Glass Canada

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CORONAVIRUS ROUNDUP


June 1, 2020
By Patrick Flannery

We’ll update this page regularly with important news and resources concerning the COVID-19 pandemic for the Canadian architectural glass industry. Stay safe, everyone.

TODAY’S NEWS

Nice overview of the BC construction sector’s response to COVID in the Vancouver Sun. Big takeaway: WorkSafeBC has allowed only one claim for COVID contracted on a construction site. Numbers around the country appear to be similar – Ontario has less than six construction-related COVID claims.

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The April building permit statistics are out. They are not good. Average 17 per cent decline in April in permits issued – the largest month-to-month decline measured since the 2008 financial crisis.

Scroll down for older news


PODCASTS

Glass Talk COVID Special: Get It Delivered – Eamonn O’Rourke, RenoRun

Glass Talk COVID Special: How Have We Done and Where Are We Going – Suzanne Bernier, SB Crisis Consulting

Glass Talk COVID Special: Bonny Koabel Government Assistance Update #5

Bonny Koabel’s Pandemic Relief Update #4

It’s not the Heat…: Controlling humidity for healthier environments with Alex McGowan from WSP

Corona Coverage – A look at credit insurance with Carl Pickett and Roch Simard from AU Group

Support for your Business – Bonny Koabel, AKR Consulting

Paying for Pandemic UPDATE – Bonny Koabel, AKR Consulting

Preventing pandemic pandemonium – Suzanne Bernier

Paying for pandemic – Bonny Koabel


RESOURCES

Canadian Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Resilience page

MNP consultants’ business advice page

CME resource page for manufacturers

Weekly webinar from CFIB

CCA webinar series

Government resources pages for businesses

Canada

B.C.

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

P.E.I.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Yukon

N.W.T.

Nunavut

Business/financial assistance

Regional

Links to the regional agencies delivering federal funds to assist business.

National

Health

 Travel


OLDER NEWS

May 28

Fenestration BC has done a great job keeping members connected and apprised of critical pandemic information. Here’s its latest update on developments in BC.

If your staff’s lift operating certifications are running out, IPAF has online options for them to renew their training and certificates.

Officials in the Toronto area are indicating manufacturing plants and warehouses appear to be at higher risk for outbreaks, perhaps due to numbers of people clustering indoors.

Here’s a chance to hear from some top experts on their predictions for the economic recovery from the lockdown and advice on how to get your business ready. Q&A session to follow the webinar.

Ontario’s suspension of time-of-use electricity pricing is supposed to expire Sunday. Maybe Doug Ford will have something to announce about this today…

May 27

If you’re going after the big stuff when the infrastructure spending starts flowing, you’re going to need access to surety credit. The Canadian Construction Association will host a webinar June 11 to advise you on how surety providers will evaluate your company. Especially important right now when your balance sheet may not be looking so hot.

It was only a matter of time. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope has created modular glass boxes and screens that protect public-facing workers. Maybe I’ll get one for my front door: SecureOne

Facebook Canada has launched a bunch of supports for small businesses…including direct grants! Don’t know how easy it will be to get the grants, but one thing everyone has access to is the advice and help setting up an online presence and e-commerce site. Now, I know everyone in the glass industry is a digital wizard and doesn’t need any help with internet stuff, but I just thought I’d post it anyway…

Trudeau wants provinces to require employers to offer 10 paid sick days per year as part of the COVID “recovery phase”…

…the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is not a fan of making this permanent.

Here is Dan Kelly, CFIB president, talking about it:

Dan Kelly on BNN

May 26

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Salesforce to offer $10,000 COVID relief grants to 62 lucky small businesses. Applications open Monday.

The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program opened for applications yesterday. Did your landlord apply?

BC Building Trades is calling for a public inquiry into COVID protection protocols on construction sites. It’s executive director pointed to a “culture of non-compliance.”

Alberta jobsites are legally exempt from the 50-person gathering limit but industry leaders are saying measures will be taken to prevent too many workers clustering together.

Some voices in Nova Scotia’s construction industry are calling for a pause as cases in the province start to mount.

May 25

Ontario is offering $600 grants to help new apprentices pay for tools and forgiving $10 million in existing loans under the Loans for Tools program.

The Ontario Construction Secretariat has released the results of its early-May survey of ICI contractor attitudes and results. Takeaway: the effects of the lockdown have been widespread, severe, and may impact some companies permanently.

