Every day in Canada, a lot of news regarding COVID-19 comes out nationally and locally.
And for now, we will be putting together Montreal and Canada’s top headlines daily to help digest the news in one place.
Throughout the day, you can see all the headlines in real-time here.
Top coronavirus stories for April 17, as of 5 pm ET:
The Quebec government revealed that the province’s COVID-19-related death toll has increased to 688 total after announcing 58 new deaths in the past 24 hours.
As part of his daily briefings, Premier François Legault updated provincial numbers, stating that Quebec now has 16,798 known cases (a 941 increase since Thursday), 1,076 patients are hospitalized, 207 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 136,924 cases have turned up negative throughout Quebec and 3,068 have been cured of the virus.
François Legault announced that the federal government has agreed to deploy 125 Canadian Armed Forces members to help in Quebec long-term care homes (CHSLDs).
Earlier this week, Legault stressed the need in Quebec to “fortify” staff at CHSLDs. “We need more, we’re missing people, we’re missing hands,” he urged on Wednesday.
On Friday, he said the province came into the crisis “badly equipped” with orderlies and the pandemic has obviously made it worse. The premier said the province is short CHSLD workers due to former staff members who have contracted the virus or those who fear that they may.
Legault said the 125 Armed Forces members are all qualified to work in healthcare fields and will “help us in CHSLDs.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that more financial aid will be provided for Canada’s energy sector to improve environmental conditions and keep more jobs.
On Friday, Trudeau said that $1.7 billion will be given to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia to clean up orphaned and abandoned oil wells.
The prime minister noted that the effort will maintain jobs, keep businesses running, and help the environment.
“These wells are no longer in use and are detrimental to the environment and peoples’ health,” Trudeau said.
“By cleaning them up we will create jobs for workers.”
Cleaning up the oil wells will also help landowners who cannot get rid of the wells on their own.
The federal government has announced that this year, in light of the ongoing global crisis, the nation will celebrate Canada Day virtually.
Word was shared via Twitter on Friday, through the Canadian Heritage account.
“In light of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s priority of keeping Canadians safe, Canadian Heritage has decided to host Canada Day virtually,” the post reads.
“Details will be announced soon.”
Heritage Canada, the department of the government dedicated to promoting Canadian culture and history, will be provided with $500 million in wage support to help the country’s struggling culture sector.
Justin Trudeau announced the news on Friday, during his daily media address.
The funds will support artists, creators, and Canada’s rising sports stars through the lifting up of organizations that are currently struggling with cash flow.
Industries that revolve around culture are facing problems accessing the assistance they need because their income structure is different than business or other sectors, the prime minister explained.
Bell announced it has acquired 1.5 million protective face masks and the company will be donating them to help equip healthcare and other frontline public workers throughout Canada in the fight against the pandemic.
The N95 and KN95 masks are being donated to the federal, provincial, and territorial governments for distribution in “every region of the country,” according to Canada’s largest communications company.
“Healthcare professionals, first responders and public servants of all kinds are working courageously to keep Canadians safe and well as our country copes with COVID-19, and many have been facing shortages of the protective equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of Bell Canada. “Bell is proud to put our scale and global reach to work to help protect the people on the front lines of public health and safety with this donation.”
Justin Trudeau announced over $1 billion in support for small businesses and startups that have not qualified for the Emergency Business Business Account (CEBA) and federal wage subsidy.
On Friday, Trudeau said that $962 million will be made available to regional and community development agencies and the Community Futures Network, which will help small and medium-sized businesses that do not qualify for CEBA, especially for those in rural communities.
“More businesses and smaller employees in rural areas need to get the proper support,” Trudeau said.
Transat AT Inc. has announced its intention to use the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to bring the company’s 4,000 employees — who were laid off temporarily — back to work.
On March 23, Transat announced the temporary layoff of 70% of its staff when it was forced by the pandemic to temporarily suspend its flights. Other layoffs followed which eventually affected 80% of its workforce.
According to the company’s news release, employees who are recalled will receive 75% of their baseline salary for a maximum of $847 per week.
Transat employees will not be required to work as part of the recall.
It has been 11 days since the Government of Canada opened the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit to Canadians who are out of work due to the crisis, and in that time over 7.5 million residents have since been paid through the program.
Given that Canada’s current population is 37.89 million, according to Stats Canada, that accounts for nearly one out of every five Canadians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Friday during his daily coronavirus update, stating that public servants have been processing CERB requests “at record speeds.”