Anthony Housefather
Member of Parliament for Mount Royal
COVID-19 Updates

Please note that information within these daily updates may have changed since the date it was published. To ensure you have up to date information on all programs, benefits, and announcements discussed in these daily updates, please visit official Government of Canada web pages.

August 5th COVID-19 Update

I want to start by expressing my deepest condolences to our Canadian Lebanese community. The tragedy that occurred in Beirut yesterday has touched all Canadians. Our Ministry of Global Affairs has reached out to all Canadians now in Lebanon and offered assistance as needed.

This is an incredibly sad and devastating moment in a country which has been already deeply impacted by COVID-19 and economic instability and Canada will continue to reach out and offer assistance where needed.

While Canada remains in mourning for the people of Beirut, we also continue our own fight against the pandemic. I want to thank all health care and essential workers who continue to do an incredible job protecting our health, allowing us to keep putting food on our plate, and buying the things we need most.

I want to share some key updates related to Canada’s efforts to combat the effects of COVID-19, including:

​-The government’s announcement of a plan for Canadians once the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program has ended

-The extension of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

-Government of Canada announces major steps in treating and preventing COVID-19 through vaccines and therapies

-Details on the new COVID Alert App available now

Please note that my next update will be sent out the week of August 17th unless there is urgent news we need to send out more quickly.

What Comes Next After the CERB Program Has Ended

As the Prime Minister announced last week, the Federal government will soon release further details on our plan for Canadians once the CERB has ended. While more details are expected to be released later this month, you can rest assured that Canadians looking for work will be supported, primarily through Employment Insurance.

The Prime Minister also announced that those who do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) such as contract or gig workers will be able to access a transitional parallel benefit that is similar to EI. It will include access to training and being able to work more hours and earn more money while receiving the benefit.

I will include any update related to this transition away from the CERB once more details are released.

Extension of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

Last, the government announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small business pay rent for August. All provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative, and collaborate with the federal government to provide rent supports to those small businesses most in need.

Despite the gradual lifting of restrictions and re-opening of businesses across the country, many small businesses continue to require assistance with their fixed costs to support them as they adapt to a new reality.

This extension will help provide Canadian small businesses most impacted by the shutdown with an extended bridge to recovery.

Across the country, thousands of small businesses who were forced to close or were especially hard hit have been able to use CECRA to help cover rent and position themselves to stay open and grow their revenues as the economy reopens.

The government encourages property owners to continue to make use of CECRA for eligible tenants, and to work to provide flexibility where possible to their tenants as they recover from the crisis.

As of July 30, 2020, 63,000 small business tenants have been supported, representing over 616,000 employees, for a total of over $613 million in rent support. Additionally, CMHC is working with large property owners to help provide CECRA to more than 20,000 small businesses.

Thousands of new applications continue to be regularly submitted, demonstrating a strong interest in CECRA from property owners and small business tenants and the importance of this one month extension as businesses get through this challenging period.

The government will continue to help ensure Canadians have what they need to pay their bills and keep their families safe and healthy during these challenging times.

Government of Canada announces major steps in treating and preventing COVID-19 through vaccines and therapies

The Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand announced that, following the careful review and recommendation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, the Government of Canada has entered into two agreements with Pfizer and Moderna to secure millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Pfizer will supply its BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate, while Moderna will provide its mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate. All potential vaccines will require Health Canada regulatory approval prior to being used to vaccinate Canadians. Active negotiations with other potential vaccine suppliers are also under way.

The Government is negotiating and signing agreements with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies to establish a guaranteed supply base of potential vaccine candidates.

PSPC is also procuring the equipment and supplies that will be needed to perform the final manufacturing and packaging stages of vaccine production in Canada, as well as the materials needed to support safe, efficient immunization such as syringes, needles, alcohol swabs and other supplies.

In addition, following the recommendation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, Minister Navdeep Bains announced an investment of up to $56 million to support clinical trials for a COVID-related vaccine candidate from Variation Biotechnologies Inc. (VBI) through the Strategic Innovation Fund. VBI’s project is in direct response to the global fight against COVID-19 and contributes to Canada’s ability to secure an effective vaccine.

This investment is funded from the Government’s $600 million to support COVID-19–related vaccine and therapy clinical trials led by the private sector and to support Canadian bio-manufacturing opportunities. Other projects are still under consideration.

Minister Bains also announced the members of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force. The Therapeutics Task Force is providing expert advice to the Government on the development of COVID-19 treatments, including how best to prioritize financial support for promising COVID-19 treatment projects.

The Task Force includes experts drawn from research and industry who have a proven ability to develop and bring new therapies to market in Canada. The Therapeutics Task Force is co-chaired by Nancy Harrison, Director and Past Chair of LifeSciences BC, and Cédric Bisson, Partner at Teralys Capital.

Details on Canada’s Exposure Notification App

The Government of Canada, in collaboration with other orders of government and across sectors, has developed a new nation-wide mobile app to let users know if they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The app, called COVID Alert, is available to all Canadians for free download, in the App Store and Google Play.

The app uses strong measures to protect the privacy and confidentiality of any data it collects. The app does not track a user’s location or collect personally identifiable information.

COVID Alert is another tool Canadians can use to help slow the spread of infection, prevent future outbreaks, and protect our communities as we ease restrictions and restart the economy.

While the exposure notification app is voluntary, the more Canadians who use it, the more useful it will be in protecting our loved ones and limiting further infection. It is starting in Ontario and will gradually be implemented in other provinces. I encourage everyone to download it.

How it works

​COVID Alert notifies you if someone you were near in the past 14 days tells the app they tested positive for COVID-19.
The app uses Bluetooth signals to exchange random codes with nearby phones. The codes are changed every 5 minutes.
The app estimates how far away other phones are by the strength of their Bluetooth signal.

If someone you have encountered tests positive for COVID-19 at a later date, they can enter a one-time key into the app to notify others.

Help others get notified if you test positive

​If you get a positive COVID-19 test result, you will also get a one-time key from your local public health authority.

Once you enter this key in to the app, it will notify other users who may have come in close contact with you in the past 14 days (at least 15 minutes and less than 2 metres apart).
If users are notified of a potential exposure, COVID Alert will provide information on steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe.

Is it a contact tracing app?

​No, COVID Alert is an exposure notification app, not a contact tracing app.

It is another useful tool for Canadians to use to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safer.

This app does not replace contact tracing—a critical public health function. Contact tracing will continue to be performed manually by local public health authorities.

Your privacy is protected

The app has no way of knowing:

-​your location
-your name or address
-the place or time you were near someone
-if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed

Is it voluntary?

Use of the COVID Alert app is voluntary. We are hoping Canadians will embrace this tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help prevent future outbreaks. The app will be most effective in helping limit the spread of COVID-19 when a majority of Canadians use it.

Why do I need to turn on location settings?

For the app to work, Android users must turn on location settings. However, no location information is stored or transmitted. Apple users do not need to change their settings for the app to work. Your phone does not transmit your location to other phones, to Apple or Google, or to any government database.

Your IP address

In order to protect against cyber attacks, Canadian servers will store your IP address for three months (and in the case of an identified security incident, up to 2 years). This is a standard part of how the Government of Canada protects online systems from cybersecurity threats.

What do I do if I receive a notification?

If you receive a notification saying that you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, the app will say that you are at risk of being infected and direct you to your provincial health authority for guidance.

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether notified through the app or otherwise, should follow the guidance from their local public health authority.

July 29th COVID-19 Update

While the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Canada has remained at relatively low levels, we are not out of the woods yet. Quebec has had a jump in cases over the last several weeks and we need to make sure we are all very careful and continue wearing masks in public indoor spaces, maintain social distancing and wash our hands.


In non-covid related news, I am pleased with the decision by Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to proceed with a full public inquiry into the horrific Nova Scotia mass shooting in April.
While a review panel into the tragic incident was initially announced, after careful consideration and further calls from families of victims, legal experts, and Members of Parliament include myself, a full public inquiry will now proceed to ensure we can find answers to the critical questions so many of us are looking for.


Please find some updates and new information below from the federal government over the last week.


This includes details on the extension to the payment deadline for tax returns, official passing of a bill that extends the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and a $4 billion investment to be able to conduct 200,000 tests per day and help manage COVID-19 outbreaks over the coming year.


Extension to the payment deadline and interest relief on tax debts
The CRA has now extended the payment deadline and applying relief to interest on existing debt. Additional information related to this announcement is below:


Payment deadline extension


The CRA is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty as long as the return is filed by September 30, 2020.


Interest on Existing Tax Debt


The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns.


While this measure for existing tax debts does not cancel penalties and interest already assessed on a taxpayer’s account prior to this period, it ensures that a taxpayer’s existing tax debt does not continue to grow through interest charges during this difficult time. This measure provides immediate relief to impacted taxpayers.


Filing returns


The previously extended filing due dates for individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns remain unchanged. However, recognizing the difficult circumstances faced by Canadians, the CRA will not impose late-filing penalties where a current year individual, corporation, or trust return is filed late provided that it is filed by September 30, 2020.


The CRA encourages everyone to file their individual, corporate and trust returns as soon as possible, even though payment deadlines are being extended. This is particularly important for individuals receiving credits and benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit.


To ensure Canadians continue to receive their benefits and credits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CRA temporarily suspended interruptions for those who were unable to file their income tax and benefit return by the June 1 deadline.


Currently, if a 2019 individual tax return has not been assessed, the CRA is calculating benefits and/or credits for the July to September 2020 payments based on information from 2018 tax returns.


However, if 2019 individual tax returns are not received and assessed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and/or credits will stop in October 2020 and individuals may have to repay the amounts that were issued as of July 2020. The CRA has helpful information and a step-by-step guide to help Canadians complete their taxes.


The CRA tax processing system is fully operational and returns are being processed quickly to support Canadians in getting their refunds and ensuring continuity of their benefits.


Government legislation to support Canadian workers, businesses, persons with disabilities, and legal rights receives Royal Assent
Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, today received Royal Assent, ensuring that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off.


The broader and better targeted CEWS will make sure that Canadian workers and businesses are in a better position as our economy safely re-opens.


Specifically, the changes introduced in Bill C-20 will:
Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues.


This will help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.


Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This will be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.


Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.
Address technical issues with the CEWS identified by stakeholders, for example by providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity’s business assets.


Make the proposed amendments to the CEWS previously introduced in Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures.


By helping workers transition back to their jobs and supporting businesses as they increase revenues, these changes will ensure that Canada comes back strong with businesses that are competitive and workers who are able to more quickly get back to work, thanks to the CEWS.


Bill C-20 will also allow for the sharing of information to facilitate the delivery of a one-time payment for persons with disabilities. The Government is moving forward with a non-taxable and non-reportable payment of up to $600 to approximately 1.7 million eligible individuals who:


-Are holders of a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate (eligible persons not yet in possession of such a certificate will be able to apply for one up to 60 days after today’s Royal Assent to be considered for the one-time payment);


-Currently receive Canada Pension Plan disability benefits or Quebec Pension Plan disability benefits; or


-Are in receipt of disability supports provided by Veterans Affairs Canada.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians, businesses and other organizations may be unable to meet time limits set out in federal legislation, including those for civil court cases and some key regulatory matters.


The Time Limits and Other Periods Act (COVID-19) enacted through Bill C-20 retroactively suspends time limits in civil litigation proceedings and allows federal ministers to make temporary orders to extend or suspend time limits in specific federal legislation for which they are responsible.


This new Act will minimize unintended legal consequences on Canadians and Canadian businesses during these difficult times.
The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19, and stands ready to take additional actions as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.


The Government of Canada is investing to safely restart the economy, while protecting the health of Canadians
The Government of Canada will provide $4.28 billion to further expand testing and contact tracing capacity, and the associated data management and information sharing systems. This funding will ensure a national capacity to conduct 200,000 tests per day to help manage COVID-19 outbreaks over the coming year. Canada will also provide $7.5 billion towards personal protective equipment.


Part of this funding will be used to help ensure availability of testing components like reagents, swabs, point-of-care kits, and promote innovation in developing new testing components and equipment.


It will also help support contact tracing, including by making federal human resources available to provinces and territories, and help modernize data management and infrastructure to accelerate reporting on cases and access to these data by public health officials.

July 21st COVID-19 Update

I hope you all are enjoying the beautiful weather while staying safe as we continue to see mostly encouraging news related to COVID-19 in Canada.


As we compare our statistics to our American neighbours we can be very proud in how we are limiting the spread of the virus by cooperation between all levels of government, public health and the public at large.


The extension of the closure of the US border to non-essential travel was a wise decision and I will continue to push for all such decisions to be governed by what is best for the public health until such time as an effective vaccine is widely available.
I have received a number of questions about what the federal government is doing to prepare for inoculating Canadians when a vaccine is ready. I would encourage you to read the attached news article which explains the purchases we are making to ensure we can vaccinate the entire population as quickly as possible:
https://nationalpost.com/…/feds-order-supplies-to-give-two-…


You can read below about changes that have been made to the census program for census 2021. I was very much involved in two specific issues.


One was the drastic undercount of Jewish Canadians by ethnicity in the 2016 census when the word Jewish was removed from the list of choices. This led to a decline in the number of people who identified as Jewish by more than 50% between 2011 and 2016.


An obvious error that could be repeated for other communities to the extent that the specific choice is not listed. The second was the need to have minority language communities with the right to send their children to minority language schools clearly identified in the long form census.


Court rulings have indicated that the extrapolation of rights holders from questions on the short form census were not sufficient to prove the need for minority language schools.


Moreover the question of whether someone is a rights holder because their parents (or grandparents) attended schools in that language in Canada was not present. I worked hard with fellow caucus members on both these issues to ensure that changes were made to the 2021 census that are specified below.


The same is true about the extension and changes to the CEWS. While an excellent program, I have frequently mentioned my requests to amend the CEWS to not have an all or nothing approach. Up until now if you had a 30% revenue loss in a period, you could claim the full CEWS.


If you did not have that loss you were excluded from the program. The new changes allow for companies to receive different percentages of employee salaries at different revenue loss levels with the program being extended to December to recognize that companies in many industries require more time to recover.


Below we detail the important announcements that have been made since my last update, related to stabilizing our economy and continuing to protect the health and safety of Canadians.


This includes, among other new measures and updates, the extension to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program until December, a $19 billion investment to the provinces for the Safe Restart Agreement, and progress on the one-time payment of $600 to Canadians with disabilities to assist with additional expenses incurred during the pandemic.
Please find below details related to these and other federal announcements.


Extension and Changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)


To date, the CEWS has supported around 3 million Canadian workers stay on payroll, and with these proposed changes even more Canadian workers will benefit.


Last week, the government proposed a further extension of the CEWS, until December 19, 2020, providing proposed program details until November 21, 2020. That legislation is currently before the House and I expect it to be adopted with support from the Bloc. This proposal would adapt the CEWS to support more workers and businesses, better protect jobs and promote growth, and effectively respond as the economy continues to reopen.


The proposals would also give the government some flexibility to ensure the wage subsidy can adjust to the needs of businesses if economic conditions change. The estimated total fiscal cost in 2020-21 for the CEWS program that is being announced today is $83.6 billion.


In summary, the proposed changes to CEWS 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 recover.
The redesigned CEWS would help employers re-hire workers quickly as the economy improves, and better position themselves for the future.


As of July 5, CEWS now consists of two parts:
​- a base subsidy available to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues, with the subsidy amount varying depending on the scale of revenue decline; and
- a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for those employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.


The two-part CEWS would apply with respect to the remuneration of active employees. A separate CEWS rate structure would apply to furloughed employees . In addition, a safe harbour would be available to ensure that, through August 29 (periods 5 and 6), employers would have access to a CEWS rate that is at least as generous as they would have had under the initial CEWS structure.


Base subsidy for all employers impacted by the crisis


Effective July 5, 2020 (i.e., Period 5 and subsequent periods), employers that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis would be eligible for a base CEWS amount for active employees.


This base CEWS would be a specified rate, applied to the amount of remuneration paid to the employee for the eligibility period, on remuneration of up to $1,129 per week.


The rate of the base CEWS would now vary depending on the level of revenue decline, and its application would be extended to employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 per cent.


This expansion would mean that all eligible employers with a revenue decline would now qualify for CEWS support.
The specified rate would be determined based on the change in an eligible employer's monthly revenues.


The maximum base CEWS rate would be provided to employers with a revenue drop of 50 per cent or more. Employers with a revenue drop of less than 50 per cent would be eligible for a lower base CEWS rate.


The decline in the base CEWS rate between a 50-per-cent revenue drop and zero provides a smooth phase-out so that businesses can grow and rehire without worrying about a sharp drop in support as economic activity returns.


The maximum base CEWS rate would be gradually reduced from 60 per cent in Periods 5 and 6 (July 5 to August 29) to 20 per cent in Period 9 (October 25 to November 21).


Update to Payment for Persons with Disabilities


Through Bill C-20, the government is slated to provide a one-time, tax-free payment of $600 to Canadians with disabilities to assist with the additional expenses incurred during the pandemic. Through changes to the previous proposal for eligibility, this payment is expected to reach nearly 1.7 million Canadians with disabilities.


It will be distributed to those who receive either the Disability Tax Credit, the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit and the Quebec Pension Plan disability benefit, or disability support from Veterans Affairs.


Increase to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)


Thanks to the CCB, nearly 334,000 children have been lifted out of poverty, and 9 out of 10 Canadian families have more money to help pay for things like healthy food, clothes, and activities they can do at home as a family.


For the upcoming 2020–21 benefit year beginning in July 2020, the maximum yearly benefit will be $6,765 per child under age 6, and $5,708 per child aged 6 through 17.


The CCB has been indexed to inflation every year since 2018 to keep up with the cost of living. Indexation was implemented two years ahead of schedule to give parents even more money each month to help them provide for their children.


Information on the Safe Restart Agreement


Last week, the Prime Minister announced a federal investment of more than $19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and make our country more resilient to possible future waves of the virus.


This investment, through the Safe Restart Agreement, will help address the key priorities, agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers, for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months. It will support measures to increase testing and contact tracing of the virus to protect Canadians from a future outbreak, and support the capacity of our health care systems, including services for people facing mental health challenges.


It will also assist with the procurement of personal protective equipment to help our essential workers, and in protecting the most vulnerable, like our seniors.


The agreement will also help get funding quickly to municipalities so they can deliver essential services that Canadians rely on every day, like public transit. In addition, it includes actions to help Canadian workers during this challenging time, such as ensuring the availability of safe child care to help parents returning to work, and providing income support for people who do not have paid sick leave so all Canadians can stay healthy.


Changes to the Census Program


During the last mandate, one of our first actions as Government was to restore the mandatory long-form census. This not only honoured our commitment to evidence-based decision making, but also resulted in a 98.4% response rate to the census - the highest ever.


Census 2021 will provide us an updated profile of the ethno-cultural characteristics of the Canadian population, at low levels of geography. This will allow us to target policies towards groups that may need additional support for employment equity, access to education, income supports, and housing affordability. In response to stakeholder needs, there are new additions to the census.


As a member of the Official Language Minority Communities Caucus, I am proud to see our recommendations for the census were heard, with new questions in the short form survey to better enumerate the 3 categories of Official Language right-holders. This represents a great victory for our caucus and official language minority communities across the country.
Statistics Canada conducted a series of tests of the content throughout 2018 and 2019, including a live 2019 Census Test involving 135,000 households across the country. Additions will include:


​Gender and Sex: There were some gaps in the 2016 Census in measuring gender identity and non-binary populations. The 2021 Census will fill this gap with a question on gender on the short-form. Questions on sex will be revised to ask sex-at-birth providing more accuracy and inclusivity.


Ethnic origins: Our methodology on ethnic origin in 2016 had resulted in some bias and underrepresentation, and this concern was voiced by several stakeholders – especially Jewish Canadians.


