Canada's Coronavirus Economic Aid Package Delayed

Nellie Chapman
March 26, 2020

Trudeau told a daily news conference that his government is aware of the uncertainty facing the country and has merged two public assistance measures into a single program to make it easier for Canadians who are out of or off work because ofk COVID-19 to apply and receive money.

Anyone already receiving benefits does not need to apply for CERB.

Trudeau also said the federal government is about to announce supports to keep journalists working and reporting on the COVID-19 crisis.

"We know that people are anxious about their health, their jobs and their financial situations", said Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, in the release.

All I can say is: we don't know yet.

"If you lost your job because of COVID-19 whether you're full time, contract or self-employed, this new benefit will be there for you", he said.

The House of Commons passed emergency legislation for the federal government's $82-billion COVID-19 aid package early Wednesday morning, after a day of negotiations.

"There aren't faster ways to get money into Canadians hands", said Morneau.

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As Morneau appeared in the Senate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference outside his Ottawa residence that the government has redeployed thousands of civil servants to work on the benefits package so the funds can flow to people as soon as possible.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who this week called on the Liberals to provide $2,000 payments to all Canadians, tweeted that the "announcement isn't flawless, but it will help so many people".

Supports Canadian businesses through Export Development Canada (EDC) by temporarily providing the Minister of Finance with more flexibility in setting EDC's capital and liability limits - as well as the Canada Account limit - and expanding EDC's ability to engage in domestic financial transactions so that it can more effectively deliver financial and credit insurance support to affected Canadian businesses.

The two benefits will be combined to provide 16 weeks of payments to workers whose income has dropped to zero because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister also said he's taking additional measures to prevent a rise in unemployment and poverty in Canada.

"This is not going to help us", said SaltWire Network president Mark Lever.

In his Wednesday address, Trudeau promised that the government is doing everything possible to give Canadians financial relief during this hard time.

Since March 16, 143,000 claims have already been processed and during that week nearly one million people applied for EI.

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