Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at ways to help vulnerable Canadians as well as small businesses and workers cover their bills should their lives be upended by COVID-19. (The Canadian Press)

Direct financial help coming for Canadians affected by COVID-19, Trudeau says

He says help would be targeted to vulnerable Canadians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at ways to get money directly into the pockets of Canadians so they can cover their bills should their lives be upended by COVID-19.

He says help would be targeted to vulnerable Canadians, as well as help to small businesses and workers who see disruptions in their earnings.

The heft of the stimulus package will likely come out this afternoon when Finance Minister Bill Morneau addresses reporters.

Trudeau says the government’s focus is on ensuring that Canadians have the resources and money they need to not have to stress about rent and groceries if they can’t go to work.

ALSO READ: Trudeau promises $1 billion for COVID-19 research, resilience

Private-sector economists warn that Canada is heading into a recession because of the economic shock of COVID-19, which may only be avoided with hefty stimulus spending from the federal government — as much as $20 billion, or roughly one per cent of GDP.

In an interview Friday, parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux said the novel coronavirus has made the short-term economic picture far bleaker than it was just a few weeks ago, especially when coupled with a sudden drop in oil prices.

The Liberals had promised to deliver a budget on March 30, but the House of Commons has now agreed not to sit until late April to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

The government needs to reassure the workers and businesses with concrete measures that even if not announced are at least promised to avoid steep losses and address the uncertainty that is roiling the economy, Giroux said.

ALSO READ: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19 — PMO

“The magnitude of these support measures are very hard to tell,” he said. A package of $20 billion isn’t “unreasonable,” Giroux added: “It depends on what the government wants to shield the economy from.”

In a separate report, Giroux’s office estimated that last month’s rail blockades will shave two-tenths of a percentage point off economic growth for the first quarter, with the effects dissipating through the rest of 2020.

The rail blockades sprung up in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in B.C. who oppose a natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Town of Oliver gives residents tax breaks, 50 per cent off first quarter utility fees

Mayor encourages residents to invest money back into the community if possible

Cougar caught on camera in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident caught a cougar prowling near their home

Dry March causes modest increases to Okanagan snowpack

The Okanagan region increased from 115 per cent of normal snowpack to 116 per cent

Summerland winery sold for $5.2 million

Property overlooking Okanagan Lake was on the market 160 days

City of Penticton launches emergency survey on financial impacts of COVID-19

Survey aims to give the City an idea of how to move ahead with relief and recovery measures

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Smiles, honks and waves as teachers stage parade for their students

Classrooms are closed, but kids and teachers manage to connect

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

COVID-19: B.C. students describe life during pandemic

Most teens wonder what the future will be like after COVID-19

COLUMN: Local journalism more important than ever before

Response to recent farm worker situation was concerning

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

Most Read