In response, Statistics Canada created a working group formed with experts from the Jewish community, including academics and organization representatives (such as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs).


I was pleased to have worked with CIJA and other Jewish organizations on this issue and to have raised this issue on a number of occasions with Navdeep Bains.


Following extensive consultations on this issue, the new question addresses the issue of bias that results from providing the ‘prompt’ or specific examples.


Census 2021 will not include any examples on the questionnaire itself but instead provide respondents with a brief description of different types of origins and offer a link to an extensive list of more than 400 origins.


Almost 76% of Canadians are expected to fill out the Census online, so they will be able to quickly look at the several examples with the click of a button. This approach is scientifically proven to provide the most accurate picture of different ethnic origins in Canada.


Veterans: There are more than 600,000 veterans in Canada, but not all are known to Veterans Affairs Canada. There are challenges in the provision of services and programs to support them and their families because of the gaps that exist in our administrative records. To fill these gaps, a question on Veterans is being added to the census, which will help backfill the known data gaps in historical administrative records.


Indigenous: We are adding a new question on membership in a Métis organization and a question on enrollment under an Inuit land claims agreement. These two questions, in addition to the existing module of Indigenous questions, will provide a robust base on which to build on our commitment to this relationship.


Labour market conditions: To better capture the dynamic labour market, the changes to the quality of employment and attachment to the labour force, especially among vulnerable populations, we are adding two new questions: one, the main reason for working part-time, and two, the main reason for not working full-year.


Commuting: The environment remains a priority for our government, and transportation is a key element.
Understanding changes in the distance and modes of commuting to work is important. That is why we will also capture multiple modes of commuting. These data are important for both transportation infrastructure planning and the environment.


Religion: Every ten years, Statistics Canada asks a question on religion. This will be included in the 2021 Census as well.
Official Languages: For the first time ever, we will be collecting data on minority language rights holders and these questions will be on the short form census.


For decades, Francophones outside of Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec have been fighting for their Charter rights to provide their children the opportunity to be educated in the official language of their community. The 2021 Census is an opportunity for us to provide Canadians with an accurate and reliable portrait of official language minority rights holders in this country.


The inclusion of these questions in the census is an important next step, and one that we have worked hard for as Government. It will continue the progress we have made in improving the integrity and accuracy of our data across the country. The census can be viewed here:
http://canadagazette.gc.ca/…/20…/html/order-decret-eng.html…


Increased Support for Women’s Shelters and Centres for Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence in Quebec During the COVID‑19 Pandemic


I am pleased to provide an update on the emergency funding announced by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) on April 4, 2020, to meet the immediate needs of shelters and sexual assault across Canada in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


WAGE has reached an agreement with the Secrétariat à la condition féminine (SCF) of the Government of Quebec (GoQ) to allocate $ 6,460,000 to support women’s shelters and support agencies for victims of sexual and domestic violence in Quebec.
The funding will be used for a variety of needs including manage emergencies, improve the security of facilities, and support the organizational capacity to allow shelters and sexual assault centres to meet an increase in demand.


Funding Allocation: The SCF created lists of shelters and sexual assault centres eligible for funding and will allocate the funding directly. These eligible organizations are recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. To this end, the SCF will be sending information letters today to the eligible organizations to inform them of the amount to be received.
https://www.canada.ca/…/statement-from-minister-monsef-and-…


Federal Government Support for Young Quebec Entrepreneurs


Last week, the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Mélanie Joly, announced more than $3.1 million in federal investments to support young entrepreneurs across Quebec.


Delivered by the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), this funding supports 14 projects with numerous organizations and businesses that promote youth entrepreneurship.


This includes supporting key stakeholders that provide young entrepreneurs with customized support to ensure their financing and development. We are also funding businesses owned by young entrepreneurs to help them to bring their innovative ideas to market faster and nurture their growth. All these projects help grow the entrepreneurial spirit among talented young entrepreneurs.


Funds are being granted under various CED programs:


​Regional Economic Growth through Innovation, which targets entrepreneurs leveraging innovation to grow their businesses and enhance their competitiveness, as well as regional economic stakeholders helping to create an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation and growth for all, across all regions.


The Official Languages Economic Development Initiative, which fosters the economic development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) through a range of activities, including innovation, entrepreneurship, partnerships and economic diversification.


The Quebec Economic Development Program (QEDP), which helps communities seize economic development and diversification opportunities that are promising for the future.

July 9th COVD-19 Update

I am pleased to see the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Canada continue to decline. It is with my sincere thanks to everyone who continues to follow the public health guidelines that have or continue to remain in place.
Even as we continue to reopen our economy, we must remain conscious of the fact that COVID-19 still exists and is spreading rapidly in many other countries. It is important that we continue following the measures our health experts recommend, including wearing a mask when in indoor public spaces and practicing social distancing.
Please find below information and announcements over the last week, including related to COVID-19, from the Government of Canada.
Please also note that my next update will be sent the week of July 20th, unless there is urgent news we need to send out more quickly.


Fiscal Update


Yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented an economic and fiscal snapshot to Parliament.
Thanks to Canada’s strong fiscal position, including the lowest debt to GDP ration in the G7, the government was able to provide nearly $230 billion in measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians and direct financial support to Canadians, businesses and other employers during this challenging economic time.
Additionally, nearly $85 billion in tax and customs duty payment was able to be deferred to meet liquidity needs of businesses and Canadian families.
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is ensuring Canadians have the support they need to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. With comparatively low levels of debt, the Government of Canada has the room to borrow and support the Canadian economy.
In fact, even given Canada’s increased borrowing needs due to the COVID-19 response, public debt charges are expected to fall in 2020-21, as a result of historically low borrowing rates.


Please find below some important statistics that lays out clearly just how important, and effective, our investments and economic response plan has been through the programs the government created:


CERB: As of June 28, the CERB has provided support to 8.16 million individuals.
CEWS: The CEWS has supported about three million employees by helping them stay in the workforce or return to work.
CCB top-up: Approximately 3.7 million families benefitted from a special one-time $300 top-up of the CCB for each child.
GST Credit top-up: 12 million low and modest-income individuals and families received a special one-time payment through the GST credit. On average, single adults received $400 in additional benefits, and couples almost $600.
CESB: Over $1.4 billion to over 600,000 students. It provides a $1,250 base benefit amount to eligible students, and an additional $750 per month to those with dependents or a disability.
OAS/GIS one-time payment: 6.7 million seniors are receiving a one-time tax-free payment of $300. 2.2 million of which, who are also eligible for the GIS, will also receive an additional $200.
CEBA: As of July 3, 688,000 applicants have been approved for CEBA.
Through rapid and broad support, we were able to protect millions of jobs, provide emergency income support to families, and help keep businesses afloat during the worst of this storm.


Our substantial economic support has helped Canadians put food on the table and keep a roof over their head but the shape of Canada’s economic recovery is entirely dependent on our ability to fight and contain the virus. Together, we will all play an important role in getting through this so that we can build a better, fairer and stronger Canada.


Service Canada Centres to Gradually Begin Reopening


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all Canadians. However, Service Canada continues to deliver services to Canadians. We made services available virtually and increased our outreach to rural and remote communities to ensure they were able to get what they need.


While Service Canada Centres have been closed, a gradual reopening will begin starting this week and the goal is to have close to 100 locations opened by the end of July.
As Service Canada Centres reopen, protecting the health and safety of Canadians and Service Canada employees is a priority. Key safety measures have been put in place to be consistent with public health guidelines. Canadians entering offices will be required to respect physical distancing and will be strongly encouraged to use face masks and hand sanitizer. Face masks will be offered as required.


The reopening of Service Canada Centres builds on the new services recently put in place such as the eServiceCanada portal, which allows Canadians requiring assistance from Service Canada to submit an online request and to receive a call-back from a Service Canada officer within two business days. This portal allows Canadians requiring in-person service to submit a request for an appointment at a Service Canada office.
If you do require in-person services, you should check the Find a Service Canada Office webpage to see if your local office is open. You are also encouraged to make a request for an appointment through eServiceCanada.


Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund


Minister Steven Guilbeault has announced the final details regarding Phase 2 of the disbursement of the $500-million Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage, and Sport Organizations.


This final component helps address some of the gaps that have been identified by the industry across Canada since the fund was first implemented. Thus, the second phase provides support to other organizations, some of which do not normally receive funding from Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada or the Canada Media Fund. The goal is still to help maintain jobs and support business continuity for organizations whose viability has been affected.
This final component of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations will be distributed through grants and contributions as follows:

$45 million through the Canada Periodical Fund to assist free magazines and weekly newspapers, including those that serve official-language minority or ethnocultural communities;
$25 million distributed through partners to assist independent news and community radio broadcasters;
$20 million to Musicaction and FACTOR to help presenters in the live music sector;
$2.5 million to support producers of content in a language other than English or French through the Canada Media Fund; and
$52.1 million to various arts and culture organizations that do not normally receive funding from Canadian Heritage programs and/or did not receive funding during Phase 1.


This amount will be provided as follows:
$8.2 million for the arts sector;
$27.8 million for the audiovisual and digital media sector;
$5 million for the music industry;
$10 million for the publishing sector; and
$1 million for arts and culture organizations that serve official-language communities.


Like Phase 1, this second phase is open to a variety of organizations and equity-seeking groups such as Indigenous, official-language minority, LGBTQ2 and racialized communities. More details are available in the attached Q&A and backgrounder.


Simplified funding application processes have been put in place to support organizations in need as quickly and efficiently as possible. Applicants seeking emergency assistance from the Canada Periodical Fund will be able to submit their requests as of today. Application details for the other Phase 2 funding opportunities will be available shortly on the dedicated COVID-19 emergency funding section of the Canadian Heritage website and at the corresponding links above.


Extension of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)


As announced last week, the CECRA has been extended through the end of July. If you are a property owner of small business tenant, here is what you need to know about the extension:


​Only tenants approved in the April, May and June application are eligible for the July extension.


If a business had an average revenue decline of 70% or more for the three month period between April 1st and June 30th they are deemed eligible for the additional month of rent relief. However, not all tenants in the original application need to be included for the July extension.​
To streamline the process and make it easier, CMHC is removing the requirement to claw-back insurance proceeds and provincial rent supports from the CECRA for small businesses forgivable loan amount for both existing and new applicants. Existing applicants who are affected will be notified and will have any previously clawed-back amounts restored to their forgivable loan.


Extension to Isolation and Quarantine Requirements for Travellers


To protect the health and safety of Canadians, we extended the requirements for mandatory isolation and quarantine for travellers entering Canada until August 31, 2020. Anyone entering Canada by air, land, or sea will continue to be required to isolate or quarantine for 14 days. Border measures prohibiting non-essential travel will also remain in effect.


July 1st Entry-Into-Force of the New NAFTA


Canada Day also marked the entry-into-force of the new NAFTA – an agreement that preserves jobs and prosperity for people in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Thanks to our Team Canada approach, we secured an agreement that’s good for Canadian workers, businesses, and families across the country.
Apply to Represent the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council
The Government of Canada is seeking applications from diverse and talented Canadians from across the country interested in being a representative to ABAC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council.


Representatives will help Canadian businesses thrive in the Asia-Pacific region, now and in the post-COVID-19 global economy. To apply, click on the link below:
https://www.international.gc.ca/…/not…/2020-06-12-abac.aspx…


Processing of Passports


The Passport Program is planning to extend their services beyond the urgent processing requirements on July 13 (subject to change) to include the following:
​Evaluation of circumstances will be made on a case by case basis including: Expanding services to clients with a critical need for a passport, however, do not meet the valid reasons for critical service (i.e.: purchasing home abroad, applying to school abroad, opening bank account abroad, as identification, etc.);
Expedited Service - Express ($50) and Urgent Service ($110)


Critical services for clients abroad and in the US to meet residency requirements and facilitate travel.


Please continue to stay safe and healthy,

July 2nd COVID-19 Update

I hope each of you were able to enjoy your Canada Day.

While it was very different than all other July 1sts, it is still important for us to take the opportunity to appreciate the amazing country that we live in.

I very much enjoyed the many virtual events that occurred across the riding. I want to thank Joanne Cutler, Merv Middling, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and the City of Cote Saint-Luc for organizing the performances that occurred at seniors’ residences yesterday. Great job by all!

I also want to give my thanks to the RCMP and the Ottawa police for their handling of the concerning situation at the Governor General’s residence this morning. I am glad to hear everyone is safe and the suspect was apprehended without incident.

Please find below some important information that has been released since our last update.

Applications Open under the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative

Our Government has established a Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative and is investing $25 million in projects and capital assistance to celebrate, share knowledge and build capacity in Canada’s vibrant Black Canadian communities.

This reflects the Government’s long-standing commitment to diversity and social inclusion. It is also another step forward in the Government’s devotion to the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.

A call for proposals has just launched as part of this initiative to invite eligible, Black-led organizations to submit proposals of up to $100,000 for capital projects such as:

purchasing work-related equipment; and/or
undertaking renovations and retrofits of existing community and work spaces to improve their functionality.
The process will run between June 26 and July 27, 2020. Selections will be announced in late September 2020.

Read more about the application process and guide for this call for proposals available on Employment and Social Development Canada’s website. Do not miss the deadline!

Apply for funding for projects to improve Black-led organizations’ workplaces and community spaces

https://canada.ca/…/fund…/supporting-black-communities.html​

Applicant guide: Funding for projects to improve Black-led organizations’ workplaces and community spaces

https://canada.ca/…/supporting-black-c…/applicant-guide.html

Those interested in applying are invited to participate in an information session on the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Call for Proposals (CFP).

The one hour information sessions will be held on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time in French, and 1 p.m. Eastern Time in English.

To participate in the information session and receive the instructions for joining online or by teleconference, please email Employment and Social Development Canada at [email protected] In your email, please specify the language you prefer (English or French). Any questions you may have can also be sent to the same email address.

Enabling Accessibility Fund

Through the call for expression of interest for the Government’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, we are looking to engage and challenge youth leaders to volunteer and collaborate with local community based organizations, and apply for funding up to $10,000 for accessibly projects.

This call for expressions of interest gives young accessibility advocates a chance to make a difference in their communities and help raise awareness of the EAF program.

Youth interested in participating are required to identify accessibility barriers in public places or workplaces within their immediate and/or surrounding communities, and seek out interested organizations willing to work with them to develop an EAF accessibility project-funding proposal.

This initiative empowers youth between 15 and 30 years of age to promote awareness of accessibility needs in their communities, gain valuable experience, including how to apply for government funding, further develop their presentation skills and build their sense of social responsibility through a volunteer experience that positively impacts the lives of persons with disabilities in their communities.

Approximately 125 youth-driven projects across Canada will be funded. These projects will increase accessibility in community facilities and workplaces across Canada. Not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations (with up to 99 full-time equivalent employees), small municipalities (with a population under 125,000), Indigenous organizations (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities) and territorial governments are eligible to apply for project funding of up to $10,000.

Across Canada, we are changing the way we interact with those around us to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Youth, and all Canadians, should continue to consult their local or regional public health authorities for the latest guidelines to protect them during the process.

This year, instead of the originally allotted 12 months to complete a project, organizations that apply for funding will now have up to 24 months to complete their projects. Additionally, projects approved for funding will now be 100% funded to a maximum of $100,000.

Organizations have until July 13, 2020, to apply by visiting https://www.canada.ca/…/p…/enabling-accessibility-fund.html…\Ddn\Banners&utm_medium=VanityUrl&utm_term=en&utm_content=canada-ca_accessibility-fund

Interested youth accessibility advocates can apply online through the following web page:

https://www.canada.ca/…/enabling-accessibility-fund-youth-i….

The call for expressions of interest for youth leaders will close on October 30, 2020.

Support for Post-Secondary Students and Recent Grads

Last week, the Prime Minister announced comprehensive support of the nearly $9 billion for post-secondary students and recent graduates. This plan will help provide support they need this summer, help them continue their studies in the fall, and help many get the experience they need to start their careers.

As part of Innovation, Science and Industry’s contribution, we have provided funding for Mitacs, DS4Y, CFS+, and BHER to help young Canadians find paid work placements and get the skills they need to start their careers.

We are helping young Canadians through:

​Creating 5,000 new internships through Mitacs for college and university students across Canada with small and medium-sized businesses. Funding of $40 million will also help develop partnerships with new industries, and offer internships to students in more areas of study.

Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.

Increasing funding to the Digital Skills for Youth Program<https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/122.nsf/eng/home> (DS4Y) program by $40 million to help post-secondary graduates gain professional work experience. DS4Y provides wage subsidy opportunities to help connect young people with small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits.

Providing $6.7 million for the Computers for Schools Plus<https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cfs-ope.nsf/eng/home> (CFS+) program. The partnership-based program refurbishes donated surplus computers and electronic devices, and provides them to schools, libraries, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous communities, and low-income Canadians.

It also offers paid, practical work internships for young people, through which they can develop advanced digital skills as well as experience in project management, teamwork, and communications.

Creating 5,000 to 10,000 more work-integrated learning opportunities through the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER).The BHER will launch a national challenge for students to develop creative solutions in response to current and future sector needs as defined by Canadian industry.

The national student challenge will help connect Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses with the next generation of talent in Canada.

Federal Job Opportunities

Today the Government announced that applications were open for the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Candidates have until July 30th to apply. I encourage any qualified candidate who is interested to do so:

https://pcogic.njoyn.com/CL3/xweb/Xweb.asp…

Important Fundraiser to Help VMR-Ensemble-TMR Together

The Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the entire population into unprecedented challenges.

Last May, when all the residents and staff of the CHSLD Vigi Mont-Royal were diagnosed with Covid-19, Saïd Metaich, Elias El Hayek, Maya Chammas, Karine Barrette and Brigitte Mack wanted to do something to help. A few days later, it was under the name of VMR Ensemble-TMR Together that the help began for Vigi Mont-Royal.

Since this is a community effort for the community and by the community, there is currently a fundraiser with TMR residents in order to be able to buy our local merchants who were also affected by Covid-19, meals, snacks, personal protective equipment to name a few.

Since May 18, the TMR Together team has been providing Vigi Mont-Royal with items or food that were either donated by or purchased from our local merchants with the funds raised. This is to support the 300 employees and the close to 275 residents who are so fragile.

To donate to VMR Ensemble-TMR Together click on the Gofundme link https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-emergency-fund-mtl from our partner Operation Rainbow MTL and be sure to click on the “referred by” tab and select “TMR / VMR”.

If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected]

Please continue to stay safe and healthy.

June 26 COVID-19 Update

As I mentioned on Tuesday, we had planned for our next update to only come on Thursday July 2nd. But I also mentioned that if there was important information to pass on, we would do special updates to ensure that you received it in a timely manner.

There are many students in our riding and many community organizations looking for volunteers. As such, the final information on the Canada Student Service Grant Program has now been announced, as well as additional measures to support students, and I want to make sure all those eligible can take advantage of this opportunity.

In addition to the new information for students and non-profits, we have just announced the official launch of the expansion of CEBA through Canada’s largest banks, additional investments in COVID-19 research and put out important information for Canadians contemplating travel abroad. All of this is summarized below.

Information on Updates and New Support for Students

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced some key updates as well as new measures to further support students during these challenging times. These include:

​Creating 10,000 new job placements for young people between the ages of 15 and 30 through the Canada Summer Jobs program

This new funding of over $60 million will help expand the current work placement target from 70,000 to 80,000, creating 10,000 more placements for young people aged 15 to 30. The program provides wage subsidies to employers so they can give quality work experience to young Canadians and help them develop the skills they need to transition into the labour market.

​New information available for the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) program

The CSSG program will run from June 25, 2020 until October 31, 2020 and will provide eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates the opportunity to serve their communities and receive a grant of between $1,000 and $5,000.

