OTTAWA — U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that the border between Canada and the United States will be “temporarily” closed to tourists and visitors, “by mutual consent,” just ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement from self-isolation for the third time in as many days.
It remains unclear precisely when non-essential travel will be restricted across the border, but Trudeau is set to speak to this shutdown and unveil major new economic measures that the federal government is taking in response to COVID-19 shortly.
Trudeau will be followed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who will be elaborating on the new economic supports aimed at offsetting the wide-ranging impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent shutdowns.
As CTV News has reported, the financial package will include ways to see money delivered directly into the hands of Canadians and their families; help for the country’s hardest-hit sectors; and broader economic stimulus measures.
It’s expected the package will be worth about $25 billion — equal to how much some economists estimate the coronavirus pandemic will cost the Canadian economy, and a figure comparable to one per cent of Canada’s GDP.
The border is already closing Wednesday to most non-citizens, and international flights are being rerouted to four airports where enhanced screenings are happening and passengers returning to Canada are being instructed to enter a 14-day self-isolation, to lessen the spread of the global pandemic.
Shipments, trade and commerce will not be affected by the closure of movement between the Canada-U.S. border.
Trudeau and his federal cabinet are also deliberating whether or not to invoke the Emergencies Act, which would grant the federal government sweeping powers to regulate the movement of people and goods within the country during a state of emergency.
Parliament is expected to be recalled imminently to pass whatever legislative measures the government needs to respond to this rapidly evolving health crisis.
With files from CTV National News Ottawa and Washington bureaus
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