The social and economic well-being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is at the forefront of legislation being introduced today in an urgent sitting of the House of Assembly to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The legislative amendments complement the other initiatives that have been actioned to support residents, families, and businesses. Amendments introduced today:
- Provide employees with protections from losing their job if they must take time away from work as a result of COVID-19. Additional information is outlined in the backgrounder below.
- Ensure tenants of rental properties cannot be evicted if they have lost income resulting from COVID-19 and not able to pay rent.
- Extend interim supply to September 30, 2020, in the event that the House of Assembly is disrupted into June 2020. This ensures that existing government services such as health care can continue.
- Introduce $200 million in contingency funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 and reduced oil prices.
- Provide long-term borrowing authority of $2 billion. This will allow for ongoing government operations, as well as the ability to respond to current revenue volatility.
- Authorize the temporary variation of deadlines and time periods which an activity needs to be done such as annual reports and audit reviews.
- Include changes to the Hydro Corporation Act, 2007 to authorize additional borrowing capacity to protect against a potential reduction in revenues as a result of COVID-19.
The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with Opposition Party Leaders – Ches Crosbie and Alison Coffin, will be available to the media after the House of Assembly concludes to discuss today’s session.
As a safety precaution, all media covering the availability will join by teleconference only. To participate and for further information regarding the video feed, please contact Jillian Hood (709-687-2501, email@example.com). For quality purposes, media calling in are asked to use a land line if at all possible.
“This an extraordinary time in our province and around world. It has never been more important to work together as legislators to advance legislation that supports the social and economic well-being of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Residents also need to do their part and follow the medical advice – stay home and stay safe.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
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Office of the Premier
Amendments to the Labour Standards Act
The amendments provide for a leave of absence without pay and job protection where an employee is unable to work for the following reasons:
- The employee has returned from travel and must self-isolate;
- The employee is under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19;
- The employee is in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19;
- The employee is acting in accordance with public health direction;
- The employer directs the employee not to work due to COVID-19;
- The employee needs to provide care to a person for a reason related to COVID-19 such as a school or day-care closure; or
- The employee is directly affected by travel restrictions and cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to the province.
The amendments also make it clear that the employee will not be required to provide a medical note if they take the leave.