#COVID19Pandemic; #CanadaParliament; #CERB; #AidPackageBillWorth$107Billion
Ottawa, Mar 25 (Canadian-Media): An aid package bill worth $107 billion to help Canadians struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic had been passed by the government of Canada and opposition parties in Parliament March 25 to boost access to employment insurance and flow money to workers and businesses in need, media reports said.
Canada Parliament. Image credit: Twitter handle
After passing the Senate without any amendments, the bill received royal assent from Governor General Julie Payette Wednesday afternoon.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Wednesday workers would have access to as much as $2,000 a month for four months.
Canadian workers over the age of 15 who have earned more than $5,000 in the last 12 months but are now without any income due to COVID-19 pandemic would qualify. Workers, including freelancers, who do not have access to the current employment insurance (EI) program. could access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Morneau also said the government should make sure that people will have employment when the pandemic is over.
Morneau said that the Bill which initially was worth about $82 billion, has increased sharply to $107 billion fulfill the demands of more people and added Ottawa has now budgeted for $52 billion in direct support payments and $55 billion in tax deferrals.
The proposed aid package from Ottawa includes: A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit payments with $2 billion in extra support; up to $10 billion could be disbursed in a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, for up to 15 weeks to support workers, including the self-employed, who have to stay home and don't qualify for paid sick leave or employment insurance (EI); 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 of the homeless care program; An extension of the tax filing deadline to June 1; $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.
At his own news conference outside his residence, where he remains in self-isolation after his wife contracted COVID-19, Trudeau said the government is trying to balance the need to act quickly to help Canadians with the need to remain accountable to Parliament.
"It is an exceptional situation that requires extreme flexibility and rapidity of response by governments to be able to help Canadians and react to a situation that we've seen is moving quickly every single day," he said.
"So saying, we have a Parliament that works, we have an Opposition that is doing its job of making sure that we are taking the right steps the right way."
The House adjourned until April 20 after the bill was passed.