COVID-19/coronavirus update: March 18, 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a massive $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The package includes $27 billion in direct support and another $55 billion to help business liquidity through tax deferrals.
Combined, the package represents more than three per cent of Canada’s GDP. Trudeau said the deep spending will not drive the country into recession, insisting “prudent” decisions of the last five years have put Canada on strong economic footing to weather the crisis.
The emergency aid plan includes:
- Temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
- New Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers who have to stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave. The measure could disburse up to $10 billion.
- A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
- Doubling the homeless care program.
- Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1.
- Allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after Aug. 31 amounts that are due after today and before September.