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Good evening – here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines
  1. Ottawa to provide $2,000 a month to help workers affected by COVID-19
  2. Travellers returning to Canada will be legally obligated to self-isolate
  3. Alberta will declare oil workers essential
  4. Ontario projects $20.5-billion deficit for 2020-21

Have questions about the coronavirus? E-mail audience@globeandmail.com. The Globe’s paywall has been removed on coronavirus news stories.


In a measure against the spread of the coronavirus, municipal workers disinfect the Giza pyramids necropolis in Egypt.

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images


Number of the day

$2,000

The federal government will provide workers who lose income because of the COVID-19 pandemic $2,000 a month for the next four months under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The new benefit is included in Bill C-13, emergency legislation approved by the House of Commons this morning.

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More program details:

  • The benefit is available for unemployed Canadians who do not qualify for EI.
  • The program combines two benefit programs, the emergency-care and emergency-support benefits, announced last week.
  • An application portal will be launched soon, but money is unlikely to start flowing to Canadians until April 6.

“We are absolutely looking at more direct help for businesses,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Previously, business grouped called on the government to subsidize wages.

  • Elsewhere: A new poll shows 44 per cent of households reported lost work because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Another 18 per cent said they expected to lose work in the near future.

What workers need to know:


Coronavirus in Canada

3,281: cases in Canada reported; with 186 recoveries and 30 deaths.

In Ottawa, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government will use powers in the Quarantine Act to ensure that returning travellers are subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation. Essential workers are excluded.


Coronavirus around the world

451,844: cases confirmed around the world; with 113,058 recoveries and 20,502 deaths reported.

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  • Britain’s Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus late Tuesday and is self-isolating in Scotland.
  • Senior U.S. Senate Republicans and Democrats said they agreed on an unprecedented, US$2-trillion stimulus bill in the early hours of Wednesday after five days of talks.
  • On the first day of the nationwide 21-day shutdown of nearly all services, the streets of Mumbai, India were silent. The state-ordered closing of virtually all commerce in the country has put millions of people out of work and left many families struggling to eat.
  • Indian-American chef Floyd Cardoz, who competed on Top Chef, won Top Chef Masters and operated successful restaurants in both India and New York, died Wednesday of complications from the coronavirus at 59.
  • Watch: Spain registered an overnight jump of more than 730 deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, pushing the death toll above that of China.
  • One week after declaring that the coronavirus outbreak was “under control” in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has been forced to postpone an April 22 referendum on proposed constitutional changes that would allow him to stay in power until 2036.

World news: The world’s biggest maker of medical gloves by volume, Top Glove Corp Bhd in Malaysia, has the capacity to make 200 million gloves a day, but a supplier shutdown has left it with only two weeks’ worth of boxes to ship them in.


Coronavirus and business:

What happened today?

The shutdown of non-essential businesses in Quebec and Ontario is leading to more factory closings and job losses. About half of the economy of Ontario and Quebec is shut down, said Sébastien Lavoie, chief economist at Laurentian Bank.

And: Small business owners’ confidence is at an all-time low of 30.8 (out of a possible 100) while some executive teams have taken pay cuts. “My primary objective is this: How do I make sure the business is strong so that I’m around when demand improves?” said one executive.

What happened in the markets?
  • On Bay Street: The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX was up 4.5 per cent at the close, buoyed by the $27-billion stimulus bill that was approved today. The energy sector jumped 8 per cent, while financial stocks increased 6.7 per cent.
  • On Wall Street: The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.3 per cent as the U.S. Senate debated a US$2-trillion stimulus package. The S&P 500 rose 1.13 per cent, while the Nasdaq dropped 0.45 per cent.

Reader question

Question: My job has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. What do I do now?

Answer: Wherever you live and work, chances are your workplace has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses have closed, either voluntarily or under provincial bans on non-essential services, and those closings and layoffs have affected hundreds of thousands of people.

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Toronto employment lawyer Daniel Lublin answered frequently asked questions about COVID-19′s impact on the work force. Some questions include:

Though the federal and some provincial governments have introduced income supports for workers that don’t qualify for EI benefits, many businesses have called for larger wage subsidies to prevent layoffs, as well as a broad freeze on payments to government.

Get a second opinion:

Have a question that you’d like answered? Send them to NineToFive@globeandmail.com. You can also check The Globe’s digest of the latest news about COVID-19′s spread around the world.

Because the pandemic is such an unprecedented event, the legal landscape will be changing quickly. There may be considerations about your personal situation which make the information here inapplicable to you. To obtain advice that relates to your personal circumstances, the best route is to contact an employment lawyer.

Need more answers? E-mail audience@globeandmail.com

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More Globe reporting and opinion:

Information centre:

What are we missing? Email us: audience@globeandmail.com.

Do you know someone who needs this newsletter? Send them to our Newsletters page.

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

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