April 15, 2020
The Prime Minister made some significant announcements in his daily press availability this morning. In summary:
- Canada is expanding access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The federal government has loosened the eligibility criteria so that persons making up to $1000 a month and those who recently ran out of Employment Insurance benefits can now access the full benefit. People who were expecting seasonal work, but no longer have a job, are also eligible.
- The PM also announced that the government will be topping up the pay of essential workers earning less than $2,500 a month. He specifically cited workers in long term care facilities and hospitals. Trudeau said that this would be the subject of a call he is doing with Premiers later today.
- The Prime Minister also said that new funding to help post-secondary students and commercial renters will be announced in the coming days.
- New Brunswick’s Luminoltra is ramping up production of chemicals needed to test for COVID-19 in order to meet all of the demand across Canada.
- The Prime Minister announced that Health Canada is launching an online mental health portal to assist with people struggling during the health crisis.
- Trudeau cautioned about reopening the economy too quickly, or we risk sparking a new increase in infections. He said it will be weeks before restrictions can be lifted, and that returning the economy to work will require rapid and wide scale testing as well as contact tracing until there is a vaccine. This comes on the heels of news that the Premier of Saskatchewan plans on easing public health measures starting next week.
Statistics Canada released Canada’s GDP estimates early today.
It showed a 2.5% monthly/ 9% annualized decline in economic output for the month of March. That is the largest single drop in economic output since Statistics Canada started measuring the Canadian economy.