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Hello to all recipients of the ECAO E-News!  I hope all are staying safe and optimistic as we come together as a community to get through this pandemic.  We are trying to keep you informed and pass along credible, substantiated, and timely information to assist all of you in navigating through our battle with COVID 19.  To that end, I ask that you check our website frequently (if not daily), as well as having a look at all communications from ECAO- membership e-mail blasts, our E-News, the website, and social media.

As a preface to the valuable information contained in this edition of the E-News following, I simply want to share some positives from the past couple of weeks.

  • Leading the industry in terms of collaboration, ensuring the safety of all our people, and sharing information has been the partnership of the ECAO & IBEW/CCO.  Being in this together has seen us all step up.  Thank you to all of our members and partners!
  • A number of our members moved quickly to offer PPE to a local hospital, including an ECA Ottawa contractor, as profiled below.
  • Our work in building a solid relationship with MOL the past year is proving very useful and fruitful in today’s climate.  This has been a joint effort, through JEPP, with IBEW/CCO and Rubicon.
  • This proved to be the perfect time to have Tom join the team and put his Health & Safety expertise at work for our members with his quick and expert analysis, advice, and document preparation.

Please remember the importance of routines, such as:

  • Have a routine: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, eat at regular times,
  • Conscious breathing (pranayama): practice taking a few breaths, fully conscious, for a few minutes each day,
  • Gratitude: every day, at the same time, take a minute to recognize what you are grateful for,
  • Meditation: at the same time, every day, take a few minutes to still your mind, and
  • Reflection: when you feel agitated, take a step back and aim at reflecting on your thoughts, your feelings, and your emotions at this moment.

These are but a few suggestions proffered by many mental health experts.

I leave you with the following quote from Lao Tzu:

“ The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  

Let’s take those steps together!  Take care of each other and take care of yourself.



ECAO- JEPP 2020 Annual General Meeting September 16 & 17

ECAO wants to be optimistic that our Annual General Meeting will proceed this fall, but as we all know the current events may cause changes to scheduled events. In the meantime, we will continue to be hopeful that by September we can begin to regain a semblance of normalcy and we can look forward to meeting in Ottawa. 


Join us in Canada’s Capital for our 2020 Annual General Meeting. Ottawa is a welcoming and beautiful city is a place where summer is a season of celebration, and the stories of Canada are revealed around every corner. This year our theme is “Canadiana.” This city is a uniquely beautiful place: an urban center on the edge of nature where you can enjoy the great outdoors — just outside your hotel room, and nearby in the surrounding countryside. There’s an easy cosmopolitan vibe here, and Ottawa is known for being both welcoming and walkable. 

COVID-19 Resources

Welcome to Week 3! As we all trying to figure out the new normal, ECAO would like to share a gist of the last 2 weeks. We are making sure to reach out to our members and employees, the safety of our community and their families is our utmost priority.

Below mentioned are the links to various resources ECAO Members can access:

COVID-19 Provincial, Federal as well as Industry Updates:

COVID-19 Documents:

*To access the documents, members will require log-in credentials which can be acquired by emailing Kamakshi at

A short summary of our events:

  • ECAO 2020 Annual Industry Conference- Postponed, no dates yet
  • ECAO 2020 Safety Awards- Cancelled, the award will be presented at the AGM
  • Future Leader Advisory Council (FLAC) Initial Meeting- Postponed, date to be announced
  • ECAO 2020 Day at the Races- Postponed, date to be announced




Billions coming to cover 75% of small, medium sized business' wages


The federal government has announced a 75 percent wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses.

The subsidy was one of four measures announced by the federal government Friday aimed at helping workers and businesses who have been affected by the economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The subsidy will be backdated to Sunday, March 15 for people who have lost their job or are self-employed. The government says more details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales and will be shared before the end of the month.

In addition, the government is launching the Canada Emergency Business Account, which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans in the form of lines of credit, which will be guaranteed by the government, to businesses with payrolls of less than $1 million. The loan will be interest-free for the first year, and $10,000 of it will be forgivable for businesses that meet certain conditions.


Government Relations Update from ECAO’s Lobbyist, Rubicon


  • The Federal Government has decided that businesses of any size will be eligible for the wage support program that guarantees 75% of an employee's income if they are kept on the payroll during the Covid19 pandemic.
    • Whether a company has ten employees or one thousand employees it will qualify if it has losses of 30% of its revenues because of Covid19. 
    • Retroactive to March 15, Ottawa will subsidize seventy-five percent --- to a maximum of $58,700 a year --- of an employee's income, as long as that person is on the company payroll and whether or not they are actually working. That works out to about $847 a week.
  • Trudeau said the program is designed to help workers buy groceries now and to have a job to return to when the crisis passes. Non-profit organizations and charities will also be eligible for the program.


  • The provincial government launched its dedicated website for Expanded Information of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Across the Province
  • The dedicated website can be seen here:
  • The Premier acknowledged that PPE’s and other necessities are in demand all over the world and that Ontario is working hard with local industry and other partners to ensure that our medical supply needs are met.
  • The Premier announced today an investment of  $243 million for long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, additional staffing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, and additional surge capacity.
  • The Premier announced a further $70 million dollars for retirement homes, residential facilities and emergency shelters. The funds will go 24/7 screening, additional staffing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation

ECAO Member, James McKellar helping out with PPE

Please check out Electrical Business

Episode #1 of “Canadians Standing up to COVID” featuring James McKellar of Am-Tech Electrical (ECA Ottawa).


State of emergency extended

In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep people home, the Government of Ontario has extended the Declaration of Emergency and associated emergency measures, including the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. In addition, Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately. These actions are based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.


Working at Heights training deadline extended

The working-at-heights training of more than 120,000 Ontario workers is set to expire over the next six months. This training is mandatory, but many training providers have shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is giving workers in the construction sector an extra year to renew their training if they work at heights.
Workers who successfully completed their working-at-heights training between February 28, 2017, and August 31, 2017, would have had their training ended this year. Now, it will now end in 2021.

Other Ministry of Labour Extensions:

  • The Ministry of Labour has said that the refresher for health and safety certification will be extended announcement will be coming for dates and application
  • WSIB will be extending the required for first aid renewal announcement will be coming for dates and application

Read the full announcement:

Industry Events Cancelled due to Corona Virus

To view a list of industry events that have been cancelled as of March 13, please click here.

Legal Notes: Government-mandated COVID-19 closures and force majeure

Historically this provision has been one of the provisions in any contract most likely to be ignored by everyone in drafting. Nevertheless, a provincially mandated shutdown would likely constitute a force majeure.

“We are in uncharted waters,” says Meryl Macklin, a partner with global law firm Brian Cave Leighton Paisner LLP (BCLP). While most contractors can continue, at the moment, she suggests force majeure pre-notification and regular communication between project partners due to the fast-changing reaction to the pandemic.

David Outerbridge, a partner with Canadian international law firm Torys LLP, agrees.

“It’s fairly typical, although not universal, that government actions and orders in decree by a public authority would qualify,” he told the DCN/JOC.

“Force majeure is a creation of the contract”, says Outerbridge. “It would be determined project-by-project if a shutdown by a municipality constituted a force majeure. If generic wording was used, in the case of a municipality shutdown it would probably fall into that category. Other contracts will list specifically what is or is not a force majeure, an exhaustive list that may not include government shutdowns. One of the benefits of being generic is that you would have that argument available to you. One of the downsides of being specific is that you can get into debates as to what qualifies.”


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