Federal government to introduce "significant fiscal stimulus package" in wake of coronavirus

Mar 13 2020, 11:38 am

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across Canada and around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that the federal government plans to introduce a “significant fiscal stimulus package in the days ahead” to help those who find themselves in a financial bind as a result of the ongoing situation.

Trudeau made the announcement from outside his home, where he is in 14-day isolation after his wife tested positive for coronavirus.

“All levels of government are … working together and coordinating efforts,” he said, adding that he knows people “are worried about health, families, jobs, saving, paying rent, kids not being in school” and are “concerned about¬†uncertainty in the global economy.”

But Canada, he said, is “in the enviable position of having significant fiscal firepower available to support you.”

He noted that this stimulus package “is in addition to the measures we’ve already taken” and that the finance minister is expected to have further details this afternoon.

“No one should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries, or additional childcare because of COVID-19,” said Trudeau. “We will help Canadians financially.”

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Friday’s announcement is in addition to the $1 billion response fund Trudeau announced earlier this week, which is meant to provide funding across the country to mitigate and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The prime minister said $500 million will be given to provinces and territories for critical healthcare system needs and mitigation efforts. This could include increased access to testing, acquisition of equipment, and enhanced surveillance and monitoring.

Trudeau also outlined that $200 million will be allocated to the federal level to buy more surgical masks, have increased public health response for Indigenous communities, and to increase the educational effort to responsibly inform the public about the disease.

Another $275 million will go towards coronavirus research and medical countermeasures.