The Federal Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis, Chandra Arya, MP Nepean



The Federal Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis, Chandra Arya, MP Nepean

The COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented and has affected every single country in the world. Probably for the first time in history, all countries have closed their borders to foreigners.

Society, individuals and businesses in every country are affected, and when things go back to normal, it will not all be the same again.

International trade (and, consequently, the economies of many countries) is taking a big hit. Canada is not immune. We too are severely affected – our communities, our economy, and in fact everything is negatively impacted by this crisis.

Individual Canadians and businesses are going through this tough economic time. Please remember that we will face this together, and we will get through this together.

Our government will be unwavering in our support for Canadians, our healthcare system, and our economy. The COVID-19 Emergency Response Act ensures that the government can provide Canadians with the support they need when they need it.

As a first step, we are providing immediate help to those Canadians and businesses that are most in need, including those who are without pay because of COVID-19, whether they are sick, caring for a loved one, unemployed or sent home.

At the same time, we will ensure that we have the tools and flexibility to respond to any emerging challenges. These measures are of national urgency, and we thank all parliamentarians for their cooperation to get people the help they need immediately.

Nearly 6 million Canadians are either self-employed or do not have enough hours of work to qualify for EI benefits. For them we are implementing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which provides $2 000 per month. We recognize that CERB might not address all the various work situations Canadians have right now, and we continue to look at ways to support all Canadians during this difficult time.

Our priority remains making sure all Canadians have the support they need, and we will continue working with our partners across the country to do so.

We are introducing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to support businesses that are hardest hit by the pandemic and protect the jobs Canadians depend on. The subsidy will cover 75% of an employee’s wages for employers of all sizes and across all sectors – including not-for-profits and charities – that have suffered a drop in gross revenues. The subsidy will provide up to $847 per employee, per week, between March 15th and June 6th. This significant support will help employers keep their staff on payroll, rehire those previously laid off, ensure workers can access a decent income, and position themselves to rebound when the outbreak has passed. We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that workers and businesses have the support they need during these difficult times.

We are implementing the Canada Emergency Business Account, which will provide $40 000 interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for-profits. These loans are guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10 000).

Our government has announced an investment of $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will provide funding to national, regional and local organizations across Canada that are able to reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity. These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, the Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and the Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians.
This funding will be used to purchase food and other basic necessities. It will help these organizations find new, creative ways to reach people in need so they can continue to carry out their important work while respecting physical distancing guidelines. They will be able to use the funding to buy or rent equipment and other materials to help address the unique needs of the communities they serve and the health-related challenges presented by COVID-19.

We have the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. Under CSJ, in summer 2019, we invested about $1.0 million in Nepean, funding about 100 organizations to employ about 250 young Canadians. This program will continue this year too. This year, unlike last year, we will be funding 100% of the salaries for all categories of employers (until last year, private sector employers were funded 50% of the salaries they paid).

We are reaching out again at this time to find any organizations that did not apply for CSJ 2020 funding (the deadline was in February 2020) but are interested now.



Chandra Arya

Member of Parliament / Député – Nepean