Trudeau releases new details on emergency aid, calls for Parliament return

By | April 1, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Parliament will be recalled to pass new legislation to allow for enhanced COVID-19 emergency aid measures, calling it the “largest economic program in Canada’s history.”

Trudeau confirmed that Canadians can start applying April 6 for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide about $2,000 a month to people out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An enhanced wage subsidy program will also cover 75 per cent of salaries in order to keep people on the payroll.

The government is reaching out to the opposition parties to recall Parliament to pass legislation for the expanded measures, Trudeau said Wednesday at his daily briefing.

The federal government had initially pledged a package worth $82 billion, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals.

But that figure quickly swelled as the government expanded the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and increased the proposed wage subsidy, previously set at 10 per cent.

The 75 per cent wage subsidy program will be offered to all-sized businesses, non-profits and charities, rather than just small and medium-sized companies, as originally proposed. Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to provide more details on that program this afternoon.

During a news conference in Regina earlier Wednesday morning, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had said the measures announced by the government don’t match the legislation passed to facilitate them.

“We’re pointing out the discrepancy between what the prime minister announced yesterday and what the legislation actually says. So it’s up to the government to decide how they want to proceed,” he said.

“But if they want to provide Canadians with the program that they made in their announcement, they would have to amend their own legislation.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the measures announced by the government don’t match the legislation passed to facilitate them. 1:05

Scheer again criticized the Liberals’ failed attempt to pass legislation giving the government spending powers without parliamentary approval through to 2021, saying the government spent more time staging a “power grab” than on giving Canadians “certainty and competency.”

“They should have made sure they were getting it right when it comes to helping Canadians instead of just helping themselves,” he said.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre also said the legislation passed in Parliament last week does not allow for the enhanced benefits.

“Parliament will need to be recalled to salvage the government’s wage subsidy promise,” he tweeted late Tuesday. “Trudeau’s announcement is not legal under the law his government wrote last week.”

Trudeau said Friday that a business must have lost 30 per cent of its revenue to qualify for the wage subsidy, but Poilievre said that requirement is not written into the legislation. 

View original article here Source