PM Unveils New Emergency Program For Canadians

Cheryl Sanders
March 26, 2020

The portion of benefits to help Canadians and small businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly double what it was expected to be, the federal finance minister said Wednesday.

He said the government was negotiating "up until the last minute" to find a way to give it the flexibility it needs to get the money into Canadians' hands quickly while maintaining "our democratic institutions and the values that are so important to us all".

The authorities in this legislation makes sure that the government can do what it takes to support Canadians and Canadian businesses, and the economy as whole, in a timely way, today and in the future, as the situation continues to evolve.

The total aid package was initially proposed at $82 billion, but is now $107 billion, with direct support to Canadians and small businesses increasing to $52 billion.

But he said he can't back a Liberal "power grab". That represented just more than half what it spent each year between 2010 and 2015 when the Conservatives were in government.

The Canadian prime minister also said there will be more direct support for businesses. There are several criteria they must meet to be eligible. The credit, which is not available to broadcasters, is retroactive to salaries that were paid starting on January 1, 2019.

People wait in line to get into a walk-in test clinic for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in Montreal on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Facing collapsing advertising revenues, one large newspaper chain in Atlantic Canada has already closed numerous publications and combined others, laying off hundreds of people.

Trudeau said the controversial clause in the bill would be nixed, but continued to press for capabilities to respond quickly to new developments in the spread of the virus. "We hope that additional measures to ensure that furloughed workers' firms still exist after the pandemic control measures are lifted will be forthcoming".

Cox said the journalism industry realizes the effects of COVID-19 on the workforce go well beyond the media.

Justin Trudeau announced a new measure on March 25.

SaltWire wasn't the only newspaper group to lay off staff this week.

In Quebec, 143 jobs were lost across a co-operative that owns daily newspapers outside of Montreal, including Le Soleil in Quebec City.

Lever said what news organizations really need is more liquidity to be able to ride out the precipitous drop in revenue until after COVID-19.

Kagame said that he thanked him for reaching out and for offering Canada's assistance as well as his support for a coordinated G20 member response towards allocating sufficient resources in support of actions taken by Africa.

Daniel Bernhard, executive director of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, echoed that assessment, noting Facebook, Twitter and other sites continue to benefit from Canadian journalism while being free of having to pay any corporate tax.

The Senate passed the bill after two hours of discussion and debate Wednesday morning, including an hour of senators' peppering Finance Minister Bill Morneau with questions. "Trudeau explained that this latter category would help businesses keep their employees,".as they navigate these hard times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible".

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