In order to be eligible for the grant, participants must be 30 years of age or younger, a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a student with a refugee status, and either:

​enrolled in and attending post-secondary education during the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semesters;

recent post-secondary graduates (no earlier than December 2019); or

studying abroad and currently residing in Canada.

To apply go to: https://apply.iwanttohelp.org/

​Post-secondary students and recent graduates must register no later than August 21, 2020, to be eligible to receive the grant. Completed applications for the CSSG must be submitted no later than November 6, 2020, and participants will only be able to count hours accumulated from June 25 to October 31, 2020.

Students who received the CERB are not eligible for the CSSG. Students receiving CESB are eligible for the CSSG. All post-secondary students and recent graduates up to the age of 30 years old, who meet the eligibility criteria will receive the cash award based on the tier of completed hours reached. The tiers are:

​$1,000 for 100 hours
$2,000 for 200 hours
$3,000 for 300 hours
$4,000 for 400 hours
$5,000 for 500 hours

​A student will be required to provide the following documentation during the CSSG application process:

a copy of a valid driver’s license, provincial identification, or, a valid passport; and,

a student card, or, letter of acceptance to an accredited institution (universities, colleges and Indigenous learning institutions) for the spring/summer/fall of 2020; or,
proof of graduation no earlier than December 2019

WE Charity will help to administer the CSSG program by providing back-end support for screening, onboarding, and training, and matching functions, in addition to the disbursement of grants to eligible participants.

They will help tens of thousands of post-secondary students and recent graduates find placements with not-for-profit organizations across the country, including charities, throughout the course of this initiative. When the platform is launched, there will be more than 20,000 volunteer opportunities available with tens of thousands more to become available over the course of the summer.

​I Want to Help platform

Not-for-profit organizations will be able to submit volunteer opportunities to the I Want to Help platform. Eligible and high quality placements will be posted on the platform, where students can search and apply for opportunities in their communities.

In order to be eligible, a placement must:

​be with a not-for-profit organization, which includes registered charities

take place in Canada and support Canada’s response to COVID-19

be a minimum of two hours per week for four weeks
follow all applicable public health requirements

​​More information about eligibility for post-secondary students and recent graduates and not-for-profit organizations offering placements is available at the following web pages:

https://pm.gc.ca/…/…/2020/06/25/canada-student-service-grant

https://pm.gc.ca/…/prime-minister-announces-support-student…

Students and not-for-profit organizations who have questions can contact [email protected] or 1-833-521-0117.
Expanded CEBA Now Available Through Canada’s Large Banks

Many small businesses in the riding have been anxiously awaiting the expansion of the CEBA program for those with less than $20,000 of total employment income. I am pleased to advise that the expanded program is now live and available through Canada’s large Banks.

It is my understanding that more lenders, including credit unions, will be offering this product in the very near future.

For businesses with total employment income of $20,000 or less, in order to be eligible for this loan you will need:

​Your CRA Business Number (BN) (9 digits)

For incorporated businesses, you will need a copy of your 2018 or 2019 T2.

For all other unincorporated business types, you will need a copy of your 2018 or 2019 T1.

Proof of eligible Non-Deferrable Expenses that you were or are contractually obligated to pay in 2020 (e.g. a copy of the lease with the Borrower’s landlord for the year 2020, copies of material contracts, etc.).

I would suggest checking out your bank’s website for more information on this loan and to find out if you are eligible.

Investment in COVID-19 Research Projects

Yesterday, the Minister of Health Patty Hajdu announced an investment of $109M over one year in 139 COVID-19 research projects across the country. The research projects focus on accelerating the development, testing, and implementation of measures to mitigate the rapid spread of the virus.

This investment is part of Government of Canada's continued research rapid response to address the health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research teams announced today will focus their efforts on slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19 as well as improving our response to any future pandemic of this kind in Canada and around the globe.

As of June 15, 2020, 98,787 cases of COVID-19 and 8,146 deaths have been confirmed in Canada. The total number of cases globally has exceeded 7 million and over 400,000 deaths due to coronavirus have been reported.

This funding is another example of the Government’s commitment to supporting the most innovative research aimed at improving the health of our populations.

What is the funded research teams’ contribution to the advancement of COVID-19 research?

The 139 research teams located across Canada will accelerate the development of new knowledge about COVID-19 and help combat its spread and negative impacts on individuals and communities. They will concentrate their work on understanding the safety, efficacy, effectiveness, ethics, and implementation of these areas:

​Vaccines, diagnostics, or therapeutics, such as but not limited to:

​Examine the enhanced immune disease and Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) aspects of vaccines
Testing existing therapeutics to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection

Point of care diagnostics that can be applied at home and/or in remote locations

Correlates of protection based on sero-surveillance testing data for COVID-19 infection

Application of anti-viral therapeutics for patients predicted to have unfavourable outcomes.

​Clinical management and health system interventions, such as but not limited to:

resource allocation decision-making, including access to equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as therapeutics

interventions to plan for, expand on, or redress surge capacity as well as organization of care, and the health care workforce
management of COVID-19 in cases with co-morbidities such as diabetes or cardio respiratory conditions access to and implementation of timely and relevant clinical management approaches, such as virtual care and related guidelines or non-hospitalized care of cases, including in remote locations or Indigenous communities

infection prevention and control measures

interventions and strategies to mitigate the impact on non-COVID care

population level genomics that determine COVID-19 differences in susceptibility and severity

​Social, policy, and public health responses and related indirect consequences, such as but not limited to:

​population-level containment strategies such as physical

distancing, quarantine, and travel restrictions

public health communications and citizen engagement

impacts of external decisions/measures on self-determination and self-governance of Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis)

scale-up of systems for assessment and diagnostics testing and follow-up

real-time data development and design for predictive or

forecasting models and observational studies that inform policy-making.

Some projects will focus on scale-up or reorientation of projects from the first COVID-19 rapid response competition, for example, and amplify or adapt existing national and international clinical trials and related research networks and platforms. The projects will include international collaborations and/or multi-site/multi-jurisdictional research.
What are the objectives of the teams?

The teams will aim to:

Accelerate the availability of high-quality and real-time evidence to support Canada’s rapid response to the global pandemic in order to better prevent, detect, treat and manage COVID-19;

Develop, test, and study the implementation of effective interventions to prevent, detect, treat, and manage COVID-19 at the individual and/or population levels by reorienting or amplifying existing research platforms, networks, and trials as well as funding new research projects within existing and established research infrastructure;

Enable Canadian engagement and coordination in national and international large-scale trials and better enable harmonized data collection, sharing of data, quasi-experimental and observational studies, and rapid large-scale evaluation of impact;

Provide evidence to inform clinical and health system management and public health response, and/or decision-making and planning within and across jurisdictions in Canada and internationally; and

Enhance local, national and/or international collaborative efforts, including in low- and middle-income countries, to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and related negative consequences.

Some examples of projects led by the research teams are:

​Right across the street from our riding, Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh and her team at Centre de recherche - CHU Sainte-Justine will study the risk of reinfection of COVID-19 among healthcare workers who have already been infected with the virus. These findings will allow public health decision-makers to understand how to proceed with pandemic management, and will reveal whether or not herd immunity is a target to aim for.

Dr. John Bell and his team at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute will work with scientists across Canada to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine in order to prevent a second wave of infections. While physical distancing is an effective short-term strategy, a vaccine is necessary to ensure lasting protection against COVID-19.

At the University of British Columbia, Dr. Deborah Money and her team will study the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy. This will allow maternity care providers to know whether the virus can be transmitted from mother to fetus, and how to best care for pregnant women with COVID-19.

Dr. Andrea Beaumann and her team at McMaster University will examine the long-term care system in Canada. The majority of COVID-19 deaths across Canada have been connected to long-term care facilities, and this research will provide information on what went wrong.

​At the University of Ottawa, Dr. Josephine Etowa and her team will focus on the effects of COVID-19 for African, Caribbean and Black communities. This research will review the health inequities that COVID-19 presents for these communities, and will strengthen the health system’s practices.

Dr. Rudolf Uher and his team at Nova Scotia Health Authority will investigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. Factors such as social isolation and financial uncertainty, which are prevalent during the pandemic, can trigger a deterioration of mental health. Dr. Uher’s team will monitor the mental health of parents, and the impact of parental mental health struggles on children.

Where does this funding come from?

The total investment for this rapid research response is over $109M. The Government of Canada is providing the funding for this research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), in partnership with Alberta Innovates (AI), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Research Manitoba (RM), Research Nova Scotia (RNS), Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) .

​CIHR is contributing $102.6M
CIHR Institute of Aging is contributing $300,000 of the $102.6M from CIHR to fund research relevant to the areas of interest including, vaccine-related research, treatment and clinical trials that include older adults, ethics, etc.
IDRC is providing $6.6M to support projects with investigators/collaborators from research institutions based in low- and middle-income countries.

The following provincial research funders have also committed funding to support research projects based in their respective provinces:

​MSFHR (British Columbia) is providing $150,000
AI is contributing $100,000
RM is providing $100,000
RNS is providing $100,000
SHRF is contributing $50,000

The total investment for these research projects is $109.7M

How were the grantees chosen?

CIHR’s funding decisions are based on peer review. In peer review, applications are assigned to reviewers – fellow researchers who possess the required experience and expertise to properly assess the quality of the application. Peer reviewers evaluate applications and rate them using a defined set of evaluation criteria. Funding decisions were made in order to balance funding across the research areas. CIHR’s peer review processes are defined by the principles of confidentiality, absence of conflict of interest, fairness, and transparency.​​

Details on the peer review process for this competition are available on this page:

How did you ensure your funding process was equitable and included disadvantaged groups?

CIHR is committed to creating an equitable funding system by identifying and eliminating systematic biases towards any individual or group that would hinder access to CIHR funds.

In this competition, CIHR has treated applications related to Indigenous Health Research (IHR) and applications submitted in French as separate cohorts. This approach has ensured that 1) IHR applications make up 4.6% of the total competition budget. This is one of the commitments in CIHR’s Action Plan on Building a healthier future for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples 2) The proportion of applications submitted in French is approximately equal to the proportion of grants funded in support of the Official Languages Act.

Please note that all applications funded through the equalization were in the top 15% of the competition.

How does this second COVID-19 rapid response competition compare with the first rapid response competition?

Building on an initial investment of $55.3M to support 100 research projects on COVID-19 announced in March, the new investment of over $109M will enable researchers to accelerate the development, testing, and implementation of medical and social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19 and its negative consequences on people, communities, and health systems.

Operationally, the second competition was managed in a similar way as the first rapid response competition. The objectives and research areas were refined to be applicable to key gaps and priorities relevant to the current COVID-19 context.
Additionally, CIHR plans to deliver on the following critical measures that will complement the first and subsequent rapid response competitions:

CIHR has published the results of the funding competition on its Website today, through its Funding Decisions Database (FDD).

Global Affairs Canada reminds Canadians to follow official travel advice

While some countries are preparing to partially open up their borders, the Government of Canada wants to remind all Canadians that a global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada remains in effect. We also continue to advise travellers to avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice.

Over the last few months, Global Affairs Canada undertook Canada’s largest and most complex ever consular operation to help Canadians return home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada has largely completed that operation and is planning the final few remaining flights in the next weeks. Additional facilitated flights to bring Canadians home are not anticipated. Although we are doing all we can to support Canadians outside the country, we recognize that many may need to remain abroad.

We strongly advise you to follow the Government of Canada’s official travel advice to ensure your personal safety and security. We encourage Canadians to talk to their travel insurance provider about extending their insurance policy should they need to and to find out whether they are covered for medical treatment if they become infected with COVID-19.

We acknowledge that the lives of Canadians outside Canada have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who remain abroad may experience difficulty in obtaining essential products and services and may face strict public health measures, movement restrictions and quarantines.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada continues to work with governments around the world to ensure Canadians abroad receive all necessary medical and ongoing support.

If you are currently abroad, you should:

​consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories on Travel.gc.ca regularly for information on measures put in place at your location
read our advice for Canadians abroad at Travel and COVID-19: Your safety and security outside Canada

sign up with our Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive important updates.

Stay up to date on developing situations through our Travel Smart app and our Twitter and Facebook channels

Our top priority remains the health and safety of Canadians. If you need medical attention or psychological support while abroad, our officers can help you find local emergency services and the nearest hospital. Contact the nearest Government of Canada office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre for assistance.

Have a great weekend!

June 23 COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends,

I want to wish everyone a very happy Saint Jean Baptiste/Quebec National Holiday tomorrow. I also want to wish everyone a spectacular Canada Day holiday on July 1st. We are so lucky to be living in one of the greatest countries of the world, where we can celebrate our own unique identities and still be proud to all be Canadians.

We know that our differences in language, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity and so may other variables serve as a source of richness and diversity and are a positive force in this amazing tapestry we call Canada.

While we cannot celebrate these two holidays in the way we normally would (at big gatherings with music and fireworks and games), the advances we have recently made still allow us to celebrate with others, even if in a more limited fashion.

Thanks to the Minister of Heritage Steven Guilbeault and his incredible team, there will be National virtual Canada Day celebrations happening throughout the day.

I invite you to check out the following web page to find all the events scheduled in the daytime and the evening, including a montage of the best Canada Day fireworks from past years: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/canada-day/online-celebrations.htmlhttps://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/canada-day/online-celebrations.htmlhttps://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/canada-day/online-celebrations.html

Updates

Since the pandemic began, I have been providing a daily update each weekday. I understand the need to keep my constituents informed at a time of crisis and I have done the best I could to send out all relevant information in a timely fashion and then to respond to the hundreds of responses we received to the updates.I have been surprised and greatly pleased by the excellent reaction I have gotten to these updates. I originally thought we would do them only for the period of the pandemic but I now plan to continue them on a regular basis.

However, for the summer period we will generally do the updates on a weekly basis as opposed to daily.As such, following today, our next update will come on Thursday July 2nd and then they will continue to be sent out on Thursdays until Labour Day. But we will also send an extra update If there is an urgent issue that arises or change to a COVID program that is of great importance so that you receive the news in a timely manner.

Statement by the Prime Minister on the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism

Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism and the 35th anniversary of the Air India bombing, the single deadliest terrorist attack in Canadian history. By working with our national partners to end violent extremism and fighting back against hatred in all forms we honour the victims and all those who have lost their lives due to acts of hatred and terrorism.

Quickly Find Out If You Are Eligible for Financial Help During COVID-19

Since the pandemic began, the government has created a variety of different programs and benefits available to help Canadians and businesses struggling due to COVID-19. With so much information, sometimes it can be hard to know what to look for.

That is why the government created a helpful online tool so you can more quickly find out which federal benefits you or your business may be eligible for, and how to access them. If you are interested in using this online tool, check out the following web page:

https://covid-benefits.alpha.canada.ca/en/start

Regards, June 22nd COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends,

Periodically I try to highlight some of the amazing charitable work that has been accomplished in our riding since the pandemic struck. This work is being done by established organizations but also by new groups that have sprung up to accomplish specific tasks.

I have previously mentioned the excellent work of the Nellie Foundation to deliver groceries to isolated seniors spearheaded by David Lisbona and ably assisted by Melissa Margles and Mitch and Pam Kujavsky and so many others.

Last week I joined David as he presented food vouchers to the CDN Black Community Association and its exceptional executive director Tiffany Callender and her team.

Today I want to highlight another remarkable local effort headed by the incredible energetic Leah Lasry and Benny Grauer which has taken upon itself to deliver air conditioning equipment and fans to seniors who are suffering in this heat wave. This is a link to a CBC interview with 92-year-old Evelyn Israel and Leah that explains the value of this endeavour. It is very touching indeed:

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-78-all-in-a-weekend/clip/15783351-ac-for-seniors-raises-dollar50k-to-help-seniors-beat-the-heat

Yesterday I made a donation to the organization and encourage those of you who are interested to visit the website and do the same. As well, if you are an isolated senior at risk or know of one that needs air conditioning please visit the site and ask for assistance. The site is at:

www.acforseniors.ca<http://www.acforseniors.ca/>

Statement by the Minister of Global Affairs Regarding Charges Laid Against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

As I said on Friday, it is an absolute travesty that charges have been formally laid against Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. I have heard from many individuals that are deeply concerned about these completely unacceptable actions by the Government of China.

We will continue to demand their immediate release and will continue to work with our international partners on this endeavour. Please find the Minister of Global Affairs statement on this issue: https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2020/06/canadaextremelyconcerned-by-formal-charges-being-laid-against-michael-kovrig-and-michael-spavor.html

Minister Gould announces support for sexual and reproductive health and rights

With health systems straining to respond adequately to the global pandemic, it is more important than ever to protect gains in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to safe abortion and contraception, by ensuring crucial services are not diverted.

My colleague Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, today announced $93.7 million in funding toward ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every girl and woman is treated with the dignity and respect she deserves. A portion of this funding is part of the commitment announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2019.

Canada’s support will focus on areas often neglected in development assistance: comprehensive sexuality education and support for adolescents; advocacy; and family planning and contraceptives. It will also help prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation and cutting, and will support both the right to choose safe and legal abortion and access to post-abortion care.

Funding will help the most vulnerable by breaking down barriers faced by marginalized women.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy continues to put women and girls at the centre of its development efforts—including by ensuring that health systems meet the needs of women and girls—particularly through support for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Today’s funding investments will help key partners support the most vulnerable people by working to ensure that crucial services continue to be provided and that progress continues in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Regards,

June 19th COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends,

I want to start by wishing all of the dads and grandfathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day. With society starting to lessen restrictions I am hopeful that everyone will be able to be together this weekend and not just virtually.

China

It is with deep disappointment that I heard that both Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been formally charged by Chinese prosecutors. It is not a surprise but it is an absolute travesty. The government will continue working hard through a range of public and private measures continue to try and get both of these men who were arbitrarily detained and charged get home as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations: Implementation of Phase 2

Canadian Heritage has launched the first component of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Heritage Organizations. This component provides $53 million in support to organizations with heritage collections through the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program.

Eligible not-for-profit organizations such as museums, archives, historic sites, Indigenous organizations, official-language minority communities, or municipal and university museums with separate budgets, will now be able to apply for funding.

An online funding portal has been set up to further accelerate the processing of applications. Heritage organizations eligible for the Museums Assistance Program can now apply online through the portal found at the link below: https://pch-covid19.canada.ca/en-CA/

More information about the next component of Phase 2 will be announced shortly.

$25.7 million in new funding for national museums and the National Battlefields Commission

Canada’s six national museums — the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, and the National Battlefields Commission —are important cultural and historical institutions. They play an essential role in preserving our heritage and educating Canadians, and are drivers of innovation.

The Government of Canada is therefore announcing an emergency investment of $25.7 million to help these organizations maintain essential services and be ready to reopen their doors to the public once precautionary measures are lifted. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the six national museums and the National Battlefields Commission closed their doors on March 14, 2020, to protect the health and safety of their staff, visitors, and all Canadians.

This major investment will support these national institutions, which are essential to the preservation and presentation of our artistic, cultural and historical treasures. It will also protect jobs on which many Canadians depend.

Please enjoy the warm weather this weekend while continuing to follow public health guidelines.

Regards,

Anthony

June 18th COVID-19 Update

As the pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, it is important to recognize those many people within our community who are helping to make a difference.

I want to thank MNA David Birnbaum for allowing me to participate in his sixth annual D’Arcy-McGee-National Assembly Citizenship Medals ceremony earlier this week. It was a pleasure to help recognize the very worthy award recipients; Sima Paris, David Lisbona, George Nashen and Multicaf.

Each of the recipients have continued to make an important difference in our community and are great examples for all of us.

