COVID-19: Trudeau announces Canada Emergency Response Benefit plan

Cheryl Sanders
March 26, 2020

John Hinds, the president and CEO of News Media Canada, which represents hundreds of daily, weekly and community publishers, including The Globe and Mail, said Canada's news media appreciates the government recognizing their work, but that "this is a crisis for the industry and we need support to continue, not just rehash announcements of last year's promises".

"Far too many Canadians are having these tough conversations about finances and their future", said Trudeau, who emphasized that this new benefit will be there to support those who are now struggling financially.

People who were working full-time, on a contract or self-employed will be covered by the new benefit. If you are sick or quarantined, looking after someone sick or at home taking care of your kids, it is there for you.

While the federal emergencies act is on the table, Trudeau said it is a measure of "last resort", if people don't follow health advice and government guidelines. "So I want you to know that we'll be there to help you".

About one in three Canadians worry whether they will be able to pay rent or make mortgage payment.

"Any conversation about new government powers should not get in the way of passing this much-needed assistance", Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said. "Help is on the way".

"Help is on the way", said Trudeau, who said that since Monday, the federal government has already processed 143,000 claims.

An application portal for the new aid will launch as soon as possible.

However, the Conservatives said they were "very flexible" and willing to discuss future situations as they arise - once the case was made to Canadians for, say, increased spending.

The $82 billion aid package represents 3% of the country's GDP, Trudeau said.

He later amended his post to say he had no objection to same-day passage of the relief measures provided MPs had enough time to read and understand the bill.

Sports equipment maker Bauer Hockey plans to modify its hockey visors into face shields for healthcare workers, while retailers Canada Goose Holdings, and Gap Inc said they would produce medical gear.

"We negotiated some very important changes in the bill, which brought us somewhere in the middle between what we would have dreamed of and what their government first asked for", Blanchet said.

He continued to tell Canadians to only go out of they have to, to stay two metres away from other people when you are out and reach out from the safety of their home if they are struggling, among other measures. Workers who can't work for nearly any reason related to COVID-19, including staying home to look after others, the need to quarantine or self-isolate, or because their employers have closed or reduced business and can't offer them as many or any shifts. "That applies to everyone".

A man is escorted by healthcare workers to be tested as the city's public health unit holds a walk-in clinic testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Montreal March 23, 2020.

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