Dan Kelly from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses explains recent changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account. What would we do without him?

Dan also tweets out this message that really needs to make the rounds:

May 22

The AIA’s architectural billings index recorded its largest-ever decline in April. Um…have a nice weekend?

The Ontario Construction Secretariat is promising to release results of its latest survey of business conditions on Monday. They’ll appear here. Best consumed with a stiff drink.

Nearly a third of Canadian businesses are now fully open, according to this report. Alberta has the highest rate of open businesses, while Ontario has the lowest.

Ottawa has entirely lifted payroll requirements for CEBA loan eligibility. It’s initial floor of $50,000 payroll eliminated many businesses that pay through dividends, hire contractors or work alone.

The CECRA rent-relief program opens for applications on May 25. Of the various programs announced in this pandemic, this one is getting the most negative attention. It’s hard to see why landlords would volunteer to fill out a bunch of paperwork in order to receive 75 per cent of the rent they are owed…unless it meant the difference between keeping the tenant or not.

 

May 20

From the files of great online content being offered during the pandemic: DipTech webinar on calculating the energy performance of fritted glass.

CSA says it is doing special inspections and field evaluations again.

Ottawa will redirect planned assistance for provincial infrastructure projects to support COVID-preparedness infrastructure.

CFIB is happy with Ottawa’s plan to expand the CEBA to take in more small businesses.

May 19

Trudeau has announced the federal CEWS wage subsidy will extend through the summer.

Here’s a thorough discussion of legal issues facing Canadian construction companies during the pandemic. Delays, force majeure, essential services and more.

May 15

Ontario has lifted its restrictions on construction activities. Get back to work, safely.

Ontario has posted a list of PPE suppliers for businesses opening up. It’s a great resource, but you have to make an agreement with the Queen herself before you log in! (First line on the terms of service.)

May 14

Alberta has eased requirements for COR safety audits and extended certification periods. It’s almost as if some red tape is unnecessary…

Here’s an extensive report on the pandemic’s impact to Q1 Canadian construction from the Canadian Institute of Quality Surveyors. Takeaways: workloads down modestly, expectations down sharply, margins likely to drop.

Ontario to lift “essential” restrictions on construction: report.

MasterCard is offering free cybersecurity assessments to small businesses.

Need something to spray down equipment, vehicles and your shop? Check out Larson’s electrostatic sprayer.

When it comes to lockdowns, there are as many opinions as there are people. Here’s a video from Journal of Commerce showing what leading voices around the industry had to say.

 

May 12

The International Powered Access Federation will host a webinar advising how to minimize COVID-19 exposure when using aerial equipment.

The Canadian Construction Association has released a recording of its very detailed webinar on the various financial assistance programs available for construction companies. Believe me, you will know how to apply after this one.

Export Development Canada is making loans available to larger companies ($50 to $300 million revenues) that can’t access finance through their regular channels.

Quebec has opened up commercial construction sites and developers are happy. But there’s little hope of getting back on schedule.

Experts warn that forehead thermometer checks are not enough to ensure workers don’t have COVID-19.

McMillan is hosting a webinar Friday to discuss construction sector recovery. There’s some big hitters on the panel.

May 8

Provincial workers compensation boards say they are only allowing claims for COVID infections if the workplace put the workers at increased risk for getting the virus. And you don’t even have to report if the worker’s case doesn’t seem to fit the criteria. But whether workers were put at risk will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. If someone comes down with COVID in your company, are you better safe than sorry? One thing is for sure: PPE, distancing and handwashing are absolutely essential to protect your operation against claims.

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association has joined the Canadian Construction Association to lobby Ottawa to give contractors support for costs incurred on delayed federally funded projects.

Architects from around the world chime in in this Canadian Architect article on how the pandemic might permanently change how we think about cities and development. The fear of a return to suburban sprawl is palpable.

The construction season is going ahead in Saskatoon.

Trudeau is extending the CEWS through June.

Some people are not happy with Quebec reopening.

May 6

Do you love numbers? Here’s StatCan’s raw pandemic data since January.

Surrey. B.C., city council has approved an impressive slate of assistance measures for residents, including cuts to municipal development fees. How does it compare to what your jurisdiction is doing?

B.C. is going to allow municipalities to hold public hearings online to make sure no one loses the opportunity to scream about a proposed development in their area.