New Contact Tracing App to Soon Be Released

Contact tracing is the critical to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Through the Canadian Digital Service with help from volunteers from Shopify, BlackBerry and the Ontario Government, the technology will aim to work by having people who test positive upload their results anonymously to the app.

Other users who have the app and who have been near someone who has tested positive will then be alerted that they've been exposed and a notification will encourage them to reach out to their local public health authorities.

The Prime Minister announced that Ontario will start testing the app first and it will be available in July.

In terms of ensuring this app will protect the privacy of Canadians, it is completely anonymous, including no location services or geotagging of any sort.

The downloading app will aim to be an easy measure to continue to keep us all safe as we continue to reopen our economy.

Please stay tuned for more details.

Update on Personal Protective Equipment

We continue to work hard to make sure that sufficient personal protective equipment is available as our economy reopens.

​Yesterday Minister Bains announced we have entered into a contract with Galenvs for the manufacturing of magnetic silica beads, a critical input for COVID-19 testing in Canadian labs; Health Canada has given authorization to CAE and Ventilators for Canadians for the manufacturing of ventilators; and, the National Research Council is collaborating with Dorma Filtration to adapt its one-size-fits-most version of its 3D-printed N95 mask for mass production.

Tomorrow is final date for the Mobile Testing Clinics

Please be advised that the final date to be tested for COVID-19 at Mobile Testing Clinics is tomorrow, June 19th. Our local CIUSSS will continue to offer testing and assessment services to the population at 5800 Côte-des-Neiges by appointment only.

To obtain the latest information on testing and assessment clinics in CIUSSS Centre-West territory, please visit www.ciussswestcentral.ca/CovidClinics<http://www.ciussswestcentral.ca/CovidClinics>

A reminder on how to Avoid Scams and Attempts By Fraudsters

As I have mentioned in a previous update, to avoid scams and attempts by fraudsters, I very much encourage you to avoid answering unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief, or government assistance and compensation. Many people continue to receive phone calls saying that Service Canada is calling. Any such unsolicited phone call is fraudulent and you should hang up immediately.

<https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm>https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/report-signalez-eng.htm

Please continue to stay safe and healthy.

June 17th COVID-19 Update

On July 8th, the Government of Canada will be providing a fiscal snapshot to help provide a better understanding of the impact on our economy, jobs, and so much more due to COVID-19. While there remains a large number of variables and continued volatility, the snapshot will also help guide us while we strive to restart our economy.

I will provide details from the Economic and Fiscal Snapshot the week it is unveiled. Please stay tuned.

Today the House of Commons is debating and will be voting on The Appropriation Act No. 2, 2020-2021. This is a request for Parliament to approve of $55.1 billion for federal organizations to cover their financial needs from July to December.

As with typical interim supply bills, the amounts requested are based on 12ths of the amounts in Main Estimates, notionally corresponding to monthly cash requirements.

The House if also debating and voting on Appropriation Act No. 3, 2020-2021. This is a request for Parliament to approve $6 billion in voted budgetary expenditures.

The planned expenditures lay out spending plans to support a variety of government priorities, including public health and economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting and providing services to Indigenous peoples, the Disability Insurance Plan for the public service, and air travel security screening.

Discovery Grants

The Prime Minister also announced that we will be providing almost $500 million in funding through Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s annual Discovery Grants program.

This money will support thousands of Canadian researchers and their groundbreaking work, whether they are studying viruses, developing AI, or making strides in chemical engineering.

More information on the Surplus Food Rescue Program

On Monday, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-FoodMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau launched the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program. The program aims to move surplus food commodities such as potatoes and other possible horticulture, fish and seafood, and meat through the food system as efficiently as possible to help vulnerable Canadians.

COVID-19 caused significant disruptions to areas of Canada’s food system, as it forced the near closure of the restaurant and hospitality industry in Canada and the United States.

Some producers across Canada are left with surpluses of quality food, while increased demand from grocery stores alone is not expected to clear the inventory before it spoils. At the same time, the pandemic has increased the demand for food from food banks and other food security organizations in communities across Canada.

The Surplus Food Rescue Program has two core objectives:

1. Provide assistance to organizations serving vulnerable populations to acquire and process surplus commodities and food that would otherwise be lost or destroyed and distribute them to populations in need.

2. Connect surplus food commodities to vulnerable populations to avoid food waste.

The program aims to ensure the surplus food reaches vulnerable populations in Canada through the purchase, processing, transportation and redistribution of surplus food. The program is designed to rescue surplus food that may be fresh, frozen inventory or in need of further processing due to its highly perishable nature.

Eligible applicants include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations (industry groups, processors, distributors, food serving agencies, regional and municipal governments and agencies (can include schools or school boards) that can demonstrate an ability to handle the full logistical requirements for acquiring, processing, transporting and ensuring shelf-life stability of surplus commodities and delivery to organizations serving vulnerable populations.

https://www.agr.gc.ca/…/agric…/surplus-food-rescue-program/… June 16th COVID-19 Update

Today, the Prime Minister announced the extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for 8 weeks. This measure ensures that those who remain unable to find work as the pandemic continues to hinder our economy and employment opportunities are able to support themselves and their families during this time of need.

There are many Canadians who would not be eligible for EI and the CERB allows a vastly greater number of Canadians to receive the benefit.

For those who are to set to near the end of your 16-week eligibility period claim, you will no longer have to worry about what to do next as you will have eight additional weeks of payments that you will be able to apply for if you are still unable to find a job or go back to work.

While this benefit has been extended, I continue to encourage all businesses to make use of the Canada Emergency Wage Benefit to bring their employees off the CERB and back on payroll where their employees wages can be subsidized by 75%, with the remaining 25% paid by the business if they are able to.

Extension of Canada-US Border Restrictions

The Prime Minister also announced a 30-day extension to restrictions at the Canada-US Border, meaning the existing agreement between our two countries will now stay in place until July 21.

This was something requested by Premiers across Canada. Should there be adjustments or changes to the agreement I will make you aware of them as soon as they are made public.

Parliamentary Black Caucus Letter on Combatting Systemic Racism

Our Parliamentary Black Caucus has sent a letter setting out the changes we would like to see in order to combat systemic racism in Canada. I was pleased to have been part of the caucus’ deliberations and I have signed the letter, which we have shared publicly today.

To minimize the consequences of systemic racism, the Parliamentary Black Caucus calls on all levels of government in Canada to: 1. Measure the pervasiveness of systemic discrimination through the collection of race-based data;

2. Assist Black Canadians in providing economic prosperity to all through measures to support Black-owned/run businesses;

3. Eliminate the barriers to access to justice and public security for Black Canadians and Indigenous people;

4. Make our public administration more effective and resilient by ensuring it actually reflects the diversity of the public it serves; and

5. Recognize and support the artistic and economic contributions of Black Canadian culture and heritage.

Access to the Canada Emergency Business Account

We had previously announced extensions to those eligible for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). As of Friday, June 19, 2020, those businesses that previously did not qualify due to their lack of payroll, will be able to apply for the CEBA.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need:

- A business operating account at a participating financial institution; - A Canada Revenue Agency business number; - A 2018 or 2019 tax return; and - Eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.

Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 per cent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or to apply directly for CEBA. More information on the expanded CEBA can be found on the program’s website.

I know that many of you are anxiously waiting for news on those businesses which use personal and not business accounts.

Regrettably no extension of the CEBA on this point has yet been announced. I have and will continue to raise the issue.

Helpful Links for Businesses

1. Visit our government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan website for information about available support for employees and business. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves: https://www.canada.ca/…/departm…/economic-response-plan.html

2. Contact your local financial institution. Since we know most small businesses have a relationship with their local financial institution already, we’ve worked with the financial sector to increase their lending capability to support them in in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start for help. z 3. Consult the Canadian Business Resilience Network a partnership between our government and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to help your business prepare, persevere and prosper through this crisis: https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/

4. Talk to a financial expert – Call the Business Resilience Service for customized financial guidance tailored to your needs: https://www.canada.ca/…/minister-ng-announces-hotline-to-pr…

mall business owners with pressing financial needs can call 1-866-989-1080 (toll-free) seven days a week in either official language to speak with a business advisor. June 15th COVID-19 update

I have heard from constituents across the riding who are understandably worried about soon hitting the maximum number of weeks they are eligible to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The Prime Minister confirmed today that the government is currently working on a solution to extend the benefit for people who can’t return to work yet. More details will be available next week, so pleased stay tuned for now.

Update for Organizations Who Applied for the New Horizons for Seniors Program

On May 12, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an additional investment of $20 million in the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network during the pandemic.

On June 2nd, 2020 an email with a questionnaire was sent to organizations with existing funded projects through NHSP 2019-2020 program as well as organizations that applied under the intake but did not have their projects funded. The email and questionnaire does not mean that you have been approved for new NHSP funding.

For organizations that are currently receiving funding for projects from the 2019-2020 call for proposals, the questionnaire asks whether they shifted to COVID-19-related activities. In March 2020, the Government offered them this flexibility. This survey also asks whether they could expand their COVID-19-related activities if additional funds were available to them.

For organizations that submitted projects under the 2019-2020 call for proposals, but were not approved because of lack of program funding, the questionnaire asks whether these organizations can shift their originally proposed projects to COVID-19-related activities.

Organizations have 10 business days to respond.

For more info, see link below: https://www.canada.ca/…/new-horizons-s…/notice-covid-19.html

Supporting Your Children’s Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 can be difficult for children to understand, especially if they know someone who is sick. Pay close attention to how your children are feeling.

You can positively support your child's mental health by:

• correcting misinformation that they may have heard

• limiting how often they watch or hear the news, if appropriate

• creating a flexible but consistent daily routine with your child's input

• listening to your child's concerns, then acknowledging and validating their thoughts and feelings

• explaining health and safety measures and reassuring your child that they're in place to keep us safe

• helping your child stay virtually connected with their friends, neighbours and extended family members through: - texts -email - phone calls -video chats -social media platforms

Your child may benefit from resources tailored specifically to them, such as those from:

• Kids Help Phone: https://kidshelpphone.ca/

• COVID-19 resources for youth and students: https://www.canada.ca/…/coron…/resources-youth-students.html

• Canada Youth Network: https://www.canyouth.ca/covid19main

• COVID-19 youth mental health resource hub: https://jack.org/COVID o education, tools, support and reliable information to support youth through the unique mental health situations they're faced with as a result of COVID-19 o the hub is a collaboration of Jack.org, School Mental Health Ontario and Kids Help Phone

School Mental Health Ontario's activities for children that connect to mental health: https://smho-smso.ca/…/12-easy-and-fun-mental-health-pract…/

• UNICEF's list of ways teens can protect their mental health during COVID-19: https://www.unicef.ca/…/guide-for-teens-protect-your-mental…

Happy 113th Birthday

Today Cote Saint-Luc’s Cecile Klein, Canada’s second oldest person, turned 113. Born in Montreal in 1907 she has lived a remarkable life and is a big fan of the Cote Saint-Luc Dramatic Society Productions. Her family and friends had a Zoom celebration this afternoon and I want to wish Cecile many more happy and healthy years.

June 12th COVID-19 Update

While we continue into the 12th day of Filipino Heritage Month, I want to give my best wishes to all those celebrating Philippine Independence Day today!

As I mentioned in my previous post on Facebook, today would have normally been a day that I would have been out at multiple community events celebrating the 122nd anniversary of Philippine Independence with the incredible Filipino community in our riding.

I hope that we can still celebrate this moment in person sometime in the near future. For all the Filipino Canadian community has done and their significant contributions made to Canada, they deserve nothing less.

Please find the Prime Minister’s video greeting for this special day: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1646384095525811

Mabuhay!

Government’s Response to the Video of Chief Adam’s Arrest

Yesterday, a video began to be widely circulated on social media of the video of the arrest of Chief Adam. Like so many of you who watched this video, I was shocked and appalled to see what appears to be a completely inappropriate and disproportionate attack on him by police.

I join the Prime Minister in saying that an independent investigation must be forthcoming that is both transparent and achieves the goal of getting answers to the questions so many of us are asking.

This incident is just another among too many examples of the need for police reform at all levels. Black Canadians and Indigenous people and everyone else should feel safe around police, not scared. We need action at all levels of government and I am pleased to have become a member of the Black Parliamentary Caucus which is shortly going to release a list of actions we need to take.

Please also find Public Safety Minster Blair’s statement about this incident and arrest:

https://twitter.com/BillBlair/status/1271489861422321664 ​

Backgammon to Raise Funds for Community Relief

I want to congratulate my law school classmate Jonathan Goodman and several other community leaders who have helped organize an opportunity for everyone to roll the dice for community relief at Federation CJA's 7 point, double elimination virtual backgammon tournament on Sunday, June 28th at 1:00PM.

Net proceeds from the event will support Federation CJA’s Community Recovery & Resilience Campaign.

This event is open to ages 18+.

Thanks to generous donor Medicom, the prizes include: 1st place: $3,600 2nd place: $1,800 3rd place: $1,008 …and more!

To find out more details and register for the event, please click on the following link:

https://www.federationcja.org/…/backgammon-in-support-of-c…/

I hope that everyone has a great weekend and is as excited as I am about barber shops and hairstylists reopening on Monday. I cannot wait to get my hair cut.

June 11th COVID-19 Update

I was very pleased that Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced that the federal government will continue to help Quebec manage COVID19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

I want to express my appreciation to the members of the CAF who have assisted in this riding and across Quebec. In our riding they have been at Vigi Mont-Royal, Henri-Bradet and yesterday they entered Maimonides Geriatric Facility. Their assistance is invaluable and I encourage everyone who runs into our brave men and women in uniform to express your thanks to them.

CEWS

In follow-up to the recent announcement by the Government of Canada to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until August 29th, the Government has now confirmed it is introducing regulations to maintain the same eligibility criteria.

Following the recently completed consultations with business and labour representatives on potential adjustments to the CEWS program, any changes made to the program will be aimed toward maximizing employment, ensuring CEWS reflects the immediate needs of businesses, and to support the post-crisis recover.

As Minister Bill Morneau indicated in his tweet yesteday, any potential modifications would commence as of period 5 (July to August 1) and/or 6 (August 2 to August 29).

Please stay tuned for further details.

Disability Payment

Yesterday, legislation was introduced in the House of Commons that among other issues would have extended a $600 payment to those with a valid certificate for a disability tax credit.

Given ongoing negotiations on other parts of the bill, the Government asked if the portion of the bill to provide the information necessary to process the payment for persons with disabilities could be severed from the bill and adopted on its own.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives denied unanimous consent to this motion and no parts of the Bill have yet been adopted. I am hopeful that negotiations between House Leaders will proceed quickly in order to allow this payment to proceed.

Minister Mary Ng announces government partnership with private sector campaign to help businesses reopen safely amid COVID-19

Small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada has introduced a wide range of supports to help businesses pay and retain their employees and keep up with their operating expenses during this difficult time.

As different regions and communities across the country begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions, business owners are looking for ways to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers in their stores, shops and offices.

Yesterday, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced that the Government of Canada has partnered with the People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program, an initiative launched by Canadian private sector organizations to help businesses across the country reopen safely.

The “POST Promise” is a voluntary commitment that business owners and managers can make by following five key public health actions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

1. Maintaining physical distance
2. Washing and sanitizing hands
3. Cleaning and disinfecting regularly
4. Staying home if unwell and self-monitoring for symptoms
5. Practicing respiratory etiquette (including wearing a mask when physical distancing is difficult)

By displaying the “POST Promise” logo, participating businesses can reassure customers that they are doing their part to help protect Canadians’ health and safety.

As we take steps toward restarting the economy, the Government will continue to work with POST Promise to ensure its platform provides businesses with accurate and up-to-date health and safety guidelines.

How Canadian research offers hope in the fight against COVID-19

Canadian researchers are some of the best in the world, and they are working hard to further our understanding of #COVID19. Read about some of their work at the following web page: https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/51964.html

June 10th COVID-19 Update

Further to my message of yesterday, I received a note today from the Minister of Defense’s office confirming that they expected the Canadian Armed Forces to arrive at Maimonides Geriatric Centre in the next 48 hours.

I want to express my personal thanks to Minister Harjit Sajjan and his Parliamentary Secretary Anita Vandenbeld for helping to make this happen.

I also want to thank all the men and women who will soon be heading to the Centre and providing the much-needed support for all the residents and hardworking staff.

Canada-US Cross-Border Travel for Property Owners

Over the past few weeks, I have heard from dozens of constituents who own property in the United States and are hoping to be able to travel into the US to check on their residence. The current agreement expires on June 21st and currently only essential travel is permitted.

As such, right now it is up to the US border guards if your trip is considered essential. While there are general rules set out in the current Canada-US border restrictions agreement, there are then specific instructions given to border guards by each government to determine what constitutes essential travel and that may differ on each side of the border.

For example, Canada unilaterally just decided to admit immediate family members of Canadian citizens under certain conditions, which I described in my update earlier this week.

I want to assure everyone that I have indeed raised the issue of a potential exemption for cross-border property owners with the Minister and relevant departments. I do not want to raise anyone’s expectations that such an exemption will be added but I have indeed raised the question.

Should there be any changes to the agreement, including an extension to the restrictions currently in place until June 21st, I will include it in a future update.

Opportunities for Appointments on the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

If you have experience that you believe would make you qualified for an appointment to either the SSHRC or NSERC councils, I would very much encourage you to apply.

As a council member, your goal would be to help strengthen the respective president’s ability to lead the organization and confidently account to the Minister and to Parliament for the decisions made, the resources expended, and the results achieved by the organization.

Please find links below to apply to each of these council appointments. If you intend on applying for a seat at one of these agencies, I encourage you to contact my office and let us know.

The deadline to apply is July 6, 2020.

SSHRC:

English Application Page:

https://pcogic.njoyn.com/cl3/xweb/XWeb.asp…

Page d'application en Français : https://bcpgec.njoyn.com/cl3/xweb/XWeb.asp…

NSERC :

English Application Page:

https://pcogic.njoyn.com/cl3/xweb/XWeb.asp…

Page d'application en Français :

https://bcpgec.njoyn.com/cl3/xweb/XWeb.asp…

Montreal Israeli Film Festival

I invite everyone to tune-in a At 7:00 PM this evening to watch the online opening ceremony of the Montreal Israeli Film Festival, an annual event produced by the Communauté Sépharade Unifiée du Québec (CSUQ).

The festival is an 11-day celebration offers this year a selection of 18 feature films on line to the entire community as well as new documentaries and series with a great selection of classics.

Thank you to resilient co-presidents Chantal et Gérard Buzaglo for all your successes, it is a true accomplishment of passion and organization to have been able to put forth the FCIM 2020.

The ceremony will be available to watch on the Festival’s Facebook page at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/Festival.cinema.israelien.mtl/

You can also go to the Festival du Cinéma Israélien de Montréal's website to have access to all the information on each film of the program (synopsis, trailer, awards, press review and interviews): www.FCIM.ca

June 9th COVID-19 Update

Yesterday I joined a call that was set up by the CIUSSS Centre West leadership to discuss the situation at Maimonides Geriatric Centre where 113 residents and at least 39 staff have tested positive for COVID 19. Among the residents, 34 have passed away, 18 have recovered and there are 61 active cases.

In collaboration with our MNA David Birnbaum MNA-député D’Arcy McGee, I have been working on obtaining the assistance of the Canadian Armed Forces for Maimonides. I had spoken directly with the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Health on this issue.

Yesterday, the CIUSSS leadership announced that there was a confirmation that the armed forces would be coming to Maimonides next week.

My understanding is that they will then stay till Maimonides is green (there is a scale of red, orange, yellow and green) and I know their added assistance will be of comfort to our valiant front line health care workers there and the residents and their families.

They have done an outstanding job at two other locations in our riding, Vigi Mont-Royal and Henri Bradet and I know they will do the same for the residents at Maimonides.

