Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at ways to help vulnerable Canadians as well as small businesses and workers cover their bills should their lives be upended by COVID-19. (The Canadian Press)

Direct financial help coming for Canadians affected by COVID-19, Trudeau says

He says help would be targeted to vulnerable Canadians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at ways to get money directly into the pockets of Canadians so they can cover their bills should their lives be upended by COVID-19.

He says help would be targeted to vulnerable Canadians, as well as help to small businesses and workers who see disruptions in their earnings.

The heft of the stimulus package will likely come out this afternoon when Finance Minister Bill Morneau addresses reporters.

Trudeau says the government’s focus is on ensuring that Canadians have the resources and money they need to not have to stress about rent and groceries if they can’t go to work.

ALSO READ: Trudeau promises $1 billion for COVID-19 research, resilience

Private-sector economists warn that Canada is heading into a recession because of the economic shock of COVID-19, which may only be avoided with hefty stimulus spending from the federal government — as much as $20 billion, or roughly one per cent of GDP.

In an interview Friday, parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux said the novel coronavirus has made the short-term economic picture far bleaker than it was just a few weeks ago, especially when coupled with a sudden drop in oil prices.

The Liberals had promised to deliver a budget on March 30, but the House of Commons has now agreed not to sit until late April to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

The government needs to reassure the workers and businesses with concrete measures that even if not announced are at least promised to avoid steep losses and address the uncertainty that is roiling the economy, Giroux said.

ALSO READ: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19 — PMO

“The magnitude of these support measures are very hard to tell,” he said. A package of $20 billion isn’t “unreasonable,” Giroux added: “It depends on what the government wants to shield the economy from.”

In a separate report, Giroux’s office estimated that last month’s rail blockades will shave two-tenths of a percentage point off economic growth for the first quarter, with the effects dissipating through the rest of 2020.

The rail blockades sprung up in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in B.C. who oppose a natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Interior Health to host virtual town hall Friday, March 27

The Q&A forum begins at 6 p.m. PDT, link in story

West Kootenay octogenarian helping develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Peter Brockley is working with his doctor son, Graham, to develop the unit that could save lives

Kootenay doctor mobilizes engineers in effort to bolster PPE supply

West Kootenay doctor, engineers and volunteers create personal protection equipment with 3D printers

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Frontline workers receiving COVID-19 isolation exemptions prompt concerns

Provincial Health Authority staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel

Most Read