COVID-19: Federal Economic News Expected Soon

The Prime Minister provided another briefing today, followed by what will now be a daily briefing by Ministers.

Prime Minister Trudeau spent much of his press conference reinforcing the need for social distancing, noting the need for Canadians to stay at home.  He noted the closure of all Parks Canada facilities, as well as an emergency loan program up of to $5,000 in order to assist Canadians waiting to return home.  He also noted a major economic announcement was coming tomorrow, including possible changes to timing around the upcoming tax season to give more flexibility to Canadians and more liquidity to businesses.

In addition, he noted the likely need to recall Parliament to pass urgent economic measures.  Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez will be engaged with Opposition leaders to try and move such legislation forward.

Subsequent to the Prime Minister’s comments, senior Ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair convened a wider press conference on COVID-19 to elaborate on the measures previously announced, including a reinforcement of the need for social distancing while ensuring Canadians maintain a sense of unity at this time.  Minister Garneau also reiterated the need for Canadians to return home from abroad as soon as possible.

The Emergencies Act?

In response to Ontario’s declaration of a state of emergency this morning, the Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers noted that the government was examining the Emergencies Act, should it become necessary.  However, the bill is described as a last resort option for the federal government, as it provides sweeping powers to the federal government, and would require consultation with the provinces and territories, as well as Parliamentary oversight. Implementation of this is an extraordinary measure that would be considered only as a final option when all other measures available to the federal government to deal with an emergency have been exhausted.

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