Continued Support for Canadians in the Time of COVID-19: Safe Restart, CEWS Extension and Support for Canadians with Disabilities

Over the last few months, we have seen a true team Canada effort across the country, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian individuals and businesses have stepped up to ensure the safety of their communities.

July 29, 2020 – Surrey, BC

Over the last few months, we have seen a true team Canada effort across the country, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian individuals and businesses have stepped up to ensure the safety of their communities.

As our economy begins to re-open, we return to work, and our communities get more active, we must remain cautious and continue to follow the advice of Canada’s Public Health officials. This will help us avoid another surge in cases, as we have seen in other parts of the world. We are not out of the woods yet and must remain vigilant to protect our community’s most vulnerable populations.

To re-start our economy, the Government of Canada has been working hard to come to an agreement with the provinces and territories to create a Safe Restart Agreement. Safe Restart will focus on seven priorities to address Canadians’ immediate needs within the next 6-8 months:

  1. Testing, contact tracing, and data management

$4.28 billion from the Government of Canada to support the provinces and territories to increase testing, perform contact tracing, and share public health data that will help fight the pandemic. Our goal is that the provinces and territories will be able to test up to 200,000 people per day, nation-wide.

  1. Health care system capacity

$700 million to support health care system capacity to respond to a potential future wave of COVID-19 and $500 million to address immediate needs and gaps in the support and protection of people experiencing challenges related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness.

  1. Vulnerable populations

$740 million to support one-time costs for measures to control and prevent infections; including addressing staffing issues in long-term care, home care, and palliative care facilities and services and to support other vulnerable populations.

  1. Municipalities

$2 billion to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs. Provincial and territorial governments will cost-match federal supports with investments made this fiscal year. In addition, the Government of Canada will also cost-match approximately $1.8 billion to support any additional provincial/territorial contributions to for public transit.

  1. Personal protective equipment for health and non-health workers

$4.5 billion to purchase PPE for national use and commit $3 billion to provinces and territories for PPE investments. To facilitate future procurement, provinces and territories will share PPE-related data with the Government of Canada on a regular basis.

  1. Child care for returning workers

$625 million to address the need for child care spaces and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic.

  1. Pan-Canadian sick leave

$1.1 billion income support program will support workers who do not already have access to other paid sick leave, to take up to 10 days leave related to COVID-19.

Our government has also announced a number of other measures to continue to support Canadians; including Bill C-20 which was passed in the House of Commons unanimously on Tuesday July 21st. This Bill included changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and support for Canadians with disabilities.

The changes to the CEWS will provide broader and better targeted support so that workers can return to their jobs quickly as the economy restarts. To date, the CEWS has supported around 3 million Canadian workers stay on the payroll, and with these changes even more Canadian workers will benefit. These changes would:

  • Extend the subsidy until December 19, 2020, with details for a redesigned program until November 21, 2020;
  • Ensure that all eligible employers facing a revenue loss can qualify;
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy to those who have been the hardest hit by the pandemic;
  • And ensure that those currently using the program can continue to receive support, even as they

The redesigned CEWS will help employers rehire workers quickly as the economy improves, and better position themselves for the future.

We know this pandemic has deeply affected the lives and health of all Canadians, and disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities. From the beginning of this public health crisis, we have taken a disability-inclusive approach to our emergency response to ensure our actions supported and empowered Canadians with disabilities. That’s why we announced a one-time, tax-free payment of $600 to support Canadians with disabilities with extraordinary expenses incurred during the pandemic. Bill C-20 made the benefit available to more people and expanding the payment to include 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities.

Our government remains committed to a pandemic response and recovery that is disability inclusive and thanks the members of the COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group for their tireless work and valued input over the past few months. We all benefit when everyone can participate equally in our economy and society.

 

Randeep Sarai

Member of Parliament, Surrey Centre