- After hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Canada’s House of Commons passed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s coronavirus financial aid package at 5:51 a.m. Wednesday morning
- You can find a copy of the emergency legislation, Bill C-13, here.
- As part of the legislation, the government established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.
- The CERB would cover Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures. The CERB would apply to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).
- Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.
- The government said the portal for accessing the CERB will be available in early April. EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI, as can Canadians applying for other EI benefits.
- Canadians will begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB will be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020.
- The government is working to get money into the pockets of Canadians as quickly as possible
- All travellers returning to Canada — with the exception of what the federal government is calling "essential workers" — will have to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine as of midnight tonight
- Starting Thursday morning, Canada Border Services Agency officers will inform all returning Canadians and permanent residents of the new orders to begin isolation at home and tell them that they are forbidden from stopping along the way.
- Individuals who exhibit symptoms will be banned from taking public transit to their places of isolation
- For those travellers who are arriving at one of the four international airports and connecting, they will be asked to quarantine in place in those cities. The government will provide the accommodation and meals in these situations.
- No one will be permitted to quarantine anywhere they can come into contact with vulnerable people; those who, for example, live with an elderly person or someone with a compromised immune system will have to quarantine elsewhere
- Addressing a Senate committee meeting earlier today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that help for Canada's oil and gas sector is "hours, possibly days" away.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is also planning to provide financial support to media organizations to keep journalists working and reporting on the COVID-19 crisis. Details will be provided soon by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault.
- Today Finance Minister Phillips delivered a fiscal update, titled “Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID‑19.” This is in place of the annual budget, which will likely be delivered in November 2020.
- Ontario will spend an additional $17 billion to protect people from COVID-19
- $3.3B for the health care system
- $3.7B to support people and jobs
- $10B to support people and businesses
$10 billion in support for people and businesses to improve cash flows by:
- Providing a five-month interest and penalty-free period to make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes, providing $6 billion in relief to help support Ontario businesses when they need it the most;
- Deferring the upcoming quarterly (June 30) remittance of education property tax to school boards by 90 days. This will provide municipalities with the flexibility to, in turn, provide property tax deferrals of over $1.8 billion to local residents and businesses; and
- Providing $1.9 billion in new financial relief by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowing employers to defer payments for a period of six months.
$3.7 billion to support people and jobs, including:
- $75 million in urgent additional support for 194,000 low-income seniors by proposing to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) maximum payment to $166 per month for individuals and $332 per month for couples, for six months starting in April 2020;
- Helping families pay for extra costs associated with school and daycare closures during the COVID 19 outbreak by providing a one-time $200 payment per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs including kids enrolled in private schools;
- Providing six months of Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan and interest accrual relief, in coordination with the federal government’s measures, leaving more money in the pockets of student borrowers;
- $200 million in new funding to provide temporary emergency supports for people in financial need as well as funding to municipalities and other service providers to respond to local needs; for example, food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services
- Helping to support regions lagging in employment growth with a proposed new Corporate Income Tax credit — the Regional Opportunities Investment Tax Credit; and
- Supporting the timely delivery of critical food and supplies by amending a regulation that restricted delivery trucks from operating during off-peak hours.
$3.3 billion of additional resources for health care, including:
- A dedicated $1.0 billion COVID 19 contingency fund;
- $341 million for hospital capacity to increase assessments and treatment;
- $243 million for long-term care home emergency capacity and new virus containment measures;
- An additional $1.2 billion to improve services in the health and long-term care sector.
- Ontario’s deficit in 2019-20 will be $9.2 billion. In 2020-21, it will grow to $20.5 billion
- With the exception of the fiscal update Queen's Park will be adjourned until April 14 because of the pandemic.
- “Stop the Spread” business information line is now open at 1-888-444-3659 to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close atrisk workplaces
- There were no significant updates concerning businesses today.
- Quebec now has 1,339 COVID-19 cases.
- To help British Columbians who may have questions about COVID-19 symptoms, the B.C. government launched a self-assessment app. In the last 24 hours, 18,800 users have downloaded it.
- The online self assessment tool on the BC Centre for Disease Control website has also been used almost 2.5 million times since its launch last week.
- Later this week, the B.C. government will present its latest epidemiological modelling.
- The Confirmed cases in Alberta are 358.
- Albertans who are eligible can now apply online for emergency bridge funding if they need to self-isolate due to the novel coronavirus. Once their identity and eligibility is confirmed, they will be e-transferred a one-time payment of $1,146. This is part of an earlier relief effort of $50 million announced by Premier Kenney.
- The UCP government and NDP opposition are trying to come to a deal on when to meet and how many should be in the legislature when they do.
- Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced further measures to strengthen the health system and help Nova Scotians dealing with COVID-19.
- Measures announced today include:
- increased testing for COVID-19 -- public health officials have begun testing all close contacts of positive cases
- lab capacity is doubling to accommodate increased testing
- expanding virtual care for physicians, nurse practitioners and others so they can offer appointments to patients through telephone or video, minimizing the need to leave the house; more than 80 providers have signed up for video so far
- 811 has increased staff and technology and is now answering 50 per cent more calls; on April 3, 811 will again double its capacity
- enhanced infection control measures at hospitals to protect health-care workers and the public include reassigning and adding new staff to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection; focusing on high-risk areas and high-traffic areas and hightouch surfaces; using stronger cleaning products
- regulated health professions can only stay open for emergency or urgent cases or to provide virtual care (excluding doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, nurses and paramedics) as long as they can meet social distancing requirements in their waiting room or other non-clinical areas and follow the cleaning protocol
- non-regulated health professions (such as naturopaths) must close. One exception is podiatrists who must follow the directive related to regulated health professions
- Access Centres and Registry of Motor Vehicle Offices will start to resume operations in a scaled back, limited contact business model.
- Essential service sectors in Nova Scotia, which are exempt from the five-person-or-fewer gathering rules, have been clarified and are:
- food, agri-food and fisheries
- transportation, including trucking, rail and transit
- construction and manufacturing
- IT, telecommunications and critical infrastructure
- public services, such as police, fire and ambulances
- Testing has identified eight new cases in New Brunswick, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick to 26.
- Beginning today, restrictions will be implemented for all travellers arriving in New Brunswick from outside the province. Interprovincial travellers, like international travellers, will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
- All unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited, and peace officers are authorized to turn away visitors when they attempt to enter.
- Travellers entering the province from Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia will be stopped by peace officers and required to produce identification. Contact information and intended destinations are being collected and tracked for all travellers, including those travelling through New Brunswick to another province.
- Like measures at the Canada-United States border, commercial traffic and essential employees will be exempt so that services are maintained and critical supplies can continue to move across provincial boundaries unimpeded. Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and members of the military will also be exempt from these measures.
- The provincial government has partnered with the Canadian Red Cross to support New Brunswickers affected by the requirement to self-isolate. The Canadian Red Cross can assist people in accessing a wide range of supports and services. People who have issues or concerns should call 1-800-863-6582.