Trudeau to speak, cost of COVID-19 relief measures expected

By | March 31, 2020

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be speaking to the latest efforts the federal government is taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of cases in Canada continues to climb.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Minister Mary Ng are then expected to provide an update on the costs of certain economic aid measures taken so far, including the expanded wage subsidy for Canadian businesses.

With the scheduled federal budget day come and gone, and the price tag continuing to grow as the government focuses on ways to keep Canadians safe and employed, the ministers are expected to outline more details about the economic impact of measures taken so far.

The government continues to indicate more financial assistance will come to Canadians and impacted sectors as the shutdown of many aspects of society continues, to try to flatten the curve of the virus.

Over a week ago the Liberals also put a call out to manufacturers to pivot their production lines to help at this critical time by mass-supplying various life-saving medical supplies to boost the health sector’s stockpile.

Early Tuesday, the government announced it would be waiving the ground lease rents between March and December 2020 for the 21 airports that pay rent to the federal government, as well as to PortsToronto, which operates the Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto.

Noting how the air transportation sector has been impacted by the worldwide travel restrictions aimed at limited the spread of COVID-19, the government said it wanted to reduce “cost pressures and preserve their cash flow.”

This move is estimated to result in $331.4 million in relief.

“We want to provide relief for these important entities who are still open under difficult circumstances, and are helping to help bring Canadians home. We are appreciative that they continue to support the flow of people and goods during this challenging time,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement.

Later Tuesday, the House health committee will be convening an entirely virtual meeting, to receive a briefing from health, foreign affairs, and border officials about COVID-19 response efforts underway.  

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