Here is what’s happening surrounding the novel coronavirus in British Columbia on Wednesday, March 25:
House of Commons unanimously passes bill
The House of Commons has adopted emergency legislation for up to $82 billion in relief for Canadians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The government won unanimous consent as they work at quickly passing the bill to get money flowing to country. It is now up to the Senate to approve the bill and the Liberals are hoping for quick passage in the Upper Chamber and to have the measures signed into law by this afternoon.
Among other things, the final bill contains components to boost employment insurance, delay tax deadlines, raise the federal backstop on deposits in case a bank fails and send hundreds of millions to provinces for health care.
Prince Charles tests positive
Britain’s Prince Charles, who is the heir to the throne in the UK, has tested positive for COVID-19. The 71-year old is said to be in isolation at his royal estate in Scotland, showing mild symptoms. His last public appearance was March 12, which was reportedly his last contact with the queen as well. Queen Elizabeth, 98-years old, is said to be in good health at her home in Windsor.
ICBC allowing delayed payments, license renewal online
ICBC is allowing customers who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic to delay making their payments for up to 90 days. The insurance company is also allowing anyone who needs to renew their licences or acquire driving records can now do so from home, over the phone or online.
London Drugs helping frontline w0rkers
London Drugs is dedicating certain shopping hours to frontline workers. The company said health care workers and first responders will have exclusive store access from 8 to 9 p-m Monday through Saturday and 7- to 8 p-m on Sundays. This move is in an effort to provide workers, who typically get off late, a place to shop.
Canadians abroad utilizing Emergency Loan Program
Global Affairs Canada says 93 loans have been approved under the Emergency Loan Program, which offers up to $5,000 per person to Canadians who are stranded abroad and need financial help.
Another 380 applications are being processed right now.
As well the first in a series of flights bringing Canadians home from Peru left Lima this morning and additional flights are in the works in eight other countries including Ukraine and Morocco.
New poll shows rising job loss in Canada
A new poll from the Angus Reid Institute shows 44 per cent of Canadians reported that they or someone in their house had lost work because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Another 18 per cent of Canadians polled said they expected to lose work in the near future.
More than half the people who had lost work said they were not being otherwise compensated by their employer and the same amount said that applying for employment insurance had been a difficult process.
Biggest care package in US history signed
On the morning that Canada’s government agreed to a stimulus package, we got word that our neighbours to the south have signed one as well. The White House and the Senate have agreed to a $2 trillion care package to go towards COVID-19 relief for Americans. Experts are saying the unprecedented emergency legislation is the largest economic rescue measure in history.