COVID-19 Update for March 22, 2020 – 12:00pm

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau focused on the measures the government is taking to help Canadians and stabilize the economy at his regularly scheduled news conference this morning.

He thanked hospital workers, grocery clerks, pharmacists, postal workers, delivery people and others who are continuing to work so that others can maintain social distancing.

In response to questions, the Prime Minister said that the federal government continues to monitor the situation but that it is not yet at the stage where federal emergency powers are needed to go beyond that level.

House of Commons to be recalled

The Prime minister confirmed that the House of Commons will be reconvened Tuesday, March 24 at noon to pass the emergency legislation for the $82-billion stimulus package.

To pass legislation, 20 MPs in the House including the Speaker are required for a quorum. It is expected each party will send a handful of MPs to Parliament for Tuesday.

The Prime Minister was clear that measures in addition the $82 billion in direct support and tax deferral announced last week will be considered in to “set the groundwork for our economy to rebound.”

Update on repatriation

Trudeau confirmed that the first emergency flight to repatriate Canadians landed last night from Morocco. A number of other flights are planned to bring thousands of Canadians back home in the coming days.

However, he said some three million Canadians are outside the country at any one time and that the federal government does not have the ability to bring everyone home.

Social distancing

Trudeau closed the news conference by strongly reiterating the importance of social distancing – “we each have an opportunity to flatten the curve of this virus”.

This announcement came on the heels of Nova Scotia declaring a provincial emergency and implementing some of the most stringent policies in the country including restricting gatherings of 5 people or more and confirming they will issue fines to those who break these new rules.

The Enterprise Team

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