We understand that Canadians are worried, and that many businesses need support as we work through this evolving global challenge of COVID-19. We want to assure you that we have your back – we will do whatever it takes to ensure Canadians have confidence and to keep our economy strong. We have taken significant steps, and we will have more to say next week about a further stimulus package for Canadians that is in the works.
To ensure that you, as business leaders and entrepreneurs, have the most up-to-date information about our government’s approach, we have started hosting regular conference calls. If you would like to be included in these calls, please fill in this Google form with your name, email, and organization.
As we address the evolving global challenge of COVID-19, we wanted to touch base with all of you mid-month to give you an update of the work we are doing across government. We are doing everything in our power to support businesses and workers, and to ensure the safety of Canadians. You can find live updates and information about Canada’s response to COVID-19 here: http://canada.ca/coronavirus/.
UPDATES FROM TODAY:
Earlier today, Minister Morneau announced we are making $10 billion available to Canadian businesses through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank of Canada, in addition to the Bank of Canada Governor cutting the interest rate to 0.75% and the Superintendent of Financial Institutions announcing an additional $300 billion in lending capacity by the major banks. Canada’s strong fiscal position means we are well-positioned to respond to any challenges, and our approach includes measures to prepare for the possible broader impacts on our people, our economy, and our small businesses. With the situation remaining very dynamic, more information about the timing of Budget 2020 will come in due time.
Ministers Blair, Hajdu, and Garneau also announced that Canada has advised Canadians to avoid non-essential international travel, that the cruise season is suspended until July, and that we are bringing in additional screening measures at all international airports, as well as land border, ferry, and rail ports of entry.
The new NAFTA was ratified and received royal assent today after Government House Leaders of all parties announced their unanimously decision to suspend the House until April 20, 2020. At a time when our economy and the global economy are facing significant challenges from COVID-19, we all know the importance of maintaining market access to our closest trading partner.
As the Prime Minister said today during his press conference, every order of government is working together to stop the spread of the virus. We are also in constant contact with our international partners, and we continue to base our decisions on the advice of our excellent public health experts and authorities.
As well, since Canadian businesses and suppliers may be experiencing cash flow and liquidity issues, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has directed all government departments to ensure early or prompt payment of invoices in order to help alleviate these issues.
RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES:
Today, we launched a new webpage that serves as a one-stop-shop for Canadian businesses – focusing on the following four considerations: supporting your employees, financial implications and business preparedness, business travel and events, and doing business in international markets. On this webpage, you will find a link to a comprehensive pandemic preparedness guide created by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
OVERVIEW OF ACTION TAKEN:
Since February 4, 2020, the Government of Canada has deployed approximately 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China, to support its ongoing response to the outbreak.
On February 11, 2020, the Government of Canada provided $2 million to the World Health Organization to help vulnerable countries prepare and respond to coronavirus events.
On March 5, 2020, the Prime Minister created an ad hoc Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and vice-chaired by the President of the Treasury Board, the committee comes together regularly to ensure whole-of-government leadership, coordination, engagement, and preparedness to limit the health, economic, and social impacts of the virus.
On March 6, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $27 million to fund coronavirus research. This will support 47 research teams from across Canada, with a focus on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 11, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund, which include actions to:
- Help Canadians make informed decisions and take action to protect their health and their communities by providing $50 million to support the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 communications and public education efforts.
- Further support public health preparedness by providing $500 million to provinces and territories for critical health care system needs and to support mitigation efforts as needed.
- Provide support to workers in quarantine who will claim Employment Insurance sickness benefits by waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period.
- Introduce enhancements to the Work-Sharing program to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19.
- Support federal public health measures such as enhanced surveillance, increased testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory, and ongoing support for preparedness in First Nations and Inuit communities, by providing $100 million.
- Enhance Canada’s capacity in research and development by providing $275 million in additional funding building, on top of the recent $27 million announcement to fund coronavirus research in Canada.
- Provide $50 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada to go towards personal protective equipment for provinces and territories, as well as to address federal needs.
- Address the worldwide outbreak and help more vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to the virus by contributing an additional $50 million to support the efforts of the World Health Organization and other partners.
ONGOING SUPPORT FOR CANADIAN TRAVELLERS:
Border measures: Travellers arriving at all major Canadian airports and land border crossings receive information and, if coming from high-risk areas, are screened to determine steps needed to protect their health and that of others. All travellers are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and to contact the local public health authority in their province or territory if they feel sick.
Travel advice: Global Affairs Canada is continually updating its guidance to travellers through travel health notices to inform Canadians of countries where the level of risk to health associated with COVID-19 is elevated.
Consular assistance: Global Affairs Canada is providing 24/7 consular support to Canadians affected by COVID-19 through the Emergency Watch and Response Centre and through consular staff at its network of missions abroad.
Assisted departures: The Government of Canada has supported the repatriation of Canadians from high-risk areas, including Wuhan, China, the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Yokohoma, Japan, and the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in San Francisco, USA.
You can find more details here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse/government-canada-takes-action-covid-19.html
As always, please reach out to a member of our team at any time if we can be of assistance:
- Simon Beauchemin, Director of Policy – firstname.lastname@example.org (While he is on vacation until March 23, you can contact anyone on the team below).
- Ivana Spasovska, Senior Special Assistant, Regional Affairs and Stakeholder Relations (Ontario) – email@example.com
- Ryan Nearing, Press Secretary and Regional Advisor (Atlantic) – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zach Nixon, Special Assistant, Regional Affairs (Quebec and Ontario) – Zachary.email@example.com
- Youmy Han, Special Assistant, Regional Affairs (West and North) – firstname.lastname@example.org