PM Trudeau Started $82 billion Financial Help, Premier Horgan Announced Schools Suspended and More
“…make sure that no matter where you live, what you do, or who you are, you will get the support you need during this time…”
--The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
(Originally posted on March 17, 2020)
PM Trudeau Announced $82 billion Financial Help
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Canada- U.S. border will close to all non-essential travel, and that the federal government is prepared to spend a combined $82 billion on direct financial help and economic stimulus in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Among the “extraordinary” aid measures unveiled: deferring the tax deadline, boosting the Canada Child Benefit, wage subsidies for small businesses, and targeted assistance for vulnerable demographics to help “bridge to better times.”
The prime minister said that all Canadians will feel the consequences of COVID-19, and many are wondering how long the current restrictions are going to last, and whether they can endure them.
PM Trudeau said the government’s suite of measures are meant to “make sure that no matter where you live, what you do, or who you are, you will get the support you need during this time.”
“In Canada, public health should never hinge on financial considerations,” Trudeau said.
Moments before PM Trudeau began speaking, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the border between Canada and the United States will be "temporarily" closed to tourists and visitors, "by mutual consent."
The major new economic measures that the federal government is taking in response to COVID-19 include $27 billion in direct assistance to workers and families, as well as making $55 billion available in liquidity to businesses to help stabilize the economy.
Speaking from self-isolation for the third time in as many days, the prime minister addressed the nation on the latest moving parts in his government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he remains symptom-free.
Sickness benefits beyond EI: For Canadians without paid sick leave or access to employment insurance sickness benefits, the government is introducing a new Emergency Care Benefit that will provide up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks. The benefit, which the government estimates could cost up to $10 billion, is for workers who must self-isolate, those who are caring for a family member sick with COVID-19 and parents who are unable to earn income while schools are closed as a result of child-care duties.
Unemployment benefits beyond EI: Ottawa will also be extending income supports to workers who lose their jobs or see their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic.
The Canada Revenue Agency will provide up to $5 billion for unemployed workers without access to EI through the new Emergency Support Benefit.
Economists had been calling on the government to introduce paid leave for those who typically are ineligible for EI benefits, such as freelancers, contractors, shift workers and those who labour in the gig economy.
Wage subsidy: To help prevent layoffs, the government is also eyeing a measure that would provide businesses struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19 with a subsidy equal to 10 per cent of employee wages, up to $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
Income supports: Trudeau said Ottawa will also temporarily boost the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) over the coming months. The government is proposing to boost the maximum annual CCB payment amounts by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year.
Families receiving the CCB will get an extra $300 per child as part of their May payment, the government said.
Ottawa will also double the maximum annual Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC), providing an average income boost of $400 for low-income income individuals and close to $600 for couples.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters single parents could be eligible for up to $1,500 in support from the two measures combined.
Tax deadline postponed: Ottawa is moving the tax-filing deadline from April 30 to June 1 for individuals, mirroring a similar move implemented in the U.S. Individual taxpayers will also be able to defer payments on taxes owed to August 31 interest-free.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada welcomed the decision to move the tax deadline. However, the association also noted that Ottawa “did not provide a comprehensive update on all tax deadlines including some quickly approaching.”
Moratorium on student loan payments: Trudeau said the government is also proposing a six-month, interest-free moratorium on the repayment of federal student loans.
Lower mandatory withdrawals for retirees: Morneau said Canadian retirees will be allowed to make smaller withdrawals from their retirement accounts.
Help for Canadian businesses: The Canadian government will allow businesses to defer payments of income tax amounts until after Aug. 31. No interest or penalties will accumulate.
The government will also increase the tax credits available to small, medium and large businesses.
Trudeau was followed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who elaborated on new economic supports aimed at offsetting the wide-ranging impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak and subsequent shutdowns.
"COVID-19 is having a significant impact on our economy, an impact that continues to evolve. At this stage, the full breadth and the scope of the impact remain unknown,” Morneau said. "Clearly the impacts of this pandemic have been profound and will continue to be profound. Households and businesses are already feeling the effects.”
