Trudeau unveils financial aid worth $82 billion to help Canadians weather coronavirus

[Financial Post – March 17, 2020]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to roll out a fiscal package worth 3% of Canada’s economy as it grapples with fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures will be worth a combined $82 billion (US$56.7 billion), Trudeau said Wednesday in Ottawa. This includes $27 billion in direct support for individuals and companies and $55 billion in temporary tax deferrals for both households and businesses.

The outlook, however, seems to be deteriorating quickly. The price of Canadian heavy crude slumped Wednesday below US$10 a barrel for the first time after oil-sands producers were forced to delay maintenance, pushing more oil into the market at the worst possible time.

“Right now we are focused on making sure that people who are not getting an income or revenue because of this COVID-19 challenge have the money to be able to pay for groceries, pay their rent, and support their families through this difficult time,” Trudeau said.

At a separate press conference, Finance Minister Bill Morneau called Wednesday’s measures the “first phase” of the response and said the government is prepared to do more if needed.
“I will do whatever it takes,” he said. “There will be more to come.”




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