#Canada; #RecallingParliament; #COVID19; #EnhancedAid; #CERB; #WageSubsidy
Ottawa, Apr 1 (Canadian-Media): Describing Canada's present devastating situation due to the rapid and alarming surge of COVID-19 pandemic as "largest economic program in Canada's history," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out to to opposition parties to recall Parliament for enhanced COVID-19 emergency aid measures, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Official website
"Canada hasn't seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War," commented Trudeau today during his daily briefing to the parliament.
It was also confirmed by Trudeau that Canadians can start applying April 6 for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will provide about $2,000 a month to people out of work due to coronavirus pandemic. In addition, an enhanced wage subsidy program will also cover 75 percent of salaries in order to keep people on the payroll.
The remaining 25 percent of employees' wages could be compensated by businesses, he said.
Urging Canadians to follow public health guidelines on physical distancing, self-isolation and personal hygiene, Trudeau said he said it will be weeks or months before these disruptive practices will be discontinued.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Parliament recalling recognizes the "magnitude" of the proposed measures as well as the role of the opposition in Canada's parliamentary democracy.
The initial federal government pledge worth $82 billion, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals soon became disproportionate when the government expanded the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and increased the proposed wage subsidy, previously set at 10 percent.
Providing more details on that program today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said it will cost an estimated $71 billion but will reduce the anticipated cost of the CERB to $24 billion.
Morneau said the income supports are in addition to billions of dollars in tax deferrals and other measures for a quick economic rebound after the pandemic subsides.
He also warned of "severe consequences" for anyone trying defraud the program, which should be up and running in about three to six weeks.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said total number of applications for EI benefits were 2.1 million in the last two weeks.
There were 2.1 million EI recipients for the entire year in 2018-2019, .
The online portal, which opens April 6, will work on a system ordered by birth date.
April 6 is fixed for applications born in January through March, those born in April through June on April 7, and April 8 is allocated to those born in July through, and those born October through December on April 9.
Trudeau again said that the wage subsidy will not cover recipients of CERB benefits and warned of severe penalties for any business caught taking unfair advantage of the program.