Personal Protective Equipment

While we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, the availability of protective personal equipment (PPE) remains critical.

I am pleased to provide an update that Joseph Ribkoff, a clothing manufacturer based out of Dorval, will be producing 1.2 million made-in-Canada medical gowns, with deliveries starting in July.

On Saturday, a ship carrying 160,000 litres of hand sanitizer arrived in Vancouver and another seven more ships with hand sanitizer is expected to arrive in the coming days.

We also have almost 1 million face shields and more than 7 million pairs of gloves on their way to provinces and territories.

Today, the Government of Canada also launched a new personal protective equipment supply hub to help provide information for organizations looking to sell PPE in support of the response to COVID-19.

If your company is looking to help with the supply of PPE, click on the following web page:

www.canada.ca/…/buying-selling-personal-protective-equipmen…

We will continue to make the accessibility of PPE a priority for front-line health care workers.

Upcoming Legislation to Make Changes to COVID-19 Programs and Benefits

On Sunday, I joined my fellow Parliamentary Secretary Irek Kusmierczyk on a phone call where we walked the opposition critics through legislation that is being proposed to Parliament on Wednesday. There are 4 parts to the legislation and we dealt with parts 3 and 4 which fall under employment.

Part 3 allows the Canada Revenue Agency to provide information necessary to provide the one time payment to persons with disabilities and part 4 deals with the CERB.

It creates two week CERB periods instead of 4 week periods following the initial 4 periods (but does not extend the 16 week total eligibility period which can be done by regulation and legislation would not be necessary).

The goal of the legislation is to make CERB payments more flexible, while making sure that it is very clear that those who are called back to work or offered a job and have no reasonable grounds to refuse cannot claim the CERB and if they wrongfully claim the CERB could face consequences.

The legislation will be debated tomorrow and will require the support of at least one of the three opposition parties and those negotiations are ongoing.

Applications for Phase 2 of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund Now Open

Starting today, the second call for proposals under the Local Food Infrastructure Fund is now open.

Through the five-year, $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, the Government is helping improve Canadians’ access to healthy food.

In August 2019, following the launch of Canada’s first Food Policy, the Government launched an initial call for applications, which funded 362 projects representing a total of $6.6 million.

The Fund aims to strengthen food support organizations and to help improve access to safe and nutritious food for Canadians at risk.

This next phase will support small and large community-led projects such as urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks, and greenhouses.

Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis until all funding has been allocated. Larger scale projects up to $250,000 will be accepted. It could also support a cluster of organizations ready to enhance their regional food systems.

To apply or find more information on this program, click on the following link: http://www.agr.gc.ca/…/local-food-inf…/step-3-how-to-apply/…

Liberal Caucus Filipino Heritage Month Video

I was pleased to join with other members of the Liberal caucus to wish Filipino Canadians a Happy Filipino Heritage Month! Also very happy to give a shout out to FAMAS in the video.

Click here to watch the video:

http://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=249679276298509

The Premiere of The Friendship Revolution Film!

Tonight at 8:00PM, the Friendship Circle’s virtual gala will be premiering the Friendship Revolution film.

This initiative is intended to help address the vital need to build a more inclusive Canada all the while promoting civic engagement among youth.

Thank you to the 60 Revolutionary Youth Leaders for stepping up to take inclusion into your own hands.

Watch their remarkable journey premiering right here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/643472639715807/

June 8th COVID-19 Update

While we are not out of the woods yet, we have made serious progress to plank the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19. I thank everyone who has helped by following public health guidelines since the pandemic first began.

I want to also give a special thank you to all front-line health care workers and all essential workers who continue to allow us to live our lives with the resources and services we need
Please find below important updates and information related to COVID-19.

Changes to travel restrictions for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Today, the Prime Minister announced an exemption to the essential travel requirement for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are asymptomatic and seeking entry into Canada for a minimum of 15 days. Public health requirements, such as the mandatory 14-day quarantine will remain in place.

An immediate family member refers to a person’s: a) spouse or common-law partner b) dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or dependent child of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; c) dependent child, as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b); d) parent or step-parent or the parent or step-parent of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; or e) the guardian or tutor of the person.

This exemption does not extend to immediate family members of temporary residents, such as international students.
All foreign nationals who have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 continue to remain prohibited from entering Canada.

These measures will come into force at 11:59 pm EDT tonight.

Some more important points to remember:

• All persons entering Canada – no matter their country of origin or mode of entry – must isolate themselves for 14 days if they have symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19 or quarantine themselves for 14 days if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

• Asymptomatic foreign national immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who intend to stay in Canada for 14 days or less may still enter Canada as long as their entry is not for a purpose that is discretionary and, if seeking entry from the United States, are able to comply with the requirement to quarantine based on their purpose of travel and intended length of stay.

• The temporary restriction on all discretionary/optional travel at the Canada-U.S. border put in place on March 21 at 12:01 a.m. EDT continues. This restriction is in place until at least June 21, 2020.

• Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Registered Indians under the Indian Act can continue to enter Canada by right, and are subject to COVID-19 entry screening measures.

• The immediate family member will need to confirm that they have a suitable place to quarantine for 14 days where they will have access to basic necessities (such as food and medication) and not have contact with vulnerable people, such as adults aged 65 years or over and people with pre-existing medical conditions, unless the vulnerable person is a consenting adult or is the parent or minor in a parent-minor relationship. Travellers will be expected to make plans for where they will quarantine in advance of arriving to Canada.

• Travellers should consult the respective provincial/territorial websites to ensure that they are aware of the provincial/territorial entry, quarantine and public health requirements and can abide by those requirements.

• As of March 31, 2020, anyone arriving in Canada in any mode (air, land or marine) must provide their contact information to a border services officer when seeking entry.

This information is collected on behalf of Public Health Agency of Canada to support their compliance and enforcement of the 14-day quarantine or isolation requirement outlined in Order in Council 2020-0260. Travellers are encouraged to download the mobile ArriveCAN App prior to arrival to reduce wait times and limit contact at the border. The App is available on the Apple App and Google Play stores.

$50 Million of New Support for Montreal’s Small Businesses

The Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), is planning to grant up to $30 million to the PME MTL network through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). This support is aimed at Montreal businesses across the island ineligible for other federal measures related to COVID-19 that are already in place.

In addition, the Government of Québec is contributing $20 million more to the envelope for the Ville de Montréal under the Aide d’urgence aux petites et moyennes entreprises program to come to the assistance of metropolis SMEs facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. A sum of $40 million was previously granted to the Ville de Montréal through this program. This funding is in addition to the amounts already injected by the Ville de Montréal.

The City announced on May 7, 2020, $2M in additional support in the form of grants to entrepreneurs in the retail sector and $2M to support social economy businesses.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the City has also announced that it will cover for six months the interest portion of loans taken out by businesses from PME MTL through the Fonds PME MTL, the Fonds Locaux de Solidarité, the Fonds de Commercialisation des innovations and the Fonds d’aide d’urgence worth $40M from the Government of Québec.

Finally, since the beginning of 2020, Montréal has recapitalized the PME MTL network’s funds up to $8.2M.

These new funds for Montréal are a testament to the great economic solidarity that exists among the three levels of government. They have come together to offer additional support adapted to Montréal’s small and medium-sized enterprises, as part of a project piloted by the PME MTL network.

A frontline partner to the metropolis’s small and medium-sized enterprises since 2015, the PME MTL network is well acquainted with their reality.

Composed of six non-profit organizations (NPOs), it serves Île de Montréal businesses by accompanying and financing them from the start-up phase through to the growth phase. A key player in the Montréal ecosystem, the network is already providing structural support to entrepreneurs hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

Details of Mobile Testing Clinics in Côte Saint Luc and Parc-Extension

COVID-19 mobile clinics are continuing to travel to various areas of Montreal. The clinics, located in buses, are open to everyone who meets the criteria for testing.

New clinics in the areas of Côte Saint Luc and Parc-Extension:

•Côte Saint-Luc area - Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ** Samuel Moskovitch Arena, 6985 Mackle Road

• Parc-Extension area - Friday, June 12; Saturday, June 13; and Sunday, June 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. **
In front of the Parc metro station, on Hutchison Street.

For a list of clinics and hours in the West-Central area of Montreal—including the two upcoming locations in the Côte Saint-Luc and Parc-Extension areas, visit http://www.ciussswestcentral.ca/MobileTestingClinic.

Prime Minister Highlights Local Business Franklin Empire During Press Conference Today

I was very pleased that the Prime Minister highlighted our great local business Franklin Empire today in his message to Canadians. Please find the video:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=863992787425415

June 5th COVID-19 Update

As society gradually re-opens we will see more and more people returning to work. Today’s job report shows some minor progress with the economy adding about 289,600 jobs in May.

I expect to see much greater growth in the June report. I expect to see a number of businesses that have been closed or only partially open using the Employee Wage Subsidy to bring more of their employees back on payroll.

One-Time Payment for Persons with Disabilities and a Valid Disability Tax Credit Certificate

Today, the Prime Minister announced a one-time payment of $600 for persons with disabilities to address these expenses.
This payment will go to valid Disability Tax Credit certificate holders, which includes parents with children or dependents with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and many other Canadians that we know have costs associated with severe and prolonged disabilities.

We are confident that this measure, along with our other investments, will greatly benefit Canadians with disabilities across the country.

The Government is also working to establish a National Workplace Accessibility Stream, to help people with disabilities find, and keep, a good job. And we’re funding five new projects across the country that will help people get supportive devices to overcome barriers in the workplace.

More Support for Provinces through a Safe Restart Agreement

The federal government announced that it is ready to contribute $14 billion to provinces through a safe restart agreement. These funds would help go towards continuing to safely protect Canadians that are or will be soon returning to the workforce.

This includes:

• More personal protective equipment for healthcare workers on the frontlines, so they can focus on saving lives instead of worrying about their safety.

• Making sure businesses have the PPE they need

• Funds for childcare so that every parent knows there’s a safe place for their kids.

• Immediate assistance so that the most vulnerable, including seniors, are protected.

• Providing funds for sick pay of up to 10 days for workers who currently don’t have benefits.

• Additional support for cities and municipalities, so Canadians can count on services they need like public transit when they return to work and community programs when they can reopen

Link to My Conversation with Rabbi Fishman

It was a pleasure to discuss our federal response to COVID19, racial and social justice and other topics with Rabbi Mark Fishman and his audience. To watch the conversation in its entirety, click on the link here:

https://www.facebook.com/markjfishman/videos/10163539508585526/

National Health and Fitness Day on Saturday, June 6

As many of you know, I am a big believer of staying healthy through exercise.

With tomorrow, June 6th being National Health and Fitness Day, I encourage everyone to include some physical activity into their daily routine while following public health guidelines. Your physical and mental health will thank you for it!

Get Up, Get Out, Get Active!
#NHFD2020 #GetActiveCanada

June 4th COVID-19 Update

I am pleased to provide an important update on the one-time, tax-free payment to seniors previously announced by the government.

As stated today by both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Seniors, seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6.

Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. Allowance recipients will also receive $500.

This in addition to the GST Tax credits which 85% of seniors living alone and 50% of couples received and averaged $375 per individual; and $500 per couple. We also made changes to RRIF withdrawals this year which was reduced by 25%.

Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors on GIS and more than $1,500 for senior couples both on GIS, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic.

In total, $2.5 billion in financial support was provided by the federal government to help Canadian seniors cover increased costs caused by COVID-19 and giving them greater financial security in this time of crisis.

Swift Action Taken Against Vandalism at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa

Yesterday, the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa was vandalized with graffiti. These sorts of acts against a symbol commemorating the six million Jews and millions of others victims of Nazi Germany are deplorable.

I want to thank Minister Anita Anand and the National Capital Commission (NCC) for the swift action taken to remove it. Antisemitism is one of the world’s oldest most pernicious evils. We must never cease to denounce and combat it.

New measures for the use of face coverings in the Canadian transportation sector

To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, Transport Canada and the transportation industry have implemented a layered system of measures, such as increased sanitization, health checks for passengers, and allowing passengers to remain in their vehicles on ferries. However, there are still points in the transportation system where workers must be in close proximity to co-workers and travellers.

That is why, yesterday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, announced he is expanding the requirements for the use of face coverings by workers and others involved in the transportation system, to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

This approach for workers complements recent regulations and guidelines for passengers to use face coverings in certain circumstances when travelling by air, marine and rail to reduce the risk of the virus transmission. It also puts in place a more a comprehensive approach for face coverings that strengthens the protection of everyone involved in the transportation system.

The measures will be implemented through a combination of mandatory orders and guidance:

Aviation

Expand the existing face covering / non-medical mask requirements beyond passengers to include some flight crew and airport workers.

These measures came into effect at noon EDT on June 4, 2020.

Marine

Issue guidance recommending that all workers in the marine transportation sector have in their possession a face covering, and recommend that face coverings be worn using a risk-based approach specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when physical distancing cannot be maintained, and/or when local authorities require it.

Rail

Issue guidance requiring rail operators to notify passengers that they will be asked to wear a face covering when physical distancing of two metres from others cannot be maintained, or as requested by rail operators.

Provide or make accessible a face covering to all workers in the rail industry.

Ensure a face covering be worn by workers on a risk-based approach specific to the unique circumstances of the workplace, when physical distancing cannot be maintained, and/or when local authorities require it.

Road

Establish a set of practices for the use of personal protective equipment, including face coverings in road transportation (i.e., trucking, motor coach, transit), in collaboration with provinces, territories and industry.

Existing public health and good hygiene practices including physical distancing and frequent hand washing, are still the most effective methods to limit the spread of the virus.

Where physical distancing of two metres from others cannot be maintained, the use of face coverings can play a key role in limiting transmission of the virus. These measures will better protect everyone involved in the transportation system: passengers, support workers, customers, and essential transportation workers, who ensure the system continues to function.

Prime Minister Trudeau addresses the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States

Yesterday the Prime Minister spoke with members of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to discuss the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined by leaders from Australia, France, Norway, the United Nations and the European Union.

The Prime Minister highlighted Canada’s close connections to countries from the three regions of the OACPS, thanks to relationships built on shared values, bilateral friendships, and common membership in organizations like the Commonwealth, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Organization of American States.

The Prime Minister recognized the challenges that developing countries face as they combat COVID-19, and emphasized the importance of a coordinated global approach to ensure the health and safety of all people, especially the most vulnerable.

The leaders also discussed longer-term economic recovery measures to build economic resilience. The Prime Minister spoke about the joint initiative he recently launched with the United Nations Secretary-General and the Prime Minister of Jamaica to accelerate the global response to the pandemic.

This initiative emphasizes the need to improve access to critical development financing, including by low- and middle-income countries, to help them recover and build back into prosperous, resilient, and inclusive economies and societies.

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving global challenge. The Government of Canada is working closely with local, provincial, territorial, and international partners to minimize its health, economic, and social impacts in Canada and around the world.

June 3rd COVID-19 Update

I have heard from seniors across the riding who are curious as to when the one-time payment for those who receive the GIS and/or OAS will be sent out.

This is a one time tax free payment so the expectation is that it will come as a single, separate payment not co-mingled with a regular payment. I anticipate the Minister for Seniors announcing the date of the payment shortly and I will let you know as soon as it is announced.

My Statement in the House of Commons on the Passing of Tristan Roy

Yesterday I rose in the House of Commons to pay tribute to Tristan Roy, the late editor of the TMR Post. He was an excellent local journalist and editor and he will be sorely missed.

To watch my statement, click on the link below:

facebook.com/watch/?v=2529573040705568

Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons on Anti-Black Racism

In the House of Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister and leaders from all parties rose in the chamber to denounce Anti-Black racism. I very much encourage you to listen to the Prime Minister’s words on this very important issue that is not just prevalent within the borders of our neighbours to the south, but also right here in Canada:

https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau/status/1268002214574002177

Join My Conversation with Rabbi Fishman on Zoom Tonight at 7pm

At 7:00PM this evening, I invite you to join a Zoom meeting tonight as I join moderator Rabbi Mark Fishman to talk about the pandemic as well as the federal benefits and programs created in response to COVID-19. There will also be questions at the end from the audience.

To listen or participate in the event tonight, click on the zoom link below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85094499338

If you are unable to join through Zoom, Rabbi Fishman will also be live streaming the event through his Facebook account.

Below is the link to watch the conversation at 7:00 PM tonight.

Please note that you do not need a Facebook account to access this link:
facebook.com/markjfishman

June 2nd COVID-19 Update

Today I was in the House of Commons and listened to the Prime Minister and all party leaders deliver moving speeches on how we need to tackle anti-black racism and hatred of all kinds.

Last evening I attended Liberal Black Caucus and heard the stories from black members and staffers, moved to share their personal experiences following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer.

We have a lot of work to do and leaders need to console and heal not foster further divisions. We are lucky that in Canada our national leaders did that today.

We must follow words with actions to end economic disparities and systemic discrimination particularly in the justice system.

I also was honoured to rise to pay tribute to the late Tristan Roy, editor of the TMR Post. I will share the video tomorrow when it is available.

I have a different video to share today. There have been recommendations by Public Health at all levels to wear masks in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. Yesterday evening Cote Saint Luc adopted a bylaw requiring people to wear masks in city owned buildings such as City Hall and in all stores.

The video attached was released by the Government of Canada and shows people the correct way to put on and wear a mask:

youtube.com/watch?v=RFV0h4h3HzY

Non-medical masks are another layer of protection when physical distancing is not possible, but only if worn properly.

The best protection against COVID-19 is still to:

​- Stay at home

- If you must leave, practice social distancing

- If you are sick, do not go outside and isolate yourself from others in your home

- Wash your hands regularly and clean commonly-used surfaces

Update on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Since this crisis began, the Government has worked hard to get Canadian health care workers the PPE they need.

To date, we have received more than 100 million surgical masks and nearly 40 million gloves and are continuing to send a whole range of supplies to the provinces and territories.

The government has also signed a contract for millions of syringes, to have the supplies needed once a vaccine is ready.

We are now funding four Canadian companies working on what may be breakthrough solutions for COVID-19 rapid testing – Deep Biologics in Guelph, Nicoya Lifesciences in Kitchener, Fourien in Edmonton, and Metabolic Insights in Kelowna.

This is on top of the support we’ve already provided for testing, including for Precision Biomonitoring as they set up a test kit manufacturing facility in Ontario.

Minister Bains announces members of new Industry Strategy Council

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced the names of nine business leaders who will join Monique Leroux—a strong business leader with a distinguished career in Canadian finance—on the new and recently announced Industry Strategy Council.

Dr. Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, joins as an ex-officio member to provide an important perspective on science and research.

The Council provides a forum for the Government to hear from and collaborate with well-respected industry leaders to assess the scope and depth of COVID-19’s impact on industries and to understand specific sectoral pressures.

In addition to Monique Leroux and Dr. Mona Nemer, the Government has enlisted the following senior business leaders to be part of the Council, which will hold virtual meetings every two weeks over the next 90 days:

- Murad Al-Katib, President and Chief Executive Officer, AGT Food and Ingredients – Agri-food sector

- John Baker, M.S.C., President and Chief Executive Officer, D2L Corporation – Digital Industries sector

- Rhonda Barnet, President and Chief Operating Officer, AVIT Manufacturing – Advanced Manufacturing sector

- Paviter Binning, President, Wittington Investments, Limited – Retail sector

- Ben Cowan-Dewar, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cabot Links – Tourism & Hospitality sector

- Karimah Es Sabar, Chief Executive Officer and Partner, Quark Venture – Health & Biosciences sector

- Karen Hamberg, Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability, Westport Fuel Systems Inc. – Clean Technology sector

- Mark Little, President and Chief Executive Officer, Suncor Energy Inc. – Resources of the Future sector

- Sylvie Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Montreal Port Authority – Transportation sector

Each member, including two returning Chairs of the Economic Strategy Tables, has insight into an industry that is of vital importance to Canada at this time.