Quebec has pushed back the date for Montreal retail stores opening amid an increase in hospitalizations, but construction and manufacturing are still set to go on May 11.

Expiry of working-at-heights certificates in Ontario has been pushed back one year. If you got your certificate between February and August 2017, it is good for four years instead of three. In other words, you don’t have to update it this year.

May 5

The Ontario Construction Secretariat has released results of a survey of COVID impacts on ICI contractors. It’s a chilling read – 87% of respondents say their work has declined by at least half, 19% say they are shut down entirely.

CFIB welcomes the start of reopening but praises a measured approach.

A step-by-step guide to applying for CEWS from the Canadian Business Resilience Network.

B.C. extends its temporary layoff period to 16 weeks.

May 4

The NGA is offering its MyGlassClass online courses for architectural glass workers for free in the month of May.

The Winnipeg Construction Association will host a webinar May 6 on Implications of COVID-19 for the Surety Industry.

Something to keep in mind when trying to keep your staff safe: female workers can struggle with poorly fitting PPE.

Lots of horror stories circulating of landlords refusing to participate in the CECRA commercial rent relief program. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has posted a template letter you can use to request CECRA rent relief from your landlord.

New Brunswick may have this thing licked.

Newfoundland goes a second day with no new cases, too.

May 1

Apogee business update

Ontario relaxes some restrictions on construction

Ontario guidelines for manufacturing operations

Alberta allowing utility payment deferrals until June 18, no service cutoffs

B.C. emergency benefit for workers open today

Manufacturing and construction exempted from north Saskatchewan travel restrictions

Quebec premier warns opening could be pushed back if situation worsens

New Brunswick won’t open border with PEI until July

Nova Scotia state of emergency extended through May 17

April 30

Quebec construction and manufacturing to open May 11, limits on workers allowed on shop floors

Lawyer’s podcast addresses construction issues with holdbacks, delays and more

On-Site speaks to Mary Van Buren, CCA president, on its efforts to guide policy for the reopening

More details of CECRA program

Many concerns about CECRA – some landlords saying they will not participate

B.C. to release reopening plan next week

Real stimulus spending on infrastructure will be needed following pandemic

April 29

ASTM free webinar on hurricane standards May 6

Lawyers across the country weigh in on force majeure and COVID effect on construction

CFIB survey shows some improvement in SME outlook

StatCan report on impact to businesses

Chamber offers five key considerations for opening economy

April 28

Canadian Construction Association open letter to MPs asking for relief from delay clauses in federal contracts

Canadian Construction Association webinar to address insurance losses

Ontario lays out phases of reopening

Quebec to begin reopening May 4

Skills Ontario launches Wacky Hair challenge

Over 10,000 businesses apply for CEWS on first day

April 27

NGA offering free webinar for fenestration industry on surviving COVID crisis

Glass Talk COVID Special: Bonny Koabel Government Assistance Update #5

Ottawa to coordinate national economic opening plan

Businesses need to consider tax implications of CEWS

Federal wage subsidy open for applications

No date for Ontario opening

April 23

CSA hosting webinar describing online testing and inspection options

IAP program supports tech startups ineligible for CEWS

Saskatchewan to begin reopening May 4

Construction, COVID-19 and force majeure in Quebec

CSA hosting webinar describing online testing and inspection options

Manitoba offering no-interest forgivable loans to small businesses not eligible for federal relief

Tax lawyer says employer reimbursement for work-from-home computer not a taxable benefit during pandemic

Most businesses in Toronto say they would close in three months without rent relief

April 22

Koabel’s overview of federal relief programs

U.S. importers reporting financial hardship to get relief from duties and fees

Tiger Stop offering consultations on changing shop floor process

American Architectural Billing Index records largest-ever monthly decline

Nova Scotia small business grant deadline for application is Friday

Manitoba WCB returns surplus to employers

CEWS calculator is live online

CEWS money will not flow until May

Physical distancing posters for Ontario construction sites

CCA webinar on worksite health protocols happening tomorrow

April 21

Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Pearson airport report on efforts to maintain supply chains

Federal money to flow to regional development agencies

Canadian Security upcoming webinar on cybersecurity for at-home workers

Vancouver Regional Construction Association calls for stimulus infrastructure spending

