Good evening – here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ottawa to provide $2,000 a month to help workers affected by COVID-19
- Travellers returning to Canada will be legally obligated to self-isolate
- Alberta will declare oil workers essential
- Ontario projects $20.5-billion deficit for 2020-21
Number of the day
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.
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.
- 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:
- My income has been disrupted due to COVID-19. What benefits are available to me?
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off
- Layoffs, salary, EI and more: coronavirus and employment questions answered
Coronavirus in Canada
3,281: cases in Canada reported; with 186 recoveries and 30 deaths.
- In Ontario, the government tabled an interim economic update that pledges $10-billion in tax deferrals, mostly for businesses, and $7-billion in new spending on health care and payments to seniors and parents. The province also reported 100 new cases today. Toronto closed some green spaces in a bid to stop people gathering in groups.
- In Ontario and British Columbia, major cities are considering closing roads to traffic to make space for social distancing. “The streets are yours," said Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. “We just have to now rethink what our infrastructure does during this time of COVID-19 health crisis.”
- Despite working conditions that are ripe for a COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta’s oil sands workers will be declared essential in the province’s response to coronavirus, sources say.
- In Quebec, two more people have died of COVID-19. Quebeckers are in the battle of their lives against COVID-19, Premier François Legault said.
- In Newfoundland, a woman was arrested for violating public health emergency orders.
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.
- 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.
- Three major mall owners have temporarily closed their shopping centres in Quebec and Ontario.
- Leon’s Furniture is laying off 3,900 employees while Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler plan to extend a current shutdown in North America.
- The Canadian Malartic mine in Quebec is temporarily shutting down. It’s the biggest gold mine in the country.
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.
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.
Toronto employment lawyer Daniel Lublin answered frequently asked questions about COVID-19′s impact on the work force. Some questions include:
- If my employer shuts down because of COVID-19, am I entitled to severance?
- If I have COVID-19, am I entitled to my salary while quarantined?
- What types of questions can my employer ask me related to COVID-19?
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:
- What are the rules around temporarily laying off employees?
- My boss wants me to self-quarantine without pay. Is that legal?
- Is this a bad time to be switching jobs?
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 email@example.com
More Globe reporting and opinion:
- “Up here, it doesn’t even feel like COVID-19 exists”: Urbanites run for country homes and cottages
- How do I convince loved ones to take social-distancing seriously?
- Will the COVID-19 breakout put an end to new movies? Plus: a guide to small-screen series available on services from Netflix to Crave to CBC Gem
- A coalition of Canadian charities is asking Ottawa for a $10-billion stabilization fund.
- A Vancouver company that provides housing to students is experiencing an uptick in business.
- Laura Risk: “As we livestream our way through the next weeks or months, let’s remember the power of music to bring us together physically.”
- Max Fawcett: “With the right intervention and support, this Prime Minister Trudeau could have a far bigger impact on Alberta’s future than the last one ever did with the National Energy Program.”
- Sarah Kendzior: “Everything to Donald Trump is transactional, and you – all of you – are the transaction.”
- How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada? The latest maps and charts.
- Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world
- Coronavirus and employment questions answered and how you can apply for EI and other government supports
- How to minimize damage to your credit score through the financial slog to come.
- Here’s how to self-isolate. How are condo buildings are encouraging social distancing and how can you help slow the spread of coronavirus?
- What to do if you think you have the virus and what essentials to buy if you think you might need to self-isolate. And how to clean your space effectively.
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