Federal government repackages EI support benefit for workers affected by novel coronavirus

Friday, 27 Mar, 2020

"Right now, it is more important than ever that Canadians have access to the latest news and information", Trudeau said.

"On top of that, there's $55 billion in tax deferrals that we've said are there because neither individuals nor corporations will be forced to pay their incme tax before August 31", Morneau said.

New benefits for workers who can't be paid because of COVID-19, whether it's because they have to stay home to self-isolate or look after someone else, or because the business can't afford to pay them, will flow likely by April 6, said Morneau.

The royal assent came in writing instead of hosting a formal ceremony in the Senate given the circumstances.

An earlier version of the bill granted Mr Trudeau's cabinet far-reaching powers to tax and spend without parliamentary approval for up to 21 months.

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

On Wednesday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government is invoking the Quarantine Act to mandate that all global travellers self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada.

A $300 top-up for each child under the Canada Child Benefit and an increase in GST rebates can't go out until May, Morneau said.

Trudeau says the government is continuing to do all it can to fight COVID-19 and is now testing roughly 10,000 people a day, a number that is steadily increasing.

Addressing a Senate committee meeting, Morneau said the energy sector has been hit by a combination of an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, tumultuous stock markets and COVID-19. So if you want this to last shorter, then do your part.

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

Conservative Sen. Don Plett said Conservative senators would support the bill but still believe the government's response is slow and clumsy.

Parliament had been suspended from March 13 through April 20, but reconvened only to approve the cash injection to help individuals and businesses. "So it's a shame to see that the aid package is repurposing money already committed".

"Canadians can rest assured that the government stands ready to take any and all necessary actions as we continue to confront these challenging times together", says Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance.

"Because we fought back, the Trudeau government has backed down from its power grab", said Pierre Poilievre, finance spokesman for the official opposition Conservatives.

Mr. Morneau said officials "are working literally overnight with the banking sector to make sure we can find ways" to offer more credit to companies.

The Liberals lack a majority of seats in the House of Commons and need the support of opposition parties to pass legislation.

After nearly a day of wrangling, Canada's House of Commons agreed early on Wednesday to approve a C$27 billion ($18.8 billion) stimulus bill to help people and businesses deal with the coronavirus outbreak.