COVID-19 Update for April 15, 2020 – 12:30pm

Today’s address from the Prime Minister focused on new actions to expand access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, more financial support for essential workers and launching a new online platform called “Wellness Together Canada” to provide free mental health supports to Canadians.

Expanded Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning that the government is expanding the CERB. Now, Canadians earning less than $1,000 a month and those whose EI benefits have recently run out will be eligible. In addition, out-of-work seasonal workers and frontline workers who work a small number of hours are also eligible. Artists who receive copyright revenue can also now exclude it from their income to help them qualify.

The Prime Minister will also be working with the Premiers to top up the pay of essential workers who make less than $2,500 per month to get them to that threshold.

He also hinted at future assistance coming for post-secondary students and businesses with worries about commercial rent payments.

Expanding Testing

The government is working with LuminUltra from New Brunswick to ramp up the production and supply of COVID-19 tests to meet the growing national demand. The government has also received new boxes of test swabs and will be meeting with the G7 leaders tomorrow to discuss a more co-ordinated response.

Mental Health Portal

The government is launching Wellness Together Canada, an online portal to provide free mental health services to Canadians who are struggling to deal with the pandemic and its impacts on everyday life. The new platform includes online resources as well as text and phone-in hotlines.

Reopening the Economy

When asked by reporters about reopening the economy, Trudeau noted that it would be “weeks more” before restrictions are lifted. He cautioned that if we move too quickly to lift restrictions it could cause even more damage to Canadians and the economy. He reiterated that the government will be extremely careful in its recovery approach and asked Canadians to continue being patient.

World Health Organization

The Prime Minister was asked about United States President Donald Trump’s announcement to halt U.S. funding to the WHO. He noted that Canada contributes roughly $10 million a year and confirmed that the United States has not, directly or indirectly, asked Canada to halt funding.

The Prime Minister did not provide any comment when asked if he shares the concerns of others, including the opposition, on how well the WHO handled the initial COVID-19 outbreak in China. He hinted that there will be “many reflections on various institutions and systems, both domestically and internationally” in the future.

We hope you are finding these COVID-19 updates useful. In addition to trying to keep on top of the fast-changing situation, Enterprise is also working to support local charities during these challenging times. If you are able, your contributions to this effort would be deeply appreciated.

To donate, please click on the link.

Many thanks.

Stay safe. Stay healthy.

The Enterprise Team

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