The Senate has passed the $82-billion aid package that passed through the House of Commons shortly before 6:00 a.m. this morning meaning Canadians will soon have access to financial aid. It was highly debated as members of the Opposition would not pass the Bill that contained taxing and spending powers for the federal government without requiring Parliament approval. The Liberals did agree to scale them back enough to get unanimous consent.
In his daily address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) will replace what was announced last week in order to streamline the process of getting money to Canadians. The CERB will put $2,000 a month for the next four months into the pockets of people who are unemployed, sick or quarantined, caring for someone who is ill or taking care of children. An online portal will be launched and after applying for relief, it will be 10 days when people will see the money. Almost a million people applied for Employment Insurance across Canada last week.
Trudeau was pressed by one reporter about why going into quarantine is not mandatory and only required for returning travellers. Repeating that it is required, he moved onto the next question. Trudeau explained why returning Canadians are not having their temperatures taken through thermometers or thermal screening after reports of travellers masking symptoms of COVID-19 in order to get back into the country. He said it was a lesson learned during the SARS epidemic that those testing methods can sometimes fail and give a false reading and give a false sense of security to the person tested.
The Prime Minister also thanked the media and reporters for continuing to provide a vital flow of information to Canadians. He said there will be federal financial aid for media outlets that are seeing advertisement revenue vanish rapidly.
*** Story by Wendy Gray ***