Last week we updated you on the latest policy changes across Canada, covering everything from health policy, to economic policy, to finance. A lot has happened in the seven days that have passed since then.
Federal Responses to the Public Health Crisis
The government passed $107 billion worth of emergency funding
yesterday in response to COVID-19, a process that can take months took place in just a matter of hours. Among other things, the legislation:
- Provides $500 million in financial support to the provinces and territories to facilitate healthcare services;
- Establishes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides support for up to 16 weeks to workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19;
- Establishes a $300 ‘top-up’ on the Canada Child Benefit for each child, delivered in May;
- Initiates a 6-month pause on the obligation to repay Canada Student Loans; and
- A 10% wage subsidy for small businesses.
One week ago, the federal government received 500,000 applications
for EI in just 7 days, up from 27,000 applications that same week last year. According to a recent survey by Angus Reid
, 44% of Canadians say that they or someone in their household has lost work due to COVID-19. Of those, 37% say they are financially unable to handle an additional $100 of expenses over the next month. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is intended to help small businesses, freelancers, and gig-economy workers, who were previously unable to access traditional means of support like EI.
Economic Policy Measures
The Bank is asking Canadian retailers to continue accepting cash
where possible to accommodate Canadians who depend on cash as their sole means of payment.
The Canadian border remains closed
to non-Canadian citizens, with the exception of Canadian permanent residents and diplomats.
- The U.S.-Canada border is closed to all non-essential travel, effective for 30 days as of March 21st, 2020. Commercial travel and essential travel by workers will be allowed to ensure local economies and critical infrastructure are supported.
- In order to get stranded Canadian citizens and permanent residents home, the Government of Canada is working with Canadian airlines and foreign governments to facilitate a series of in-bound commercial flights to Canada. Emergency loans have been made available for Canadian citizens and permanent residents without the financial means to return home. Inbound travelers will be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation period.
- Airline companies are required to deny boarding to travellers who display symptoms of COVID-19 for a period of 14 days, regardless of citizenship status.
These regulations come into effect as more than a million Canadian citizens and permanent residents return home to Canada. - Mairead Matthews