June 1st COVID-19 Update

I join with many of you to express the pain and disgust we felt when we saw the video of a Minneapolis Police Officer causing the death of George Floyd. I applaud the District Attorney’s decision to charge the officer with third degree murder and manslaughter and look forward to other charges being laid in this case against other officers.

This video is but one of many incidents where members of the black community have been subject to police violence.

Let me make clear this does not represent the vast majority of police officers who do an extraordinary job protecting our community.

But the number of incidents, the clear statistics that black people are pulled over more often, represent a disproportionate number of people charged and a disproportionate number of prisoners makes clear this is a very serious systemic problem which exists across the United States and Canada.

When I was in my 20s, I realized quickly that many of my black friends saw the police very differently than I. When I saw police officers I felt safe. When they saw police officers they told me they felt a type of fear.

Hearing those fears then, as well as knowing the discriminatory acts that continue in other areas such as that black businesses are less likely to get supported by banks and those who are black are statistically less likely to be hired by an employer re-enforces my belief that we need to do better in combatting anti-black racism.

I was pleased that the Prime Minister stepped up today and gave the type of speech that a real world leader gives when confronted with these societal inequities. Hate needs to be addressed not ignored. I will be joining in a call today with the Liberal Black Caucus to discuss this issue and continue to develop solutions.

Support for Municipalities

Another issue which has gotten less attention but is something very important to me is added support for municipalities. Although municipalities fall within provincial jurisdiction and we need provincial agreement to create new programs we know we need to help Montreal, Cote Saint-Luc, TMR and Hampstead navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Today, the Prime Minister announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines.

This means that $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June.

The federal Gas Tax Fund gives communities flexibility to apply funding to meet their local needs. Communities can invest across 18 different project categories ranging from public transit to disaster mitigation to recreation facilities.
The funds can be used immediately for priority projects, banked for later use, pooled with other communities for shared infrastructure projects, or used to help finance major infrastructure expenditures.

The federal Gas Tax Fund provides annual infrastructure funding to more than 3,600 communities across the country. In recent years the funding has supported approximately 4000 projects each year.Early delivery of the full funding for 2020-21 will help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects that will improve our quality of life and help restart local economies.

Communities have flexibility to use the funding to meet their local needs. Projects could include access to high-speed broadband, improvements to water and road systems, and the building of cycling and walking paths.

These projects create jobs, and improve how Canadians live, work, and play.
Please know that today’s announcement to help municipalities is simply a start. I will continue to advocate for more support on a local level to ensure we do even more to get our economy back up to the levels we saw prior to the beginning of the pandemic.

Filipino Heritage Month

Today marks the beginning of Filipino Heritage Month in Canada! While we normally would highlight the all the valuable contributions of the Filipino community in the past, let us also take this time to thank all those who are currently on the frontlines doing incredible work as we continue to combat COVID-19. I want to thank all the Filipino Canadians in the health care sector including, nurses, doctors, personal support workers, and caregivers, for being true heroes during this pandemic. Your help during this time of crisis is truly invaluable.
Mabuhay!

May 29th COVID-19 Update

The number of COVID-19 cases in and around Montreal continue to be a concern.

It is important that we follow all public health guidelines to avoid further large spikes in deaths and severe cases of the virus.

I thank everyone for their patience and practice of social distancing rules that remain in place.

I urge you to please continue doing so this weekend.

Reports of Vandalism at the Sepharade Kol Yehouda synagogue in Côte St-Luc

Yesterday, a congregant of Sepharade Kol Yehouda and his son were retrieving items from the synagogue when they said they discovered the small synagogue in Cote Saint-Luc vandalized.

These reports are, without a doubt, deeply disturbing.

Please see the joint statement that MP Michael Levitt and I published last night. It can also be found on my Facebook page at the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/anthonyhousefather/posts/3826795760694818

Statement from Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt:

We are disturbed and deeply concerned by reports of vandalism at the Sepharade Kol Yehouda synagogue in Côte St-Luc.

Any attack on a place of worship is an attack not only against the institution, but those who worship there, their religion, and against the moral compass of Canadian society.

It is particularly distressing at a time when Jewish Canadians have been unable to attend synagogue and worship together in order to help protect our communities from COVID-19.

Houses of worship must be a space for anyone to practice their religion without fear, especially in a time when antisemitism and other forms of hate are on the rise.

As we await more details on the incident, we call on Montreal Police to quickly and seriously investigate.

To all those observing Shavuot this evening, Chag Sameach.

May it be a meaningful celebration at home with family.

Donate Your Cans and Bottles to the Cans for Kids Initiative!

Groceries CSL is holding a can and bottle drive to benefit the MADA Centre and the Generations Foundation!

Please bring your cans to the IGA in the CSL Shopping Centre between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 31st.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2498543307142873/

New measures for cruise ships and passenger vessels

Today, Minister Marc Garneau announced updated measures for cruise ships and smaller passenger vessels to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew onboard vessels in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. This builds on previous announcements for marine transportation.

New measures in non-Arctic Canadian waters:

1. Cruise ships with overnight accommodations allowed to carry more than 100 persons are prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until October 31, 2020

This extends previous measures for cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 persons (previously scheduled to expire on June 30, 2020). It also expands the restrictions from more than 500 to 100 persons for cruise vessels with overnight accommodations.

2. All other passenger vessels are allowed to operate as of July 1, 2020.

The previous measures prohibiting the operation of passenger vessels allowed to carry more than 12 persons will expire on June 30, 2030. After that, all other passenger vessels must follow provincial, territorial, local and regional health authority requirements for timelines and processes to resume operations.

Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to operate using mitigation measures. These could include reducing the number of passengers or using alternative practices such as keeping people in their vehicles, when safe to do so, or enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Prime Minister announces additional funding for health, economic, and social support for Indigenous peoples and communities

COVID-19 has further highlighted many existing challenges already facing Indigenous peoples, particularly those who live in remote areas. The Government of Canada is working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities to support their immediate public health response, with the flexibility to address their specific needs through community-led solutions, while also identifying opportunities to provide longer-term support.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced new funding to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities during this crisis, based on needs that have been identified. The funding includes:

​$285.1 million to support the ongoing public health response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities. The investment will fund community-led responses to the pandemic, and provide targeted increases in primary health care resources for First Nations communities. In case of outbreaks, this funding can be drawn upon to provide surge capacity and additional support for community-based services in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.

​$270 million to supplement the On-Reserve Income Assistance Program to address increased demand on the program, which will help individuals and families meet their essential living expenses. It will also help hire additional staff to better serve First Nations communities and connect individuals to other government programs.

​$44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. This funding will help build 10 shelters in First Nations communities on reserve across the country, and two in the territories, to support Indigenous women and children.

The government will also provide $40.8 million to support operational costs for these new shelters over the first five years, and $10.2 million annually ongoing. We are also announcing $1 million a year ongoing, starting this year, to support engagement with Métis leaders and service providers on shelter provision and community-led violence prevention projects for Métis women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.

Today’s investment builds on the work already being done through the $305 million Indigenous Community Support Fund, and the additional $75 million provided for communities and organizations working with Indigenous peoples living in urban areas and off-reserve.

The Government of Canada is taking a distinctions-based approach to address the needs of Indigenous peoples and communities.

Where needed, the government has also provided additional support, including in northwestern Saskatchewan, where funding has supported a collective effort between First Nations, the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan, and other partners to coordinate the COVID-19 response in the region.

We will continue to work with Indigenous partners as we move forward to support their efforts to respond to COVID-19 and its health, social, and economic impacts.

May 28th COVID-19 Update

While these updates focus upon COVID, I wanted to mention how disturbed I have been about recent actions and statements by the Chinese Government.

Today the Chinese Parliament adopted a new national security law, which will bypass the duly elected Hong Kong legislature and drastically broaden Beijing’s power over Hong Kong.

As a result of these actions, I have joined a number of my fellow Liberal Caucus Members in signing on to the Patten Declaration on Hong Kong, signed also by hundreds of other parliamentarians from Canada and around the world. This new law fails to respect the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s autonomy and I felt it was important to speak out on this issue.

To read the Joint Declaration, click on the link below: https://www.hongkongwatch.org/…/patten-led-group-of-198-par…

In addition, our Global Affairs Minister Francois Philippe Champagne issued a statement alongside Foreign Affairs minister leaders from the UK, Australia and the US, responding to China’s action. You can find a link to the statement at the following link:
https://www.canada.ca/…/joint-statement-on-hong-kong--canad…

House of Commons Update

Earlier this week, a motion put forward by the Government was passed to officially allow for a Hybrid Parliament where Members could participate in House of Commons proceedings both virtually or in-person. Up until now the Parliament has been virtual (except on Wednesdays) as are our Parliamentary Committees.

The Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) committee on which I serve as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour sat three times last week and will sit twice this week and we will continue to meet in this manner throughout the coming months.

But special COVID committee consisting of all Parliamentarians will now sit Monday through Thursday with a limited number of MPs in the chamber (somewhere between 30 and 50) and the rest participating virtually.

I received the schedule of days that each MP will attend in person and my first day in person in Ottawa will be next Tuesday.

I have been on the virtual side of things, experiencing Parliament through Zoom for the last month and a half so am curious to see how being in Ottawa for the hybrid session will feel, watching other people speak on large screens from home.

Statement in the House of Commons on the Passing of Tristan Roy

As a community, we continue to mourn the loss of Tristan Roy, who tragically passed away after decades of incredible work as the founder and publisher of the TMR Post.

While attending the House of Commons in-person next Tuesday, I will rise in the chamber to provide a statement about Tristan and all that he did for the Town of Mount Royal.

We will post the video onto my Facebook page and provide a link to it in our daily update on Tuesday afternoon.

Different forms of phishing and how to protect yourself during COVID-19

I have been very concerned over reports of people trying to take advantage of vulnerable people during these difficult times and one concern that has been brought to my attention that is occurring is phishing. I wanted to make sure to provide everyone with the following information so that you can protect yourselves.

Phishing is a common tactic that cyber criminals use to steal personal and financial information from you. Phishing messages usually take the form of an email or phone call from a cyber criminal who is pretending to be someone they are not, such as your bank.

Cyber criminals have become increasingly sophisticated in their phishing campaigns.
Arm yourself with the following tips so that you can be vigilant about staying cyber secure.

What does phishing look like?

Phishing messages appear to be from a legitimate source but, in reality, they are from cyber criminals who are attempting to trick you into sharing sensitive information.

In these messages, cyber criminals frequently use scare tactics, such as threatening to close your accounts or arrest you unless you give them information that you would ordinarily keep secure. If successful, the cyber criminal can use that information to steal your identity or to gain access to your accounts.

For example: Many cyber criminals claim to be from government organizations and threaten potential victims with fines or an arrest if they do not call them back with personal information.

What are the different forms of phishing?

Phishing refers to any attempt to steal information, whatever the means. Phishing messages can come in almost any form: Emails, text messages, social media direct messages, or phone calls.

In most cases, cyber criminals’ phishing campaigns are untargeted attempts to solicit personal details by casting as wide a net as possible to get people to respond.

However, there are more specific versions of phishing that are worth knowing about:

Smishing

Is a phishing attempt through SMS (text message).

Spearphishing

Is a hyper-targeted phishing attempt in which a message is designed to sound like it’s coming from a source you know personally.

Whaling

Is a phishing attempt aimed at a high-profile target such as a senior executive or other high-ranking official in an organization or government department.

Spoofing

Involves creating a fake website to get someone to share their personal information

The dangers of falling for a phishing campaign

Falling for a phishing scam can be very costly; you can lose money and your personal identity.

Cyber criminals can use the information that they gather to steal your financial information, open accounts in your name, or steal your identity.

How to protect yourself from phishing campaigns

There is no simple way to ensure you are 100 per cent protected against phishing campaigns.

Phishing campaigns are becoming increasingly elaborate, and the growth of digital platforms, like social media, have given cyber criminals many opportunities to reach victims.

The best way to protect yourself from a phishing campaign is to be extremely cautious any time you receive a message that asks you to reveal personal information – no matter how legitimate that message may appear on first glance.
Whenever possible, you should try to verify requests for information through another means.

For example: If you receive a message from your bank requesting you take immediate action to click on a link or verify some information, simply call your bank branch directly to verify the message’s legitimacy.

Remember, most legitimate organizations will never ask you to reveal information through an email or text message. For example Canada Revenue Agency will NEVER contact you this way to discuss your benefits.

Conclusion

Phishing campaigns can be difficult spot. Cyber criminals have become experts at using sophisticated techniques to trick victims into sharing personal or financial information.
But the best way to protect yourself is to learn how to spot a phishing scam before you take the bait.

Governments and international organizations come together to address economic challenges and sustainability
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness have convened world leaders and international organizations today in a joint initiative to sharpen and accelerate our global response to the significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions to the development emergency.

This pandemic requires a large-scale, coordinated, comprehensive multilateral response to support countries in need, enabling them to recover better for more prosperous, resilient and inclusive economies and societies.

With more than 50 Heads of State and Government participating, the High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond is the most inclusive gathering of countries to focus on the socio-economic recovery and financing needs from the pandemic.

We must continue to coordinate these efforts to avoid a devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

May 27th COVID-19 Update

The problems within nursing homes and long-term care facilities remains top of mind for many Canadians, and rightly so.

While the constitution makes it clear that these facilities fall within provincial jurisdiction, the federal government continues to offer its full support to the provinces to get this situation under control as soon as possible.

Whether it is providing the armed forces to the locations chosen by Quebec and Ontario or by helping to obtain personal protective equipment we are focused on the immediate needs but also the long term structural problems.

The short term suffering needs to be resolved immediately. The long term structural changes need to be made.

I support the federal government’s active involvement in pursuing fundamental change in the long term care system in collaboration with the provinces and territories.

Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will be speaking with Premiers on this exact issue. We need to do better by our seniors in these residences.

Today Premier Legault advised us that Quebec is seeking 10,000 individuals to be trained to work in the health system. These individuals would be paid to be trained for three months and then offered jobs in the system. I encourage everyone seeking rewarding employment to consider this offer and to pursue it.

45,000 Jobs Available for Young Canadians

If you are a young adult aged 15 to 30 looking for work during this difficult time, there are now over 45,000 jobs across the country helped made possible through the Canada Summer Jobs program. To check out all the positions available, please visit jobbank.gc.ca/youth.

Jobs for Youth in Agriculture

Even though our riding is not agricultural I had several people asking about how we would find jobs for youth and why not in agriculture?

Yesterday, Marie-Claude Bibeau announced an investment of $9.2 million to enhance the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP) which will fund up to 700 new positions for youth in the agriculture sector.

This additional funding will help the agriculture sector attract Canadian youth from 15 to 30 years old.

This program aims to provide youth, and particularly youth facing barriers to employment, with job experience in agriculture that will provide career-related work experience.

The YESP will provide agriculture employers up to 50% of the cost of hiring a Canadian youth up to $14,000. Indigenous applicants and those applicants hiring a youth facing barriers are eligible for funding of up to 80% of their costs.

Eligible applicants include producers, agri-businesses, industry associations, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and research centers.

Employers may apply for this funding retroactive to April 1, 2020, with projects to be completed by March 31, 2021.

Application forms are available through the Youth Employment and Skills Program:

http://www.agr.gc.ca/…/youth-employment-and-skills-program/…

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Progress Made to Strengthen Canadian Supply Chain

As part of our Made in Canada Project update, Minister Navdeep Bains announced important progress on testing and strengthening the Canadian supply chain.

Letters of Intent have been signed with six Canadian organizations to produce key testing kit inputs. They are:

· GL Chemtec International (Oakville);

· Plastiques Moore (Saint-Damien);

· Galenvs Sciences (Montréal);

· Bio Basic Canada Inc. (Markham);

· Rane Pharmaceutical Inc. (Edmonton); and

· McGill University’s Centre for Structural Biology (Montréal), in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and the NRC.

Furthermore, the NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program has now provided over $2 million in funding for six early-stage COVID-19 reagents and test kit technologies:

· Artron Bioresearch Inc. (Burnaby)

· LuminUltra (Fredericton)

· Custom Biologics (Etobicoke)

· Diagnostic Biochem (London)

· BioLytical Laboratories (Richmond, BC)

· Response Biomedical (Vancouver)

Three companies have been selected for funding as part of a challenge under the Innovative Solutions Canada program.

The NRC asked small and medium-sized businesses to come up with alternative materials that could be used in large quantities to manufacture N95 respirators and surgical masks for healthcare workers.

These companies will work on solutions to this challenge using materials sourced and manufactured in Canada.

Three companies were selected from that process:

· Granby-based StedFast Inc.

· Calgary-based Roswell Technologies

· Vancouver-based Performance BioFilaments Inc.

Finally, the Government of Canada has issued a purchase order for the purchase of 10,000 ventilators from the team led by Canadian Nobel Prize-winning researcher, Dr. Art McDonald. ISED was able to partner Dr. McDonald and his team with Vexos, based in Markham, Ontario, to manufacture these easy-to-produce ventilator designs using off-the-shelf, easily accessible parts.

May 26th COVID-19 Update

I want to first thank all the members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their amazing work and support in our long-term facilities including at Vigi Mont Royal and Henri Bradet in our riding. It is through their efforts that some of our most troubled long-term care homes have the support in place to help residents get the care they need.

I am hopeful that their observations while working at these facilities will help identify important changes needed to ensure long-term care residents are safe when another crisis comes along.

I also note that it is important to remember that in Quebec and Ontario it is the provincial governments that have directed the locations the armed forces members are deployed.

With the number of armed forces personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 based on being in the hardest hit facilities, working 12 hours a day seven days a week, and the number who are in quarantine as a result of having been in close contact with someone infected, we currently do not have capacity to add to the number of sites where personnel is deployed but I have been in touch with the Minister of Defense yesterday to discuss urgent needs that I see locally and that, I hope, might be identified by Quebec in the short term.

Update on Personal Protective and Health Care Equipment

Much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) has continued to flow into Canada over the last 10 weeks. From over 40 flights into Canada, we have received hundreds of thousands of items that were then shipped to our frontline workers.

We have also made key investments in production domestically. Today, the Prime Minister announced that we have signed a contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks.

As for lifesaving healthcare equipment, the government has signed a new contract for 10,000 ventilators that are being produced through a partnership between Canadian Nobel Laureate Dr. Art McDonald, his team, and Vexos. Deliveries will begin this summer, bringing our total of made-in-Canada ventilators to 40,000.

Of course availability of PPE does not necessarily equate to people being properly trained on how to use the PPE. I call upon all employers to ensure that their employees who need to use PPE are provided with proper training on appropriate use. The CCOHS website and the Business Resilience Service site mentioned below give great tips to all business owners as to how to prepare for re-opening.

More Information on the Business Resilience Service
There is now direct support available for the smallest and most vulnerable businesses including those who run charities and non-profits.

The government launched the Business Resilience Service (BRS), a free hotline operated by 125 business advisors from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada for the next 4 weeks.

You can access tailored financial planning advice to help you survive this difficult period – from navigating tax regulations and government supports, to planning their path to recovery.
You can call the following number 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm ET, 1-866-989-1080,and you can visit:

https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/

Here are some details about how the BRS can help you:

Government of Canada: COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Additional Financial Support:
https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/support…/

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund - As a complement to Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada has established a Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), an initiative with an envelope of $211 million for Quebec.

Check out the program details and frequently asked questions to find out more about the terms of the RRRF.
Provincial Government Financial Supports : https://www.quebec.ca/…/2019-…/financial-assistance-covid19/

Sourcing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Ensuring the health and safety of Canadians throughout this pandemic has been the top priority for businesses, institutions and individual citizens. Indeed, never before have such drastic measures been collectively undertaken to meet this goal.

