Canadian parliament to reconvene to pass emergency legislation during COVID-19 crisis

Canadian parliament to reconvene to pass emergency legislation during COVID-19 crisis
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday that parliament will reconvene to pass emergency legislation Tuesday.

Part of the measures is a $82-billion financial package aimed as lessening the blow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked if the government would enact the Emergencies Act, which allows Ottawa to impose more strict and wide-sweeping temporary measures, Trudeau said all options are on the table

“We are looking at all the tools needed to keep Canadians safe, we are working with the provinces, we are seeing what the provinces are doing and we are coordinating those efforts,” Trudeau said from Rideau Cottage.

He also urged all Canadians to continue practicing social distancing, and said the government is working with Canadian airlines to bring stranded Canadians abroad home.

Airlines like Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat are putting international repatriation flights into place.

The financial package includes:

  • A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
  • A new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers, including the self-employed, who have to stay home and don’t qualify for paid sick leave or employment insurance. The measure could disburse up to $10 billion.
  • A new Emergency Support Benefit to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
  • A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
  • Doubling the homeless care program.
  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1.
  • Allowing taxpayers to defer until after Aug. 31 tax payments that are due after today and before September.
  • $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.

Andrew Scheer, leader of the Official Opposition, says members of his party are working closely together with the Trudeau government. Scheer did say they are asking the government to speed up measures.

More to come

With files from the Canadian Press and CBC

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