Ontario health authorities suggesting growth in cases may have peaked

Ontario premier muses about gradual reopening

Great slideshow with images of construction sites adapted for pandemic safety

Cash flow, recession, decline in consumer spending top list of SME worries in CFIB survey

April 20

Ontario emergency order amended to allow release of construction lien holdbacks

Money available to help Ontario firms retool to produce PPE

Montreal Manufacturing Technology Show postponed

Feds increase scrutiny of foreign takeovers to protect firms hit by pandemic

Construction and manufacturing may recover relatively quickly once pandemic measures lifted

“The people I have to lay off are friends”

April 17

Feds offer relief from pension solvency payments

Canada’s Building Trades Unions expresses satisfaction with pension relief

Bumpy road back for manufacturing

Surprise growth in February manufacturing sales

CFIB weighs in on federal assistance programs

Canadian Construction Association video outlining resources they have

Public Healthy Agency’s COVID-19 dashboard

Ivey interview with Goldy Hyder, CEO of BCC, on crisis leadership

Federal backgrounder on CERB including recent changes

Construction Record podcast compares COVID response across country

Quebec construction companies gearing up to start again next week

 

April 16

Message from Janice Yglesias, FGIA executive director

Webinar on healthy buildings upcoming from Saint-Gobain SageGlass

CSC Toronto weighs in on all things COVID

Tubelite sews masks

Toronto Construction Association CEO sees muddy waters ahead for contract disputes

CCOHS offering free industry-specific pandemic health tip sheets

CCA webinar: Managing your workforce remotely

Trudeau announces assistance for commercial landlords who lower or waive rent

Saskatchewan launches Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Program

April 15

CERB to be extended to seasonal workers, workers with reduced earnings and workers whose EI has run out

Trudeau says provinces, Ottawa, in talks to open economy in stages

BC’s home renovators try to keep working

Ontario extends state of emergency to May 12

Ivey business school releases video on leadership in crisis

April 14

U.S. architects taking a business hit, predicting worse

List of U.S. construction projects accepting bids

Quebec reopens residential construction

What banks are doing to help

How to hold a professional video conference

Saskatchewan premier hoping to announce plan next week to re-open province

Proposal from the TABIA for rent relief for small businesses

Advice from CCOHS on bringing workplace together even when apart

COVID may delay construction on three Calgary schools

Toronto councillor calls for residential construction halt

Halifax Examiner calls open construction sites a “loophole”

April 13

Union orders workers to walk off sites in Massachusetts

Ottawa passes wage subsidy legislation with upgrades for small businesses

Changes from earlier proposals (per Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses) :

  • Employers who qualify in one month qualify for eight weeks of support
  • Businesses may compare March 2019 OR average Jan./Feb. 2020 revenues to determine revenue decline
  • Accrual or cash accounting may be used to compare revenues
  • Only 15 per cent reduction in March required to qualify. Threshold for April/May is still 30 per cent.
  • Business owner and family member salaries are covered IF they are paid through usual payroll system and not through dividends
  • More details

Canada Emergency Business Account loans to become available Thursday

BC workers concerned about life in remote work camps

Saskatchewan offering emergency support to small businesses

Ontario extends emergency orders to April 23

Quebec premier suggests construction could resume sooner than other sectors

Approaches to construction shutdown vary across the country

April 9

Apogee reports most operations continuing

Major banks accepting Canada Emergency Business Account online applications today

Canadian Chamber of Commerce calls on parliament to swiftly pass CEWS

Trudeau warns anti-pandemic measures may be “new normal” until vaccine available

Federal minister of small business video with Chamber of Commerce discussing COVID impacts, aid

Calgary construction workers keeping it clean

Saskatchewan construction industry donates masks to health authorities

Municipalities, construction groups concerned about cost overruns on federal infrastructure projects

Ontario extending hours, repealing noise bylaws, bringing on inspectors to accelerate essential construction

April 8

Saint-Gobain outlines COVID measures, discards 2020 shareholder guidance

Vitro not anticipating supply chain issues

Guardian says product still crossing borders

Hanover reporting business as usual for now

Construction continues in Thunder Bay despite concerns

P.E.I. acts fast to modify jobsite guidelines

Osler law firm white paper explaining provincial essential services orders

Ottawa updates, clarifies and expands Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Changes, per Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses:

1. Small firms will be able to compare gross revenue against either (a) the same month in 2019 or (b) January and February 2020. This will help new and rapidly growing firms gain access to the wage subsidy.