Reopening the economy – and keeping it open – hinges on our collective ability to maintain the health and safety for your staff, your customers, the general public and yourselves.
If you are having difficulty sourcing PPE, you are not alone; the current situation surrounding PPE is unprecedented.

There is exceptionally high global demand from all industries, sectors and individuals. Particularly since many of the health and safety regulations issued across Canada require the use of PPE in order to be in compliance.

In order to meet this demand, many manufacturers have retooled their operations to produce PPE, but they have limited experience interacting with PPE supply chains. This situation creates logistical challenges.

Introducing the Rapid Response Platform

The Rapid Response Platform is free to use and connects suppliers, manufacturers and businesses in need of PPE supplies in Canada. It further simplifies the procurement process through automated matching. The portal currently includes the following PPE: hand sanitizer, disposable surgical masks, disposable N95 masks, gowns and coveralls.

On May 27, it will be expanded to additionally include surface sanitizer, face shields, nitrile/vinyl gloves, testing kits, thermometers and ventilators.

The success of the RRP Canada portal is dependent on participation on both the supply and demand side. Please register and participate in the matchmaking service.
Access RRP Canada here: https://www.rrpcanada.org/#/

CBRN’s Reopening Toolkit:

• Update your Operations Plan.

• Update your Health and Safety Plan.

• Communicate those plans and procedures to your staff, customers and suppliers.

• Know how to access any required personal protective equipment.

• Continue to access government financial supports.

• Understand the social services, such as childcare, that are available to you and to your staff.

• Be aware of the wide array of additional supports, resources and guides that are available.

Direct Link to PDF Version: https://bit.ly/2znaAgs
A Communications Guide is available:

https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/resources/

Additional health and safety awareness graphics and information from the Government of Canada are available: https://www.canada.ca/…/2019-novel-…/guidance-documents.html

Template and Ready-made Signage: https://bit.ly/2X4vPwc

More information on Quebec schools is available here:
https://www.quebec.ca/…/etablissements-scolaires-prescolai…/

As of June 1 (planned), childcare centres in the Montreal-area may reopen.

More information can be found here: https://bit.ly/2LXw7yD

Additional Resources and Guides from Across the CBRN

The CBRN is a collection of more than 570 business organizations across Canada, representing thousands of businesses and millions of Canadians. Below is a collection of just some of the resources made available by those groups. Still more resources are collected across this website.

•BDC: Support for Entrepreneurs Impacted by Coronavirus https://www.bdc.ca/en/pages/special-support.aspx…

•Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP: Key Business and Legal Implications https://www.blakes.com/…/the-coronavirus-key-business-and-l…

•Borden, Ladner, Gervais LLP: Employer Strategies for Managing Coronavirus Risks in the Workplace https://www.blg.com/…/employer-strategies-for-managing-nove…

•CBRN: Business continuity tips and advice https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/busines…/

•CBRN: Data and research https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/data-an…/

•CBRN: Financing available during COVID-19 with Grant Thornton https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/the-bus…/

•CBRN: Health and safety https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/contain…/

•CBRN: Step-by-step guide to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/step-by…/

•CBRN: Webinar: How to navigate government programs with KPMG https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/webinar…/

•CBRN: Webinars, videos, and podcasts https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/resourc…/…/

•Canada Life: COVID-19 Tips for Business Leaders https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/covid-1…/

•Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Pandemic (COVID-19) Tip Sheets https://www.ccohs.ca/products/publications/covid19/

•Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Food processing guidelines https://www.ccohs.ca/…/pandemiccovi…/pdf/food_processing.pdf

•Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Pandemic information https://www.ccohs.ca/outbreaks/

•Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: Tips for employers https://www.ccohs.ca/outbreaks/workplace/

•Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Business Continuity and Recovery Planning Guide https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/Guide_Bu…

•Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Crisis Communications Planning Guide https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/Guide_Cr…

•Canadian Chamber of Commerce: Pandemic Preparedness Guide https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/…/Business…

•Canadian Payroll Association: Payroll and COVID-19 http://chamber.ca/…/pandemic-prepa…/PAYROLL-AND-COVID-19.pdf

•Chamber of Marine Commerce: Marine Industry Trusted Partners for COVID-19 initiative https://www.marinedelivers.com/marine-industry-trusted-par…/

•Deloitte: Orchestrating the Recovery of Organizations and Supply Chains http://www.chamber.ca/…/gx-CoronaVirus-POV-Orchestrating-re…

•EDC: Webinar: Guide for getting COVID-19 financing and support for your business https://www.edc.ca/…/get-the-financing-and-support-you-need…

•Facebook: Business Resource Hub https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/resource

•Fasken: Pandemic Planning for Employers https://www.fasken.com/…/pandemic-planning-for-employers-re…

•Google: Helping Your Business Through COVID-19 https://smallbusiness.withgoogle.com/…/resources-for-smbs…/…

•Gowling WLG: COVID-19 Resource Hub https://gowlingwlg.com/en/topics/covid-19/overview/

•Restaurants Canada: COVID-19 Reopening Best Practices http://www.restaurantscanada.org/…/RC_COVID19_Reopening_Bes…

• Retail Council of Canada: Retail Recovery Playbook and Retail Recovery Checklists https://www.retailcouncil.org/coronavirus-info-for-retai…/…/

Today, CBRN has more than 570 member associations representing the whole of Canada. You can contact them here.
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. Learn more at Chamber.ca.

Mise à jour de la COVID-19 du 25 mai

With the warm weather this weekend. I hope that everyone got out and got some exercise while following social distancing guidelines.

Long-Term Care Facilities

I am well aware of the continuing problems at long-term care homes. Questions of lack of staffing and testing of staff and training of staff continue to be raised with me by families and I have heard from a number of staff with similar concerns. Issues have also been raised about lack of communications and transparency.

Over the course of the weekend David Birnbaum MNA-député D’Arcy McGee, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Dida Berku and I had multiple exchanges over Zoom, telephone and email with family members of residents of Maimonides and representatives of the CIUSS Centre West.

The situation there at present is not acceptable. We understand additional nursing resources are arriving today and tomorrow and we will continue to try to work with the CIUSS leadership to try to ensure that this location is prioritized.

I have also reached out to our Minister of Defense and his Parliamentary Secretary to notify them of the issues at the facility. It is up to the Quebec Government to advise the federal Minister where they want military to be deployed.
At this time they have been at two locations in our riding, Vigi-Mont-Royal and Henri Bradet and I have advised them to anticipate a request for Maimonides.

Passing of Tristan Roy

I have some very sad news to share. For those of you who have not heard, the editor of the TMR Post, Tristan Roy tragically passed away late last week.

Tristan was a fine gentleman, an excellent journalist and someone I considered a friend. He will be sorely missed and my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I have been chatting with Mayor Philippe Roy about potential ways to honour Tristan and his contribution to TMR and we will pursue those discussions.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

On a more positive note, today, applications opened for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

Property owners with up to 10 tenants who are located in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Alberta, and BC can register today, with other regions and property owners being able to register over the course of different days this week.

To apply now or view the application process online, please visit: https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/…/covid19-cecra-small-business

Importance of Property Owners Applying for the CECRA

In order to ensure small businesses can try and get through this very difficult time, it is imperative that property owners do their part and sign up for this program.

As I have stated before, it is in the interest of property owners to support their small business tenants through the CECRA. Your property depends on the success of your tenants.

If you as a property owner do not sign up for the CECRA, you risk your tenant being unable to pay rent, declaring bankruptcy, and leading you to evict them and be faced with:

• Receiving zero rental income
• Continuing to pay mortgage or debt costs on your property, including property tax, maintenance and other costs
• Incurring additional costs and go through a lengthy process — often between 6 to 18 months — to find new tenants
• Risking having to rent your space out at a lower cost post-pandemic
With CECRA for small businesses, you still collect a portion of your gross rent.
For a business tenant paying $10,000 per month:
• CECRA for small businesses will cover 50% of the rent ($5,000).
• Your tenant will pay up to 25% of the rent ($2500).
• You forgive 25% of the rent ($2,500).

This means you get up to 75% of the rent or $7,500 of rent per month for April, May and June.

CECRA for small businesses offers you a forgivable loan worth 50% of the value of your small business’ rent each month.

The loans will be forgiven if you comply with all applicable program terms and conditions – including to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.

This adds up to $22,500 over the course of the program. It also provides your tenants breathing room to recover and remain viable post-crisis.

Financially, it just makes sense.

Business Resilience Service

In the face of COVID-19, the smallest and most vulnerable businesses may face the additional challenge of accessing tailored financial planning advice to help them survive this difficult period.

That is why the government launched the Business Resilience Service, a free hotline operated by 125 business advisors from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada for the next 4 weeks.

This service will provide Canadian business owners, including those who run charities and non-profits, with customized financial guidance – from navigating tax regulations and government supports, to planning their path to recovery.
Small businesses with pressing financial needs can call the following number 7 days a week 1-866-989-1080.

To find out how else the Canadian Business Resilience Network can help you, please visit:

https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/

While we love getting your calls and emails with questions, I do encourage small businesses to make use of the Business Resilience Service as a first line service.

Please stay safe. Today Montreal region resumed many non-essential businesses. Maintaining proper social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing masks in locations where you cannot maintain physical distance (such as public transit or in stores) is necessary to prevent a new surge in cases.

May 22nd COVID-19 Update

My thoughts are with the families of the victims of Flight PK8303 on the Pakistan International Airlines plane that crashed in Karachi. Canada mourns all the lives lost in this terrible crash.

As you all know, COVID-19 remains a serious health threat.

One of the best ways to slow the spread is through contact tracing and testing. While this falls under provincial jurisdiction, it is critical that we continue to take a fully collaborative and coordinated approach from coast to coast to coast.

That is why federal government stands ready to help provinces meet their testing needs to protect Canadians and effectively manage future outbreaks.

This includes trained federal employees who can make 3,600 contact-tracing calls a day, 7 days a week. Statistics Canada also has an additional 1,700 interviewers who can make up to 20,000 calls a day.

This will help ensure we get in touch with everyone who may have been exposed to the virus to make sure they quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms or get tested.

Federal resources are also available to assist provinces and territories with any surges or backlogs or challenges in contact tracing. Federal public servants are already helping making calls in Ontario and stand ready to help anywhere else.

Please stay safe this weekend and continue to follow public health guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.

May 21st COVID-19 Update

Thank you to all those who joined me last night during my Facebook Live. For those who weren’t able to tune-in yesterday, you can watch the video at any time at the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=577592586500060&ref=watch_permalink

Applications Now Open for the Emergency Community Support Fund through Centraide of Greater Montreal

The Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) is a $350-million investment from the Government of Canada allocated through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to help vulnerable populations manage the impacts of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada has partnered with Centraide United Way Canada, Community Foundations of Canada (the Foundation of Greater Montreal in our territory), and the Canadian Red Cross to distribute the ECSF across the country.

ECSF Information Sessions

The Government of Canada has organized three information sessions to help inform non-profits and charities about the application process and answer any questions you may have.

These sessions will explain how the Emergency Community Support Fund will work, how community organizations can apply for support and how community organizations can find help to put in an application.

You will hear from the three national entities – the Canadian Red Cross, the United Way Centraide Canada and Community Foundations of Canada – that will deliver funds to community organizations across the country. This will be in addition to engagement each of the organizations will be doing within their own networks and in local communities.

Information Session #1 (ENGLISH): May 21, 2020 at 2:00 pm ET

Please register here:

https://communityfoundations.zoom.us/…/WN__Hkjz1uMTASEwLMIs…

Information Session #2 (FRENCH): May 22, 2020 at 11:00 am ET

Please register here:

https://communityfoundations.zoom.us/…/WN_zzo6zvfERYS-f30Ay…

Information Session #3 (ENGLISH): May 25, 2020 at 11:00 am ET

Please register here:

https://communityfoundations.zoom.us/…/WN_4DzFxlNAS1SnYXizR…

HOW TO APPLY?

Non-Profit organizations and registered charities can obtain support from the Red Cross for training and equipment, preventing disease, transmission training and equipment.

Visit redcross.ca/communityorganizations to apply.

All applications must be submitted online. For support, or if you are unable to submit an application online, please email [email protected]

For more information contact us at 1-866-221-2232. If you are a registered charity or qualified donee you can apply to either Community Foundations at: communityfoundations.ca or Centraide.

Centraide of Greater Montreal will be managing the ECSF request process for community agencies in its territory (Laval, Island of Montreal and the South Shore). Note that Centraide is allowing registered charities to apply.

Non-profits who are not registered charities or affiliated with Centraide seem to be required to apply to the Red Cross. We suggest all organizations attend one of next week’s calls to better understand where you would apply.

If you wish to apply to Centraide for ECSF funding, please:

1. Review the Centraide of Greater Montreal eligibility criteria document to see if your organization can qualify for the funds:

https://www.centraide-mtl.org/…/do…/Eligibility_criteria.pdf

2. Once you have reviewed the document and you are confident that you are eligible for this funding, please fill out the following request form:

https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSeWeRZ7r6jk_JdwTD…/viewform

Prime Minister announces additional support for Indigenous peoples living in urban centres and off reserve

Today, the government announced $75 million in new funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve.

This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of Indigenous populations during this crisis, including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment.

It could also help with other needs, such as support for Elders, transportation, and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth. Funding for projects will start rolling out in the coming weeks.

Webpage with Data and Key Statistics on Current COVID-19 Situation in Montreal

If you are interested in staying up to date and accessing detailed data on the COVID-19 numbers in Montreal, please check out the following webpage (in French only):

https://ulaval.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html…

May 20th COVID-19 Update

A reminder to tune-in to my Facebook Live this evening at 7:30 PM EST. I will be answering all COVID-19 questions and updating everyone on the federal government’s recent actions in response to this pandemic.

In other important news, parents receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will receive an extra $300 per child on top the normal payment that was scheduled to be sent out today.
So if you see a little more money in your account from the benefit than you expected, please know that these funds were delivered to further support you during this difficult time, and is not an overpayment.

Today, the Prime Minister announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program to help provide forgivable loans to landlords in order to reduce the rent by 75% for small business tenants that have seen the majority of their revenues decline.

I very much encourage property owners to do their part during this difficult time to help their tenants facing such an unprecedented situation.

Please find below detailed information and answers to frequently asked questions on the CECRA:

Why Should Property Owners Apply?

If you’re a commercial property owner and have small business tenants struggling to make their rent due to the pandemic, CECRA for small businesses is right for you. Applying for this program can help you and your tenants.
Your property depends on the success of your tenants

If your small business tenant declares bankruptcy and you have to evict:

• you will receive zero rental income

• you will continue to pay mortgage or debt costs on your property, including property tax, maintenance and other costs

• you’ll have to incur additional costs and go through a lengthy process — often between 6 to 18 months — to find new tenants

• you risk having to rent your space out at a lower cost post-pandemic

With CECRA for small businesses, you still collect a portion of your gross rent

For a business tenant paying $10,000 per month:

• CECRA for small businesses will cover 50% of the rent ($5,000).

• Your tenant will pay up to 25% of the rent ($2500).

• You forgive 25% of the rent ($2,500).

This means you get up to 75% of the rent or $7,500 of rent per month for April, May and June.

Your loan will be forgiven

CECRA for small businesses offers you a forgivable loan worth 50% of the value of your small business’ rent each month. The loans will be forgiven if you comply with all applicable program terms and conditions – including to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.
This adds up to $22,500 over the course of the program. It also provides your tenants breathing room to recover and remain viable post-crisis.

Financially, it just makes sense.

How do I Apply for the CECRA Program?

The application portal is opening on May 25, 2020.
We encourage all eligible commercial property owners to participate in this program.

As part of your application, you must provide rent reduction agreement(s) and landlord and tenant attestations. To help you prepare, we’ve outlined what information will be required and sample documents in the ‘what you need to apply’ section.

https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/…/covid19-cecra-small-business

What do I need to apply?

Property owners will need to provide information in support of their application, sign an attestation and agree to the terms and conditions of the loan agreement in order to be eligible for the program.

Attestations

• Tenant or Sub-tenant’s Attestation:
Property owners must have each of their eligible commercial small business tenants and/or subtenants sign an attestation. The Tenants are responsible for attesting to their eligibility with the program requirements.

Link to sample of Tenant or Sub-tenant’s attestation: https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/tenant-subtenant-attestati…

• Property Owner’s Attestation:
Property owners must sign an attestation confirming the information relating to the property owner and the property provided in the application is correct and attest to their eligibility with the program requirements.

Link to sample of a property owner’s attestation: https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/property-owner-attestation…

Agreements

• Rent Reduction Agreement:
Property owners must enter into a legally binding rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant to confirm the rent reduction in accordance with the program terms and conditions. This agreement is conditional upon final approval of the application for CECRA for small businesses.
Link to a sample of a Rent Reduction Agreement: https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/sample-rent-reduction-agre…

• Forgivable Loan Agreement:

Property owners must agree to the terms and conditions in the application and outlined in the forgivable loan agreement.

Link to a sample of a Forgivable Loan Agreement: https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/forgivable-loan-agreement-…

You’ll also need to provide the following information:
Property owner information

• Property information includes: property address, property type, property tax statement, latest rent roll for each property and the number of commercial units

• Applicant information includes: banking information (including bank statement), property owner contact information, co-ownership information and contact details for co-owners

Tenant information

• Tenant information includes: tenant contact information, registered business name, lease area and the monthly gross rent for the period of April, May and June 2020

Who is Eligible for to Apply for the CECRA For Small Business Program?

To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the commercial property owner must:

• own commercial real property* which is occupied by one or more impacted small business tenants

• enter (or have already entered) into a legally binding rent reduction agreement for the period of April, May and June 2020, reducing an impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%

• ensure the rent reduction agreement with each impacted tenant includes:

• a moratorium on eviction for the period during which the property owner agrees to apply the loan proceeds, and

• a declaration of rental revenue included in the attestation
The commercial property owner is not and is not controlled by an individual holding federal or provincial political office.
CECRA for small businesses doesn’t apply to any properties owned, in whole or in part, by the federal, provincial, or municipal governments. These are the exceptions:

• if the property owner is a First Nation or an Indigenous organization or government which is the lessee of the property pursuant to a ground lease or similar long-term lease from such government to administer the Property

• if the property owner is the lessee of the property pursuant to a ground lease or similar long-term lease from such government to operate the property (such as a lease to an airport)

• if the property owner is a crown corporation with limited appropriations designated as eligible for the CECRA Program by CMHC

• if, for greater certainty, the property owner is a post-secondary institution, hospital, or pension fund

NOTE: Small businesses that opened on or after March 1, 2020 are not eligible.

* We define commercial Real Property as a commercial property with small business tenants. Commercial properties with a residential component and multi-unit residential mixed-use properties would equally be eligible with respect to their small business tenants.

NOTE: Properties with or without a mortgage are eligible under CECRA for small businesses.

What is an impacted small business tenant?

Impacted small business tenants are businesses — including non-profit and charitable organizations — that:

• pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement)

• generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level)

• have experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues **

NOTE: Eligible small business tenants who are in sub-tenancy arrangements are also eligible, if these lease structures meet program criteria.

** Small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same period in 2019 to measure revenue losses. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020.

How does the CECRA for Small Businesses Program Work?

CMHC administers CECRA for small businesses on behalf of the Government of Canada and our provincial and territorial partners.

The program offers assistance for the months of April, May and June 2020.

• Property owners can apply later and the program will be applied retroactively.

• Property owners may still apply for assistance once the 3-month period has ended if they can prove eligibility during those months. The end date for applications is August 31, 2020.

