Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a more than $ 1 billion plan to deal with the economic impact of the spread of COVID-19, as Canada registers over 100 confirmed cases.
D e that $ 1.1 billion, nearly half ($ 500 million) will be transferred to the provinces and territories to help them respond to health needs. Another $ 275 million will be spent on research, including the quest for a vaccine. A total of $ 200 million will be used to assume federal health responsibilities, including the needs of Aboriginal communities.
Surrounded by four of his ministers and the chief administrator of public health, Mr. Trudeau wanted to be reassuring.
“To all provincial premiers and all Canadians, our government is there for you. We will make sure you have everything you need, ”said Trudeau Wednesday morning.
This also applies to Canadians who cannot report to work because of the coronavirus epidemic. The federal plan calls for the elimination of the mandatory waiting week to receive EI benefits. In other words, they will be able to receive money from the first day of their “unemployment”.
But don’t stay at home who wants to.
Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough said after the fact that those who suffer from coronavirus symptoms or who believe they have been in contact with an infected person will need to have the advice of the doctor or their employer to quarantine them at home .
The federal action plan was released hours before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the virus is now a global pandemic. Ottawa has also set aside $ 50 million to help foreign countries struggling to cope.
In good position anyway
While describing the current situation as “serious”, Mr. Trudeau believes that Canada is doing quite well, provided that Canadians continue to follow the necessary precautions.
“We are fortunate in Canada to be able to help protect our own families and fellow citizens by deliberately and thoughtfully changing our behaviors to stay healthy, and that is exactly what we recommend that Canadians do,” a he said.
He and his ministers added that the federal government is still preparing for “any eventuality.”
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the country’s banking system is robust and in constant contact with the banks. But the federal government is ready to intervene if necessary.
“We are ready and have multiple measures to support businesses and people if this situation escalates, which we anticipate in certain sectors,” he said.
An impact on the budget
It remains to be seen how the evolution of COVID-19 in the country will affect the federal budget, the date of which has still not been announced.
According to the President of the Treasury Board, Jean-Yves Duclos, there will “almost certainly” be additional measures announced in the budget to counter the effects of the virus on health and the economy, among others.
Asked about the deficit, which is likely to widen, Mr. Trudeau replied that Canada has “good flexibility” for emergency situations like these.