Trudeau: More ‘stringent measures’ will come if Canadians ignore COVID-19 guidelines

Parliament to debate emergency spending and government powers in COVID-19 fight

Canadians could see harsher measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country if they do not follow the guidelines already in place.

That was the message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday morning (March 24), as he gave his now-daily update from the steps of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

“The duration of this crisis will be determined by the decisions we make right now. If you want things to go back to normal, do your part. Stay home,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau unveiled an unprecedented $82-billion financial aid package last week, which involved waiving the one-week waiting period for EI and creating a similar benefit for people who did not qualify for EI but were negatively affected by COVID-19.

Nearly 1,000,000 people have applied for EI in recent weeks as result of the coronavirus pandemic and some have reported struggles to get in touch with government representatives.

Trudeau said he understood that people were worried about getting money “directly and quickly,” but did not directly respond to a question about why cheques were not being sent to all tax filers to expedite that, as has been discussed in the U.S.

He said the measures before Parliament are meant to address issues with timeliness of the just-announced aid.

Conservatives have said they would support the emergency aid measure, but not a Liberal “power grab,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said.

Trudeau said the federal Emergencies Act, which would give sweeping new powers to his government, wasn’t necessary yet. He said premiers, with whom he spoke on Monday, said they didn’t believe there was a need for it at this point. However, he said it was not off the table amid the quickly changing situation.

As of Tuesday, there are more than 2,100 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 25 deaths. Thirteen of those deaths are in B.C.

Chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said nearly 120,000 people have been tested.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said when the virus first came to Canada, 80 to 90 per cent of cases were linked to travel abroad. But in the last week, nearly 90 per cent of cases reported to the public health agency came from spread of the virus within the community.

Tam says this is a “fundamental shift.”

If Canada is going to get a handle on community spread, then social distancing and maintaining a two-metre barrier between people is essential, she said.

“Our primary strategy is to ensure that people are self-isolating when they should be and that everyone is respecting social distancing. That, in and of itself, will cut down on the change of transmission…” Tam said Tuesday.

“I can’t emphasize how important that is.”

READ MORE: Trudeau announces new flights to Peru, Americas to repatriate stranded Canadians

READ MORE: Parliament to debate emergency spending and government powers in COVID-19 fight

READ MORE: B.C. reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths but 100 people have recovered, Henry says

– With files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

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

Just Posted

Three arrests on guns, drug charges after shots fired in Oliver

Two men from Penticton involved in arrests at Oliver home with assault rifles and drugs

Heads up, it’s fawning season in Penticton

Baby deer seen frolicking through downtown Penticton Wednesday afternoon

Okanagan School of the Arts evicted from Penticton’s Shatford Centre

The school faced massive revenue loss during the COVID-19 pandemic

Penticton RCMP express concern over allowing public drinking

RCMP said they expressed their concern to the city but will do their best ensure safety

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Most Read