Submitted by Catherine McKenna,
MP Ottawa Centre
I have been hearing from my constituents about the difficulties they are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is challenging from both an economic and a health perspective. I’ve heard from devastated businesses, to families who have members stranded abroad, to struggling charities and not for profits. We will do whatever it takes to support Canadians.
Social distancing – physical distancing – is the single best way to keep the people around you safe. What does that mean? It means keeping two metres between yourself and someone else. It means avoiding groups. It means staying home as much as possible.
If you choose to ignore that advice and get together with people or go to crowded places, you’re not just putting yourself at risk, you’re putting others at risk too; Your elderly relative, your friend with a pre-existing condition, nurses and doctors, cashiers and other essential workers.
They need you to make the right choices. They need you to do your part. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to be doing.
The government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians and businesses, as well as those in difficult situations abroad facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In March, the Prime Minister released an economic response plan of $27 billion for workers and businesses, and $55 billion in economic stimulus that will protect Canadians families and support businesses across the country as well as announced our plan to bring Canadians home from around the world.
We are boosting Canada Child Benefit Payments. We’ve also introduced support for parents who can’t work because they need to care for children.
The six major banks have agreed to work with personal and small business customers on a case basis, including up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages.
We’re providing income support to workers facing unemployment due to COVID-19.
We’re introducing the Emergency Support Benefit for Canadians who are facing unemployment but don’t normally qualify for EI.
We’re providing eligible small businesses a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months, as well as extending credit to businesses through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
We’re doubling the GST tax credit for low to modest income Canadians. Payments will remain on their regular schedule.
We’re putting an interest free pause on student loan payments for six months.
We are deferring tax payments until August 31 for individuals and businesses.
We encourage all Canadians overseas to register with Global Affairs Canada at http://www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.
Canadian travelers should return to Canada via commercial means while it is still possible to do so. If you are abroad, now is the time to come home. If you’ve just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
Please feel free to reach out 24/7 to the emergency watch and response centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885 or SOS@international.gc.ca.
By staying home, you can not only protect your health and that of those around you but ensure that our healthcare professionals and our healthcare systems can focus on those who need their help.
The Canada.ca/coronavirus website, which includes information resources that Canadians can download concerning the novel coronavirus, as well how to be prepared and how to limit the spread of the virus.
The Government of Canada’s coronavirus information line (1-833-784-4397), which is available from 7:00 a.m. to midnight (EST) seven days a week.