Trudeau to talk latest in federal COVID-19 fight

OTTAWA —
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be more financial assistance coming for Canadians as the COVID-19 pandemic wages on, and is touting the money that will soon flow once the emergency aid bill passes Parliament.

He has announced the government has merged two emergency care benefits into one, meaning anyone who has either lost their job or is off sick because of COVID-19 will be able to apply and receive money approximately 10 days later. 

“We’ll be there to help you,” Trudeau said, adding that the federal government is doing everything it can to help those worried about paying bills, including boosting the teams processing the ballooning number of claims that have already been filed. 

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to climb Canada-wide, Trudeau is addressing the nation in what’s become a daily appointment outside his residence.

Trudeau is nearing the end of his 14-day self-isolation at Rideau Cottage, after his wife is one of the now 2,792 people in Canada who have contracted the virus.

An equal number of Canadians who have tested positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus within their communities and from travel, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam announced on Tuesday. She called this a “fundamental shift” in the transmission of the disease within Canada.

In an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic, every province and territory has declared some form of public health crisis or state of emergency and officials continue to urge Canadians to stay at home as much as possible. 

As part of this push to shut down most aspects of society and ensure people can be away from work or home with their kids who aren’t in school right now, the federal government rolled out an $82 billion fiscal aid package that passed the House early Wednesday morning and is set to pass the Senate by the afternoon.

Speaking there, Finance Minister Bill Morneau called the novel coronavirus pandemic a crisis “unlike any we have ever faced.”

While the Canadian border is closed to non-essential travel from the United States and the remaining international flights being funnelled through four airports with enhanced screening, the federal government is continuing to work with airlines to bring home Canadians who are stuck abroad.

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