Canada expands emergency benefit package, as Trudeau warns economic shutdown could last longer

(Cover photo: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons as legislators convene to give the government power to inject billions of dollars in emergency cash to help individuals and businesses through the economic crunch caused by the coronavirus disease outbreak, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 11. Reuters/Blair Gable)

More help for more people, as Canada’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, with almost 29,000 as of Thursday.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced wider access for Canada’s emergency response benefit to those with minimal income and seasonal workers.

They’re also topping up pay for essential workers making under $2500 a month, as more cities continue to show their appreciation for frontliners.

“I will discuss with provincial and territorial leader the importance of getting this wage boost in place as quickly as possible. As we face unprecedented threat to public health, you are our most important line of defense. We will do whatever we can to help you do your job and support you during this time,” said Trudeau.

The country’s death toll for COVID-19 also breached the 1,000 mark, with half of the deaths happening in long term care homes.

Trudeau is scheduled to meet with premiers from different provinces Thursday night to discuss how they can protect seniors more.

“The uncomfortable and tragic truth is that the very places that care for our elderly are the most vulnerable to COVID 19. We all need to do better, take leadership for the seniors who built this country.”

With this reality, the prime minister added it will take weeks before government would consider easing COVID-19 restrictions.

And he said it won’t be a one size fits all for provinces across the country.

Canada’s border restrictions with the United States will also remain in place for a significant period of time, despite reports that U.S.-Canada border restrictions could be lifted earlier.

With lockdowns still in effect, this hasn’t stopped a neighborhood in Pickering, Ontario from holding a regular dance party in front of their doorways, with social distancing in place.

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