BC Premier Announced Province Emergency and Schools Suspended Indefinitely
Given the current status of the COVID-19 outbreak, Premier John Horgan announced that the B.C. government has suspended all schools in the province until further notice to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 On Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
While the majority of provincial public schools are already on spring break, any remaining schools that have not yet closed are being directed to do so now.
Minister of Education Rob Fleming emphasized that we have been taking action to protect our students and staff.
Joyful Seniors Home
More Seniors Welcome and more Volunteers are Appreciated
The volunteers from the WS Multicultural Services Society have been helping elders to shop over the years, especially since the Coronavirus outbreak, helping some elders with a higher risk of going out is getting more often. According to their shopping lists, we help them shopping at various merchants, and then deliver them to their home for free. In the process, we learned that little more elderly people live alone. Although our volunteers have been helping them to shop and basically meet their needs for material life, their loneliness and fear of the epidemic are not really resolved, so we are willing to try our best to have many "Joyful Seniors Home" to house as many elderly people who really need help to live together under the eaves of many large houses. All expenses are shared according to actual expenses. Volunteers contribute their own time, energy and caring to take care of these elders 24 hours: provide exquisite and delicious three meals a day and two snacks; provide one separate room for each senior; have at least one seminar on topics of concern from the elderly each day; visits by doctors and nurses and perform regular physical examinations once every week; small special art performances thoughtfully prepared for the elderly once a week; drive and company the elderly to go out to see doctors, thus hopefully really allows them to enjoy their old age carefree. If you want to volunteer, and you, or any of your relatives and friends need such “group home” help, feel free to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call / text at 778 863 5828.
Sites for COVID-19 Updates and
Suggestion for trusted Information Sources:
BC Centre for Disease Control (www.bccdc.ca): has the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19. Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Health Minister generally brief the public at 3:30 pm on weekdays, which is available live from many social media platforms, radio and TV channels including Titter @BCGovNews, BC1, Global BC (Facebook live-stream: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalBC/), etc.;
BC Ministry of Health: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/health;
Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html;
World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int
With the Wuhan experience and the caring to all the people over the world, many Chinese doctors now are seeing Coronavirus related patient online for free: WeDoctor Global Consultation and Prevention Centre (available in English and in Chinese): https://promo.guahao.com/en/global/pneumonia/?_cp=1&cs=share&from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0.
Canada is so vast and materially scarce. Because of the COVID-19, I have recently seen many reports of short-selling supermarkets, and many people are asking: Where can I buy mouth masks? Where can I get hand sanitizer? Where has the toilet paper? …Here I will share my very own shopping experiences, and I hope it is helpful to you.
N95 mouth masks, occationally are available at various Canadian Tire stores around Greater Vancouver area; hope to save more those masks for the medcial staff who are working closely with COVID-19 patients 大温哥华地区各个加拿大轮胎店偶尔有少量 N95 口罩出售；希望更多这样的口罩能够留给与新冠患者密切接触的医务人员
N95 mouth masks, occationally are available at the Home Depot stores around Greater Vancouver area; make sure to check their websites or call to comfirm before you go shopping 在大温哥华的多个 The Home Depot stores，偶尔有少量 N95 口罩出售，去之前你最好先查询他们的网站或是打电话确认一下，以免跑了空路
Various mouth masks at PlanetClean, photo taken in Feb. 2020
Delon Hand Sanitizer at Costco Richmond, photo taken on March 13, 2020
2020年3月13日Costco Richmond 有免洗消毒擦手液
Masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap and more at Various Canadian Tire stores, and some of them are even on sale 各个加拿大轮胎店有多种多样的口罩、免洗消毒擦手液、洗手液等，而且还打折！
Lot of toilet paper at Super Store 厕纸储量丰富
Plenty of rice and more at Beautiful Save on Food
Save on Food 食品丰富，还洋溢着节日的气氛
Fresh fruits and vegetables at T & T are a good source to help you to stay health
Stay strong, supportive, kind and caring for each other, and look out for our neighbours and communities, together we can beat COVID-19!
（Followed in Chinese）