Fenestration Review

News
CORONAVIRUS ROUNDUP


June 1, 2020
By Patrick Flannery

As COVID-19 becomes the “new normal” and our businesses adjust, the rate of news is slowing down. Plus, we’re all getting a bit sick of reading and hearing about this all the time. We’re going to back off the COVID updates to a Friday roundup of the week’s developments.

TODAY’S NEWS

Fenestration Canada’s Summer Conference is going ahead as an online event today.

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.

 


PODCASTS

Fenestration Conversations COVID Special: Get It Delivered – Eamonn O’Rourke, RenoRun

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

Fenestration Conversations COVID Special: Bonny Koabel on the latest changes to government SME assistance programs

Bonny Koabel’s Pandemic Relief Update #4

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

Fenestration Canada COVID-19 Hub

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.

Great news segment from CTV Vancouver featuring Anton Van Dyk from Centra Windows explaining measures his teams are taking on installation sites. Good job, Anton!

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.

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

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

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 window and door 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

Scroll down for older news

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.

Some economists are seeing signs of improvement in the housing market. Others are predicting double-digit drops in prices in 2020. The moral of the story is that, as usual, no one has the slightest idea what is going on with the housing market.

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

Fenestration Canada is lobbying for energy-efficient building policies to help members recover from the pandemic. Could be a smart way to kill two birds with one stone. As long as you have to shovel money into the economy anyway, why not encourage better buildings and fight climate change at the same time?

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

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

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

Fenestration Canada has posted a handy PDF sheet with guidelines for installers and customers.

The Canadian Real Estate Association sees activity drop around 56 per cent in April.

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

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

Fenestration Canada’s Ontario Committee and the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada are calling on Queen’s Park to allow residential renovations to go forward with appropriate health and safety protocols. There’s a form letter to MPPs that everyone is encouraged to sign and send.

Fenestration Canada has released the agenda for its online Summer Conference. Test your skills on Trivia Night…do you know more than Fenestration Canada’s technical director?

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.

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

SAWDAC has launched a petition calling on the federal government to save jobs and the environment with its promised $40,000 home renovation loan program.

FeneTech has taken its annual user conference virtual for the first time ever.

Clera Windows is being careful, offering video consultations.

Jeld-Wen has some advice on designing healthier indoor environments.

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 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

Ontario expands list of allowable construction activities

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

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

Vaughan, Ont., Chamber of Commerce YouTube presentation tomorrow on CEWS, CECRA

Canadian Construction Association webinar to address insurance losses

Ontario lays out phases of reopening

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

Fenestration Conversations COVID Special: Bonny Koabel on the latest changes to government SME assistance programs

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

Centra Windows thanks health care providers

Victoria Residential Builders Association calls for home renovation credit to fuel recovery post-COVID

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

FGIA transitions Summer Conference to online event

B.C. real estate association predicts slow 2020, strong rebound

Tiger Stop offering consultations on changing shop floor process

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

Ply Gem offering downloadable fun signs for windows

Veka providing PVC for hospital cable trunking

Fensterbau looking ahead to 2022

Residential construction resumes in Quebec

Money available to help Ontario firms retool to produce PPE

Montreal Manufacturing Technology Show postponed

Construction and manufacturing may recover relatively quickly once pandemic measures lifted

Ontario emergency order amended to allow release of construction lien holdbacks

Credit unions able to access CEBA funding

“The people I have to lay off are friends”

April 17

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

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

Veka UK mixing plant to provide PVC for temporary hospital projects

Innisfail shows spirit with window art

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

Grim outlook for residential architecture in U.S.

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

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

Richelieu comments on pandemic response

Pella launches virtual window-buying service

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

Windows part of keeping Canadians connected

Pollard’s COVID blog provides insight to our industry’s experience

Centra Windows outlines safety policy

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

Arcola Building Supplies has come up with a novel use for All Weather’s products

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

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

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

Golden Windows to reduce operations:

“In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada,
Golden Windows has been taking various precautionary measures and adjusting our operations to ensure the health
and safety of our employees, vendors and customers. At this time, we have reached the decision to operate on a very limited scale while ceasing plant operations from Monday, March 30, 2020 to Friday, April 10, 2020, with our full return on Monday, April 13, 2020. To our valued customers – if you have any questions related to an order, delivery, or service, please contact your sales representative. Also, you can continue to process your payments as always. We are taking this situation seriously and want to ensure that we all remain healthy and safe. May you experience health and peace during these trying times!”

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

CCOHS makes courses and publications available to help workplaces

March 25

Fenestration Canada launches COVID-19 Hub

March 24

Quebec window and door industry ordered to shut down

Ontario window and door companies may remain open

March 20

Pandemic expert advises fenestration industry to expect more government orders