COVID-19: Trudeau announces $350 million community support fund

Published On April 21, 2020 | By Anushka Yadav | COVID-19, News
Anushka Yadav

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to support Canada’s community and non-profit organizations.

“A portion of these funds will go directly to smaller independent frontline organizations, and the rest will flow through national organizations like the United Way community Foundation’s Canada and the Red Cross, that can get funds to local organizations and vulnerable people quickly,” Trudeau said in his daily briefing outside his home in Ottawa.

Companies looking forward to the 75 per cent wage subsidy for their employees will be able to get an estimate of how much money they’ll be able to claim using the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy calculator, the PM said. 

Employers can apply for the subsidy as of April 27.

“We hope to be able to get this help out to businesses to keep employees on their payroll as quickly as possible,” he said.

The wage subsidy program will provide up to $847 a week per employee for 12 weeks for charities as well as small and big companies. 

1729 deaths across Canada

Canada now has 37,398 confirmed cases, with 1,729 deaths and 12,918 recovered cases.   

Also on Tuesday, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam said public measures are working but Canadians “must stay the course.” 

The global count of coronavirus is now 2,501,156 confirmed cases with 171,810 deaths and 659,732 recovered. 

More aid in Ontario

The Ontario government, meanwhile, is investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to low-income seniors and persons with disabilities and chronic illnesses. 

The province is doubling its Guaranteed Annual Income System payments under which individuals currently receive up to $166 per month and couples will get up to $332 per month. 

The government led by Premier Doug Ford is also working to launch the Ontario Community Support Program with the Ontario Community Support Association to expand Meals on Wheels services to vulnerable Canadians. 

“As we face some of the darkest times in our province’s history, we have a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable in our society,

“Our seniors and people with disabilities are the most at risk during this crisis, and we must go above and beyond to ensure they get financial relief, food, medicine and other essentials without delay,” Ford said in his daily briefing in Toronto.

There are 551 new cases of COVID-19 with 38 new deaths in Ontario. The total count is now at 11,375 cases including 622 deaths. Out of the 38 people who died, 24 were living in long-term care homes. 

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau observes a moment of silence in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable

Trudeau also remembered and extended condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the Nova Scotia attack, including RCMP officer Const. Heidi Stevenson.

“Yesterday, when I offered my sympathies to the RCMP officers who support me. I was amazed to see how many of them knew Heidi and had incredibly fond memories of her work with her on the musical ride, they remembered her as an extraordinary person,” Trudeau said.

“It really goes to show just how tightly knit, not just the RCMP is as a force, but how close we are as a country,” he said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Heidi Stevenson, who was shot and killed by a gunman April 19, 2020, walks children across a street in a September 2015 photograph from the RCMP in Nova Scotia’s Facebook site. RCMP in Nova Scotia/Handout via REUTERS.

A national virtual vigil will be held on Friday night to honour the victims of Canada’s murderous shooting. 

Queen Elizabeth also sent condolences to Canada after the shooting.

“I also pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police services who selflessly responded to these devastating attacks, and to the emergency services who are supporting those who have been injured and affected,” the Queen said in her statement. 

Also on Tuesday, the Queen celebrated her 94th birthday at Windsor Castle in England, while practising social isolation with her husband Prince Philip. The United Kingdom has 129,044 confirmed cases with a death toll of 17,337. 

Oil prices weakened sharply for the first time ever as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) drops to minus $1.43 US a barrel on Monday. 

The slump is a result of oversupply and a collapse in global demand due to the decline in economic activity caused by coronavirus lockdown measures.

And reaction continued to the U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement late Monday that immigration to the his country will be temporarily suspended due to coronavirus. 

The suspension will come into effect after he signs an executive order. However, it is not clear which programmes will be affected due to the decision. 

The United States right now has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world with 800,932 cases and 43,006 deaths. 

A World Health Organization driver Pyae Sone Win Maung was killed in a conflict between Myanmar’s military and the armed ethnic Arakan Army group. 

The 28-year-old driver was out collecting COVID-19 monitoring samples when it was hit by gunfire in Rakhine State.

Myanmar has 121 confirmed cases with five deaths. 

Elsewhere, Singapore extended its lockdown until June 1 as coronavirus cases reached a total of 9,125 with and 11 deaths. 

“I hope you understand that this short-term pain is to stamp out the virus, protect the health and safety of our loved ones, and allow us to revive our economy,” said prime minister Lee Hsien Loong in a televised address. 

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