COVID-19: Duelling Governments [Updated]

On Friday, both the Saskatchewan government and City of Regina declared states of emergency to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the municipal regulations mirrored those enacted by the province. But whereas the province’s regulations prohibited gatherings of over 25 people, Regina city council restricted gatherings to five people or less. The city regulations, which were to take effect today and last for a week, also included closure of non-essential retail outlets such as clothing, toy, furniture and shoe stores.

Saskatoon activated its Emergency Operations Centre, but did not pass any additional restrictions on businesses and public gatherings as Regina had done. But on Sunday, the Saskatchewan government announced that it would be rescinding Regina’s restrictions. The Saskatchewan Party government justified the move by saying it wanted to ensure regulations were consistent across the province.

Under Canada’s antiquated constitution, provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over cities via s.92 of the BNA Act. So the province certainly has the power to rescind Regina’s regulations. But whether it should or not is another matter.

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COVID-19: Federal, Provincial & Municipal Response [Updated]

Government responses to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic have been coming fast and furious in the last few days. To help people get up to speed on what measures have been taken and how they might impact on them in the days, weeks and months to come here’s a breakdown.

Canada

With many Canadians facing financial hardship the federal government has announced an $82 billion package to provide short-term relief to workers, families and business owners. These measures include special GST and Canada Child Benefit top-ups, an Emergency Care Benefit for workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave and an Emergency Support Benefit for self-employed workers who are not eligible for Employment Insurance.

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An Important Message From Prairie Dog

For most of us, the Coronavirus pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever seen. COVID-19 has totally disrupted Reginan’s lives and livelihoods.

It’s hitting us, too.

Earlier this week, Prairie Dog made the difficult decision to cancel our March 26 print edition. Between the near-total collapse of advertising and the loss of, what, maybe half our distribution points in restaurants, coffee shops and pubs, putting out a paper next Thursday just doesn’t make sense. We¬† plan to roar back with, hmm, let’s call it a special collector’s edition on April 9. In the meantime, we’re bringing Dog Blog–remember that?–out of cold storage so you’ll have lots to read. Stay tuned!

Collectively, we’re at the start of something that, for better and/or for worse, will fundamentally change our understanding of the society and world we live in, but there are a lot of challenges ahead. If you’re able, please consider donating to help us continue publishing. Prairie Dog has a lot to offer Regina and Saskatchewan, but we flat-out can’t do it without your help.

As a lot of people are suddenly discovering, it turns out we all really ARE in this together. Let’s make it work.