richard Burcombe. “It is imperative that we follow government guidelines for voluntary isolation to minimize the spread of the virus. Don’t just think of yourself; think of your loved ones and neighbours.”

Merchants, shop owners, and restaurant personnel are also urged to remain vigilant about the customers they are serving. Merchants, and the other personnel listed above, are important actors in raising awareness and the success of this information campaign.

“Our ability to get out of the current situation will depend on the quality of the collective effort. In the regions, the cities that follow the measures to the letter are those that will fare best,” Mayor Burcombe summarizes.

As of Tuesday evening, the council of Mayors of the MRC Brome-Missisquoi made the decision to close all five ecocentres in the region: Brome Lake, Bromont, Bedford, Farnham, and Sutton. This closure will remain in effect for the month of April.

The Cowansville regional ecocentre (at the Regie) is proposed to reopen on April 1st with an improved service. All Brome-Missisquoi residents will have access to this centre free of charge.

Finally, have you signed up for the public alert system? The Town of Brome Lake intends to use its mass alert and notification system, for the first time, in the near future. You can register for this alert system by calling 1-844-642-3540.

March 17th update:

Brome Lake announced on March 17, 2020 — While the Eastern Townships are currently experiencing one of the highest increases in COVID-19 cases, with the confirmation of six new infected individuals, the Town of Brome Lake is asking its citizens to step up their efforts to avoid accelerating the spread of the virus. The town is once again appealing for collaboration by inviting people to limit their travel and stay home.

“Our merchants are also going through a tough time. Let’s try to encourage them as best we can, while respecting the instructions. They need us,” said Brome Lake Mayor Richard Burcombe.   

The spirit of mutual aid and solidarity between family members and neighbours who are elderly or in a vulnerable situation is encouraged. “Do your part by helping with shopping, for example, always in accordance with the measures in place,” says Mayor Burcombe. 

The Town of Brome Lake also reiterates the government’s appeal to young people through the campaign “Propage l’info, pas le virus”. The campaign preaches to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent from becoming a source of contagion. 

It should also be noted that according to a government measure, first responders in Brome Lake will no longer be asked to travel for a priority 3 intervention (problems deemed non-urgent). This measure will limit their outings and prevent them from being placed in a risky situation. Nothing changes for the other aspects of their work. 

Locally, The Town of Brome Lake continues to closely monitor the evolution of the situation. Measures to support vulnerable people and citizens aged 70 and over are currently being initiated and will be announced as they come available. Daily updates will also be made on the various platforms of CIDI 99.1 FM in regards to all towns within our broadcasting radius. 

In response to the directives issued by the Direction de la Santé Publique, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all town halls announced their closure as of Tuesday, March 17, for an undetermined period of time. This means that all in-person meetings scheduled from March 17th onward with any of your towns employees are canceled. 

In most municipalities an emergency number has been announced for citizens to use and most municipalities should still be using e-mail and other online services, like websites, to communicate with municipal employees and the public. This measure is in addition to those announced on Friday, which includes the closure of all town community centres in the region causing the interruption of all courses and activities previously offered. It should be noted, however, that CLSC’s and blood collection clinics remain accessible. Blood is desperately needed at this moment, but it is advised not to give blood if you have suffered from COVID-19 within the last 40 days. 

“Brome Lake is one of the communities with the highest average age in Quebec,” said Mayor Richard Burcombe.

It has been asked, by all municipalities of the MRC, that citizens stay home and restrict all outings as much as possible. The municipal administrations are also in early warning mode following meetings in the past few days. It is important to know that the civil protection plan, that the Eastern Township’s mandates, covers all risks, including those associated with a pandemic, and the measures to deal with it. 

Town of Brome Lake Press Release:

General information

In accordance with the orders of both the government of Canada and Quebec, all municipalities are taking the necessary and preventive measures in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes the following preventives measures:

  • Almost all Town Halls are closed. Please visit your municipality’s website for more information. Most municipalities have an active emergency service if needed.
  • All essential services are staying open. This includes pharmacies and grocery stores;
  • All group activities are cancelled that includes:
    • All Town related activities
    • Libraries, Gyms, schools, etc..
    • Many local businesses are now providing delivery services to the homes of elderly people or those in quarantine.

General rules ordered by the Government of Quebec and Canada are the following:

  • Reduce all non-essential contacts with others;
  • When necessary, maintain a distance of 1 to 2 meters with others;
  • Stay at home, except when necessary, for people of all ages;
  • Be in preventive quarantine for 14 days after returning from a trip;
  • Be in preventive quarantine for 14 days if you or a member of your entourage have flu or cold symptoms;
  • Do not go to the grocery store, pharmacy or any other business if you should be in preventive quarantine;
  • Wash your hands regularly;
  • Always cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.

COVID-19 Timeline:

  • On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.
  • On March 9, 2020, Canada confirmed its first death related to COVID-19.
  • On February 20, 2020, Canada confirms its first case related to travel outside mainland China.
  • On February 9, 2020, Canada expands COVID-19 screening requirements for travellers returning from affected areas to 10 airports across 6 provinces.
  • On January 30, 2020, the WHO declares the outbreak of COVID-19 a public health event of international concern.
  • On January 25, 2020, Canada confirms its first case of COVID-19 related to travel in Wuhan, China.
  • On January 22, 2020, Canada implements screening requirements related to COVID-19 for travellers returning from China to major airports in Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
  • On January 15, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada activates the Emergency Operation Centre to support Canada’s response to COVID-19.
  • On January 7, 2020, China confirmed COVID-19.
  • On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The virus did not match any other known viruses.

Resources

World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/

WHO Map of current cases: https://bit.ly/2ITgo2l

Quebec Government. : https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/

MRC Website: https://mrcbm.qc.ca/en/index.php

Find your Municipality here:

Abercorn: http://www.municipalite-abercorn.org/ (Latest update: March 17th)

Bedford C: http://cantondebedford.ca/ (Latest update: March 18th)

Bedford V: https://ville.bedford.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 17th)

Bolton-Ouest: https://www.municipalitedeboltonouest.com/ (No information)

Brigham: http://brigham.ca/ (Latest update: March 18th)

Town of Bromont: https://www.bromont.net/ (Latest update: March 17th)

Cowansville: http://www.ville.cowansville.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 19th)

Dunham: http://www.ville.dunham.qc.ca/fr/ (Latest update: March 17th)

East Farnham: http://www.municipalite.eastfarnham.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 18th)

Farnham: http://www.ville.farnham.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 15th)

Frelighsburg: https://frelighsburg.com/ (Latest update: March 17th)

Brome lake: https://ville.lac-brome.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 18th)

Notre Dame de Stanbridge: https://notredamedestanbridge.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 16th)

Pike River: https://www.pikeriver.com/ (Latest update: March 18th)

St-Armand: http://www.municipalite.saint-armand.qc.ca/ (Latest update: March 16th)

Saint-Ignace-de-Stanbridge: http://www.saint-ignace-de-stanbridge.com/ (Latest update: March 16th)

Sainte-Sabine: http://www.saintesabine.ca/ (Latest update: March 16th)

Stanbridge East: http://www.stanbridgeeast.ca/en/index.php (Latest update: March 15th)

Stanbridge Station: http://www.stanbridge-station.ca/ (Leads to Gouv. of Quebec Website)

Sutton: https://sutton.ca/en/ (Latest update: March 17th)

Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

For more information, call the Government of Québec at 1-877-644-4545. This is a COVID-19 specific hotline. Use this number as opposed to Info Santé 811.

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