Trudeau announces 2K a month for Canadians left without a paycheck due to COVID-19

By: Jocelyn Togeretz

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing Canada in a press release on Wednesday, March 25th (photo courtesy of Cable Public Affair Channel).

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $2,000 per month benefit for Canadians who are losing their income due to COVID-19

Providing now-daily press releases from the front steps of his Ottawa home, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been informing Canadian citizens on the nations next steps in this global outbreak.

Over the last several weeks, Trudeau has been making crucial announcements to inform, calm and warn Canadians about the severity of this pandemic. However, this Wednesday’s announcement has created a surge of relief for Canadians nationally, who find themselves unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new streamline of aid, called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), is part of the $82 billion funding package that Trudeau had unveiled earlier this month to combat the effects of COVID-19.

Trudeau stated in his release that only last week nearly 1 million Canadians had applied for unemployment insurance and that these requests are still being processed.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide successful applicants with $2,000 each month for four months. This funding will be paid out every four weeks between March 15th to October 3rd, with applications for this aid available on April 6th.

Prime Minister Trudeau explains those who have lost income as a result of COVID-19, as well as those who are sick, quarantined, looking after the sick, or at home taking care of children all qualify for CERB.

“This will replace the two benefits we announced last week — the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit — in order to streamline the process. Like I said from the start, we will adapt our approach whenever needed,” said Trudeau.

This act has come from a string of relief for Canadians released within the last couple days, including a provision of $275 million in funding for medical research and development, the restriction of travel outside of and coming to Canada, and shutting down one of the world’s largest international borders, the border between Canada and the United States, for all non-essential travel.

Although significant measures have been put in place to combat the spread of the virus, some Canadians argue that the response has come too late, with medical supplies running out at alarming rates.

Ontario’s associate medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, revealed in a daily conference that last week only 20 of the province’s patients were hospitalized. Now, one week later and almost half of the 40 hospitalized patients are in intensive care units, with 15 on ventilators.

The outbreak began late last year in Wuhan, China with several cases of pneumonia of an unknown cause. Within the next week the virus COVID-19 had spread throughout China, infecting hundreds of citizens. By January 20th, 2020, cases had been confirmed internationally, and within 3 days the city of Wuhan was placed on lock-down.

Now, only 3 months later, COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, with 467, 594 confirmed cases worldwide, and 113, 226 confirmed deaths.

Ontario has claimed 688 out of 3,409 nationally confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, with 36 deaths across the country.

There has been a spike in Canadian COVID-19 cases since March 15th, 2020. (Source information from Health Canada, graph courtesy of Global News).

The virus is spread through close personal contact with an infected person, or a surface that has come into contact with the virus. The symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear and may seem similar to that of a cold or flu, such as a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing.

To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus the Canadian government has urged citizens to practice social distancing and stay home.

“COVID-19 is taking it’s toll on people all around the world, and in every part of our country. We’ve all had to adjust our habits, and every single one of us needs to do our part,” Said Trudeau in a press release, urging Canadians to follow expert health advice and stay home.

However, for many Canadians, staying home means a detrimental loss of personal income. Just this past Monday, Ontario had announced a mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses, leaving many Canadians out of work for the next two weeks.

Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced the closure of non-essential businesses province-wide (photo courtesy of Premier of Ontario/YouTube).

“The Canada Emergency Response Benefit would make sure that money gets in the hands of workers as quickly as possible to support them in their time of need, and would help businesses keep their employees during this difficult period,” said Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau in a statement addressing the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Morneau explained that during these difficult times, Canadians primary concern should be their health, not their loss of income.

“Canadians can rest assured that the government stands ready to take any and all necessary actions as we continue to confront these challenging times together,” said Morneau.