2. Only a 15% gross revenue decline will be needed in March (30% for April and May). Now firms that had a decent first half of March (but were hit in the second half) will be able to use the wage subsidy.

3. Firms will be able to choose between cash and accrual accounting to determine the 30% drop. This will help many firms whose gross revenue may look good on paper during the 3 months, but may not have the $ to pay wages.

The government has also clarified that pre-covid wages will be based on average weekly remuneration from Jan 1 to Mar 15, 2020.

Canada Post offering free emergency mail forwarding

CSA has made several workplace health-related standards free to download

April 7

Indoor humidity may affect virus transmission

CERB takes over 300,000 applications on first day

Ottawa, banks, near deal on small business loans

ConstructConnect lists delayed projects by province

Saskatchewan Construction Association wants work to continue

Manitoba to set up temporary hospitals

Construction concerns in New Brunswick

Sites working in Nova Scotia at a slower pace

April 6

CERB portal now open

Worker on Vancouver airport expansion site tests positive

Saskatchewan Construction Association collecting information on affected projects

Manitoba announces tax and payment deferrals

Manitoba construction orgs put guidelines in place for construction sites

CCQ list of continuing and suspended services

Difficulty with COVID safety on Atlantic sites

Health Canada guidelines for disinfecting workplaces

CD Howe institute calls for support for asset-based finance industry

Canadian Chamber of Commerce launches business conditions survey

Mixed reaction from small business to wage subsidy

April 3

Ontario shuts down commercial and industrial construction

EDC chief economist predicts terrible recession, even stronger recovery

What’s an essential service? Ottawa’s definition…

Toronto passes bylaw mandating social distancing in public – $5,000 fine

April 2

Ontario Association of Architects posts document outlining best practices for COVID-related construction shutdowns

6.6 million Americans file for unemployment benefits in one week

More details of federal wage subsidy released

Ontario considering shutting down construction sites

Quebec construction workers don’t want to lose construction holiday

Canada revenue agency hiring in anticipation of avalanche of benefits claims

WorkSafe BC releases safety guidelines for construction

April 1

C.R. Laurence donates PPE

Diamond Schmitt using 3D printer to produce face shield visors

Manitoba seeking businesses to provide supplies

Ontario state of emergency extended through April 13

Canadian Construction Association webinar tomorrow giving economic outlook for construction industry

CFIB reporting Canada Post will waive fees for forwarding business mail to home addresses. Nothing on the Canada Post site about this yet.

Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development warns jobsites will be shut down if they don’t sanitize toilets.

 

March 31

Manitoba orders non-essential businesses closed, manufacturing and construction exempted

BC Construction Association calls for input to inform lobbying efforts

NGA publishes pandemic best-practices document for glaziers

Feds extend wage subsidy eligibility to any company seeing 30% revenue drop

Canadian Construction Association best practices for construction sites during pandemic

Mass gathering limits

BC – 50

Alberta – 10

Saskatchewan – 10

Manitoba – 10

Ontario – 5

Quebec – 2

New Brunswick – 10

Nova Scotia – 5

P.E.I. – 5

Newfoundland and Labrador – not specified “avoid crowds”

 

March 30

AXYZ invites fabricators to group making PPE and other COVID-fighting products

Ontario updates construction site guidelines

Ontario bans gatherings of more than five people

O’Leary predicts three-month shutdown, gives coping and investment advice 

Ontario keeping highway service centres open for truckers

March 27

AGMCA cancels Member Appreciation Days

Guardian says support available via video conference:

SNC Lavalin withdraws 2020 financial outlook

The cure is not worse than the disease: Bloomberg

Small business group petitioning for government support

Statement from Canadian Construction Association

 

March 26

Feds to send $2,000 per month to support laid off and sick workers

WorkSafe BC to enforce social distancing on construction sites

Alberta Construction Association urges government to keep sites open

Ontario WSIB to allow payment deferral

Quebec construction union wants to keep working with safety measures

 

March 24

Quebec shuts down most glass industry activities

Ontario glass companies may remain open

 

March 20

Pandemic expert advises glass industry to expect more government orders

 

March 17

CSC Toronto chapter cancels upcoming events until further notice

 

March 16

C.R. Laurence announces changes to will-call service practices

 

March 11

Top Glass rescheduled for Sept. 29 at new venue