Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sought an emergency session of the country’s Parliament to pass legislation required for measures to counter the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The focus of the session will be on a stimulus package to help workers and businesses survive the devastating blow from the coronavirus crisis. In dollar terms, this will be the largest measure ever taken in the history of the nation, as Trudeau said during a press conference: “Canada hasn’t seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War. These are the biggest economic measures in our lifetimes, to defeat a threat to our health.”
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There is also no clear timeline for when a semblance of normalcy will return and restrictive measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus will be relaxed. Responding to a question in French on whether such measures will remain till July, Trudeau indicated that was a “realistic” assumption.
He also said, “We know that they’re going to be in place for a number of more weeks, perhaps more months.” But the outcome, he added, will depend on the “choices” Canadians made, like staying at home or self-isolating.
The government has put in place a mammoth assistance package to counteract the financial hardships that will result from Covid-19. According to government figures, direct support and liquidity measures will cost the exchequer CA$ 190 billion. These measures include a wage subsidy that can be utilised by businesses to retain employees as well as a dole for those who find themselves unemployed.