On Wednesday Prime Minister Trudeau announced a combined $27 billion in emergency funding and $55 billion through tax deferrals to get Canadians through COVID-19.
“No matter where you live or who you are, you will get the support you need during this time,” he said from outside his home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
Up to $15 billion of this funding comes in the form of enhanced benefits programs. Trudeau announced an Emergency Care Benefit for those who are in self-isolation but don’t have paid sick leave or don’t qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits, or people who are taking care of sick family or children who are off school.
“There are many families across this country who are looking at their sources of income drying up because of COVID-19,” he said. “Many workers do not qualify for EI, therefore we are putting in place exceptional measures that will flow money to them every two weeks.”
The new program will provide up to $900 biweekly for a 14-week period. Another fund–called the Emergency Support Benefit–will provide funding for unemployed workers who don’t qualify for regular EI benefits like servers and part-time workers.
“This will apply also to people who are self-employed and have to close shop because of the virus,” he said. Trudeau said both benefits programs would be available starting in April.
Other measures were announced for small businesses, including a commitment to provide 10 percent of employees’ wages, as a temporary subsidy for the next three months, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
“This will encourage employers to keep staff on the payroll during these uncertain times,” said Trudeau. The Prime Minister also said that Export Development Canada and Farm Credit Canada were also providing financial support to their industries.
For parents, the Canada Child Benefit will see an increase in the coming months, totalling $2 billion.
“Families with young kids are going to find the coming months especially difficult with school closures and additional child care responsibilities,” Trudeau said.
The Prime Minister told reporters that Canadians who are most in need will also be given extra support. The GST supplement provided to low-income Canadians will be supplemented in the month of May.
“Every adult who qualifies will receive up to $300, with $150 for every child,” said Trudeau.
He also said there is additional funding going towards Indigenous communities and to homeless Canadians through the Reaching Home Program.
For people with federal student loans in repayment, Trudeau said a six-month moratorium would be placed on repayment, with no interest buildup in the meantime.
The federal tax season has also been extended, and Canadians have until June 1 to file their taxes, and until August 31 to pay if they owe money.
In total, the injections into the economy could total $82 billion, but the government is expected to make even more announcements in the coming days as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“In a number of weeks, or a number of months, or however long it takes, once we get rolling again, the capacity of the federal government to invest in the economy, to support businesses and individuals, will ensure that we bounce back strongly,” said the Prime Minister.
For full details on Canada’s COVID-19 economic response, click here.