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  • Writer's pictureFroese Law

Canada’s Response to Coronavirus

With the World Health Organization’s proclamation that the Coronavirus is a global pandemic, there is the realization that the Coronavirus is a significant (!) global issue that is having impact beyond the immediate health concerns. There is concern that there could be a serious economic impact. To that end, the Canadian government issued its policy response on March 11, 2020 on how it will prepare to handle the impact of Coronavirus, which should be of interest to our Canadian-based clients.

Bottom line: currently the Canadian government is investing $1 billion into managing the health, economic and social impacts that Coronavirus may have on Canada and will work closely with local, provincial and international authorities.

Because we believe that knowledge is power, we wanted to share with you what the Canadian government is doing to manage the impact of Coronavirus in hopes that it brings you some peace of mind and an understanding of some of the government tools that are available during this time. The official government document can be found here.

Below is a summary of the Canadian government’s plan:

– Invest $50 million in public education and public health communications to keep Canadian’s apprised of developments;

– Invest $500 million to provinces’ health care systems and their mitigation efforts;

– Provide support to workers in quarantine or who have been self isolated by waiving the mandatory 1 week waiting period to claim employment insurance;

– Enhance work sharing programs to enable employers and their businesses to participate in these programs for an extended period of time;

– Invest $100 million into First Nations and Inuit health care systems;

– Invest $275 million into research into the Coronavirus;

– Invest $50 million into providing adequate personal protective supplies such as surgical masks, face shields and isolation gowns for the Public Health Agency of Canada;

– Invest $50 million to support the WHO prepare less developed countries for the outbreak.

The Canadian government has also considered the possible economic impacts and is prepared to “act swiftly to stimulate the economy”. Below are examples of what we may see. Based on the wording of the official statement, it appears that these policies are less defined and are subject to change.

– Invest in Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to increase lending opportunities for Canadian businesses;

– Establish flexible arrangements for businesses trying to meet payment obligations with the Canada Revenue Agency;

It is likely (and hopeful) that the government will adjust its policies to address the impact of Coronavirus as it takes shape. We will be sure to notify you of changes.

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