• Property owners must use the funds from CECRA to refund amounts in excess of 25% paid by the small business tenant for the period or at the option of the impacted tenant apply rent paid in excess of 25% to future rent owing by the impacted tenant. ***

*** If rent has been collected at the time of approval, a credit to the tenant for a future month’s rent (i.e. July for April) is acceptable — if the tenant chooses this option. This can be a flexible 3-month period.

The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.

CMHC will provide forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners. Funds will be transferred to the property owner’s financial institution.

• The loans will cover up to 50% of the monthly gross rent owed by impacted small business tenants during the 3-month period of April, May and June 2020.

• The property owner will be responsible for no less than half of the remaining 50% of the monthly gross rent payments (paying no less than 25% of the total).

• The small business tenant will be responsible for no more than half of the remaining 50% of the monthly gross rent payments (paying no more than 25% of the total).
Note: If you are a tenant and struggling to pay the remaining portion of your rent, alternate programs are available to assist you.

Loan forgiveness

CECRA for small businesses loans will be forgiven if the property owner complies with all applicable program terms and conditions — including to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.

FAQS for Property Owners:

Why should I apply?

There are several reasons that applying for this program could be beneficial for you:

• CECRA for small businesses loans will be forgiven if you comply with all applicable program terms and conditions — including to not recover forgiven rent amounts from your impacted tenants when the program is over.

• CECRA for small businesses ensures that you get a minimum of 50% of your rent covering April, May and June of 2020

• The eviction and new rental process is expensive and those funds affect your profits.

Are there any rules on how I can use these funds?
Yes, in order of priority, you can use the funds for:

• reimbursing impacted tenants for any rent paid above 25% during the eligible period unless the tenant choses to apply the previously paid rent against future rent

• any costs and expenses relating directly to the property, including any financing held by the property owner operation and maintenance and repair obligations (such as costs of common area maintenance, property taxes, insurance and utilities)

When will my loan be forgiven?

This interest free loan will be forgiven on December 31, 2020. To ensure loan forgiveness, you must follow the terms and conditions of the loan, including:

• complying with the Rent Reduction Agreement
• ensuring that your attestation and application (including supporting documentation) is accurate and truthful

NOTE:

• If you file for bankruptcy, restructure, reorganize or dissolve your business, you will need to pay back this loan.
• In the event of default, CMHC has full recourse to recover the CECRA funding from you (the property owner).

How is the $20M gross annual revenue threshold calculated and what is the ‘ultimate parent’?

Gross annual revenues are calculated based on your small business tenant’s 2019 financial revenue. Your small business tenant would use whatever 12-month period their company used to calculate its financials.

Ultimate parent/owner

If the small business tenant or its ultimate owner produces consolidated statements, then the tenant would use revenues reported for the group level of companies.

Alternatively, if the small business tenant does not produce consolidated statements, then it is the specific revenue of the tenant that applies for the $20 million test.

What is included in monthly gross rent?

Monthly gross rent is the total gross rent amount payable by the small business tenant as set out under a valid and enforceable lease agreement. Please see table below for inclusions/exclusions:

Included in Gross Rent :

1. Net rent / minimum rent / base rent (in a net lease)
2. Regular monthly installments of operating costs (in a net lease)
3. Regular monthly installments of property taxes payable to the landlord (in a net lease)
4. Regular monthly installments of other additional rent amounts payable to the landlord — for example: maintenance costs, repairs, utilities, management fees, etc. (in a net lease)
5. Gross rent (in a gross lease)
6. Percentage of sales rent paid (if included in the lease arrangement)

Excluded from Gross Rent :

1. Damages
2. Indemnity payments
3. Payments arising due to tenant default / landlord enforcement
4. Payments arising due to landlord exercise of self-help remedies
5. Interest and penalties on unpaid amounts
6. Fees payable for discrete items or special services (for example: fees to landlord for reviewing plans, supervising work, considering requests for consent, performing exceptional tasks at tenant’s request)
7. Reconciliation adjustment payments
8. Amounts required under the lease agreement to be paid separately by the tenant to 3rd parties (for example: property taxes, utilities, insurers)
9. Costs of non-monetary obligations (e.g., repairs and maintenance)
10. Insurance proceeds or proceeds from other rent subsidy programs

Note: applying for insurance coverage does not remove you from being eligible for the program, but it may adjust the amounts received if you successfully receive payments from insurance claims or other programs to cover rent.

As the Property Owner, am I eligible if I have no declared rental income for 2018 and/or 2019 because my property is new?

Yes, where the property is newly constructed or recently purchased, you may be still eligible for CECRA for small business, provided the other program requirements are met. This includes having entered into a lease with the eligible tenant on or before April 1, 2020.

What if one of my tenants cannot make the 25% contribution?

CECRA for small businesses offers commercial property owners a forgivable loan of 50% of impacted tenant rent during these difficult and uncertain economic times.

The Government of Canada offers other programs that may be available to assist tenants who struggle to pay the remaining portion of their rent. Landlords may provide rent forgiveness above the minimum 25% as well or defer payment of the 25%.

As a property owner, do I need to provide a declaration for each tenant included in my application?

Yes. Property owners will need to obtain an attestation for each impacted tenant asking for help.

We aren’t in June yet — should I wait to apply? If I do apply now, will I need to re-apply so that each of my tenant(s) can provide an attestation for June?

No, you must apply for all 3 months at the same time and all impacted tenants must be included on a single application.
Your tenant can use forecasts for the month of June. The eligibility on the 70% factor will be determined on the average of April, May and then, forecasting June revenues.
I am a property owner and my small business is the only tenant, can I apply?

CECRA for small businesses is applicable to commercial property owners with a valid and enforceable lease agreement with an impacted small business tenant.

• Landlords and tenants who are not at arm’s length will be included in the program as long as there was a valid and enforceable lease agreement in place and the rent under the lease is at market rates.

• All general program requirements apply. This includes confirmation that you have declared rental revenue in your attestation.

How do you define commercial Real Property?

We define commercial real property as a commercial property with small business tenants.

Commercial properties with a residential component and multi-unit residential mixed-use properties would equally be eligible with respect to their small business tenants.

FAQs for Small Business Tenants

I am a small business tenant and I have paid my rent for April and May. How can I be sure that my property owner will forward the CECRA for small businesses funding to me?
The loan agreement stipulates that if you have already paid the April, May and June rent your property owner will either, at your choice:

• reimburse you for rent paid in excess of 25%, or
• provide you a credit for future rental payments

What are my options if my property owner does not apply for the program?

The federal government and provincial and territorial governments are urging property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.
The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadians and businesses facing hardship resulting from the global COVID-19 outbreak. CECRA for small businesses is part of these efforts.

For example, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) supports businesses in meeting their needs to pay for non-deferrable costs during the current period of shut down.
Business owners may also be eligible for other credit support programs, such as:

• funding supported through the EDC Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

• the BDC Co-Lending Program for SMEs
Employers may also be able to take advantage of other measures the government has put in place including deferring GST/HST payments and income taxes.

Learn more about these measures at Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The government will continue to do whatever it takes to support Canadians and the economy during this unprecedented global pandemic.

Can my property owner apply for all of their tenants at once?

Yes, your property owner can apply for all impacted tenants at once.

If I need to attest to a 70% drop for 3 months, does my landlord need to wait until the end of June to apply?
Your landlord must apply for all 3 months at the same time.
Your eligibility on the 70% factor will be determined on the average of April, May and then, forecasting June revenues.

Can my property owner ask me to pay back the rent at a later date, after the program has ended?

Your property owner must agree that the rent that is forgiven, reduced and will never be recoverable, collection through significant or disproportionate rent increases. This will also be within the terms of the rent reduction agreement in place between you and your property owner.

NOTE: If you provide any false or misleading information in your attestation, you will be responsible for all rent forgiven under the terms of your lease.

My property owner doesn’t have a mortgage — would we still be eligible for the program?

Yes. CECRA for small businesses is available to property owners who do not hold a mortgage.

I have multiple retail locations and multiple landlords, how would CECRA for small businesses work in this situation?
In this situation, each property owner would apply for the program. This means that you need to work with each of your respective property owners who are interested in applying for CECRA for small businesses.

How do you calculate the 70% reduction in revenues?

If you are a small business, you can calculate your revenue loss by:

• comparing your gross revenues from April, May and June of 2020 to your revenues of April, May and June of 2019, or alternatively

• compared to average gross revenues for January and February 2020

NOTE: Your revenue must consist of revenue earned from ordinary activities in Canada. Calculate your revenue using your normal accounting method and exclude revenues from extraordinary items.

For registered charities and non-profit organizations, the calculation would include most forms of revenue, excluding revenues from non-arm’s length persons. These organizations would then be allowed to choose to include revenue from government sources as part of the calculation.

Will the program extend beyond June if public health measures remain in effect?

CECRA for small businesses is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The government continues to assess and respond to the impacts of COVID-19. It stands ready to take additional actions — including CECRA for small businesses — as needed to stabilize the economy and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Any potential additional actions taken under CECRA for small businesses will be developed in consultation with provincial and territorial governments.

Further details on Support for Canada’s Academic Research Community

Last week, the Prime Minister announced $450 million in funding to help Canada’s academic research community retain research staff who are funded from industry or philanthropic sources and are unable to access some of the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures.

While I touched on this new announcement in my message on Friday, there are now more details about this funding. Specifically, this investment will help:

• Provide up to 75 per cent per individual, with a maximum of $847 per week.

• Support universities and health research institutes to maintain essential research-related activities during the crisis, and to ramp back up to full research operations once physical distancing measures are lifted. This will cover up to 75 per cent of total eligible costs, and will support activities such as the safe storage of dangerous substances, and restarting data sets that were interrupted during the pandemic.

• Canada’s three federal granting agencies – the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – support research, research training, and innovation in Canadian postsecondary institutions.

• All Canadian universities and health research institutes that are eligible for funding through these federal granting agencies, and ineligible for other COVID-19 emergency wage measures, will be able to access support through this temporary program. The funding will be delivered as a block grant, so institutions can access help quickly to address their most pressing needs.

May 19th COVID-19 Update

I hope each of you were able to make the most of the long weekend while following the social and physical distancing guidelines.

Tomorrow, May 20th I will be hosting another Facebook Live Q&A at 7:30 PM EST to answer your COVID-19-related questions.

Long-Term Care Facilities

Over the course of the last eight weeks I heard from a very large number of families who have been deeply impacted by the outbreaks of COVID-19 in our long-term care facilities. This continued this weekend with the most recent escalation of cases at Maimonides Geriatric Hospital, particularly on the 7th floor.

The reports were of deep concern to me. I can report that David Birnbaum MNA-député D’Arcy McGee, Mitchell Brownstein and I asked Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, the Director General of the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest Montréal / CIUSSS West-Central Montreal to speak with us. Dr. Rosenberg kindly agreed and held a call with the three of us during the long weekend together with his infectious disease team to explain the situation.

We advised him of the concerns we were hearing from families and asked questions that were responded to in detail.

Fortunately, the situation has improved at other long term care facilities that have been badly hit in our riding such as Vigi Mont-Royal and I want to express my deep appreciation to all those within the health care system for their Herculean efforts.

But we all know we need to do more to allow our seniors who require long term care to live in dignity and I think the COVID-19 outbreak has ensured that everyone is aware of what those of us who have relatives in the system already knew, the system desperately needs repair.

While it falls entirely within provincial jurisdiction, I can assure you that at the federal level there is an understanding that we need to partner with the provinces and territories going forward to improve the system and create a quality long term care system (with adequate funding and staffing) so that residents can live in dignity, with adequate care and stimulation.

Important Eligibility Changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Today, the Prime Minister made some important announcements to help more small businesses access the much-needed $40,000 loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

As the Prime Minister said in his statement the changes today are not the only changes that will occur. He made clear that Minister Mary Ng is working on how to open the program to those with personal accounts they are using for their businesses. So although that issue was not part of today’s announcement, he confirmed that issue is being worked on and it was on which I have and continue to be focused.

The other issue I have been focused on relates to those businesses that do not have T4s of at least $20,000 in 2019 because they pay contractors and receive T4as or pay people through other means.

Today I am very pleased that we did deal with this issue.

The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

• a business operating account at a participating financial institution

• a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.

• eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions.

More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow in the days to come.

Support for Women Entrepreneurs

On Saturday, Minister Ng also announced that the Government of Canada will provide $15 million in additional funding to support women entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients and will help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the coming weeks, this investment will help thousands of women entrepreneurs and business owners navigate this crisis. It will help ensure women across the country—whether they're a restaurant owner in Campbellton, New Brunswick, a manufacturer in Prince George, British Columbia, or a retailer in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut—get the support they need through things like business workshops, mentorship and skills training to adapt to a digital marketplace.

Empowering women-owned businesses across Canada remains a key priority, and the government will continue working hard to ensure women entrepreneurs are supported through the pandemic and into the economic recovery.

GST/HST & CCB - Benefits payments for eligible Canadians to continue until Fall 2020

Last week, the Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier announced that benefit payments will continue for an additional three months for those who are not able to file their 2019 returns on time.

Eligible Canadians who are presently receiving the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) credit and/or the Canada child benefit (CCB) will continue to receive these payments until the end of September 2020.

As previously announced as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the tax filing deadline has been extended from April 30 to June 1, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) expects many Canadians will need to take advantage of the extended deadline. Therefore, if the 2019 tax return is not assessed, and to allow time to calculate benefits and/or credits for the July to September 2020 payments, payment amounts will be based on information from 2018 tax returns.

If 2019 tax returns are not received and assessed by early September 2020, estimated benefits and/or credits will stop in October 2020 and the taxpayer will have to repay the estimated amounts that were issued as of July 2020.

The CRA encourages Canadians to file their tax returns by June 1, 2020 or as soon as possible in order to receive the right amount of benefits based on their 2019 tax return, and in order to ensure continuity of benefits beyond September 2020. The CRA has helpful information and a step-by-step guide to help Canadians complete their taxes.

To help file taxes, free virtual clinics will be offered by local organizations, in partnership with the CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) and the joint CRA and Revenu Québec Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program.
These clinics will be held on an interim basis to help those with low and modest incomes and a simple tax situation who are looking for support during tax season.

May 15th COVID-19 Update

There were a number of important updates to the Canada Emergency Wage Benefit (CEWS) today. Most importantly this excellent program has been extended by 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. In addition, increased flexibility has been introduced.

One issue that I have worked on very hard relates to private schools. There are a very large number of private schools in our riding.

In addition, many administrators and teachers in private schools live in our riding and many young people in our riding attend these schools. Up until now, private schools were excluded from the CEWS.

Ever since the CEWS program was announced, I have worked persistently to change the program to include these institutions.

I worked on this with a number of other Liberal MPs but in particular want to thank my colleagues Rachel Bendayan and Michael Levitt for working closely with me to push for changes to ensure these schools could qualify.

I was also working directly with many private schools in our riding that were understandably hopeful for changes.

I am pleased that CEWS eligibility has officially been expanded so that these schools can qualify for the wage subsidy.

Another change introduced below which I also worked towards, related to $450 million in enhanced financial support for the academic research community.

Once again, a significant number of researchers live in our riding and brought this issue to my attention. I am very pleased with these announcements.

Here are the full details:

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the approval of regulations to extend eligibility for the CEWS to ensure that it continues to support those employers and workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and protects the jobs Canadians depend on. These regulations extend eligibility for the CEWS to the following groups:

• Non-public colleges and schools, including institutions that offer specialized services, such as arts schools, driving schools, language schools or flight schools.

• Partnerships that are up to 50-per-cent owned by non-eligible members;

• Indigenous government-owned corporations that are carrying on a business, as well as partnerships where the partners are Indigenous governments and eligible employers;

• Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations;

• Registered Journalism Organizations; and

The Government also intends to propose legislative amendments to ensure that the CEWS continues to meet its objectives. These proposed amendments would:

• Provide flexibility for employers of existing employees who were not regularly employed in early 2020, such as seasonal employees;

• Ensure that the CEWS applies appropriately to corporations formed on the amalgamation of two predecessor corporations and

• Better align the treatment of trusts and corporations for the purpose of determining CEWS eligibility.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extended to August 29

The Prime Minister also announced today that the Government of Canada will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020.

Extending the program will give workers greater confidence that they will continue to get the support they need during these difficult times.

The Government will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.

Any potential changes following the consultation will have as key objectives to maximize employment, ensure the CEWS reflects the immediate needs of businesses, and support the post-crisis economic recovery.

For more information on these important announcements, please click on the link below:

https://www.canada.ca/…/government-extends-the-canada-emerg…

Applications for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit are now Open

As of today, you can now apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). For more information on the benefit, including how to apply, click on the link below and feel free to check out my last two daily update which provide further detail on the CESB:

https://www.canada.ca/…/emergency-stude…/cesb-how-apply.html

Financial Support for the Canadian Academic Research Community

The Government of Canada has a long-standing, foundational role in supporting and sustaining research at universities and health research institutes across the country.

These institutions drive many of the discoveries and innovations that are critically important to our well-being and Canada’s economic and societal well-being.

That’s why the Government of Canada is investing over $450 million for a new temporary program to help sustain the academic research community through the crisis caused by COVID-19.

This new program will provide wage support to universities and affiliated research institutes to prevent imminent layoffs of thousands of research personnel.

These investments will help sustain Canada’s research excellence through these extraordinary times in support of both the COVID-19 response and the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Update on Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP)

On April 13, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers Program (MISTFWP) to help Canadian farmers safely welcome their vital temporary foreign workers (TFWs) to Canada in compliance with the Quarantine Act.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is currently accepting applications under the Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) Program. Employers of TFWs will be required to complete an application and to provide certain information in order to receive payment under this program.

Employers of TFWs will need to complete this application to access this program before the deadline of June 30th, 2020.

There is now an applicant guide available on the AAFC website at the following address:

http://www.agr.gc.ca/…/mandatory-isolation-support-for-te…/…

Please stay safe and healthy this weekend.

May 14th COVID-19 Update

Today the Premier announced that schools in the Montreal region will not re-open until the next school year. I think this is a wise decision based on the number of new cases we still see each day in the Montreal region, along with the death rate and the number of those hospitalized.

I was also pleased to see that certain individual sports will be able to be played in Quebec starting on May 20th. Good physical and mental health requires some exercise and while we may not yet be able to play all sports or all activities, it is good to see that Quebecers can start resuming some outdoor activities where there is proper social distancing and low risk.

I continue to encourage everyone to exercise, even if it just means going walking once per day. I also encourage everyone to reach out to friends and family, particularly those living alone, to make sure they know they are cared for.
Students

Tomorrow, students will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).
As mentioned in my update yesterday, there are a number of requirements to be eligible for the benefit.

Specifically, students, including those studying abroad, are eligible for the CESB if they are:

• a Canadian citizen, including dual citizens;

• a registered Indian under the Indian Act;

• a permanent resident; or

• a protected person.

There are no age restrictions for who is eligible for the CESB. When applying, students must attest that for COVID-19 related reasons, they are:

• unable to work; or

• seeking work but are unable to find it; or

• working but unable to make more than $1,000 (before taxes) over the four-week period for which they are applying.

The CESB will be available from May to August 2020 to students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, and who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate; or who ended their studies no earlier than December 2019.

It will also be available to Canadian students studying abroad, as well as high school graduates who will be starting a post-secondary program in the coming months. The CESB will provide $1,250 every four weeks to eligible students, or $2,000 every four weeks to eligible students with disabilities, or those with children or other dependants.

The CRA will offer the same fast and easy application process that has delivered CERB payments to millions of Canadians. Starting on May 15, 2020, eligible students will be able to apply for the CESB online through their CRA My Account or by phone through CRA’s automated toll-free line.

To help manage the volume of applications, applicants will be asked to apply over four days depending on their month of birth, and can expect their payment in three business days from when they are deemed eligible if they are using direct deposit.

To get ready to apply, the CRA is encouraging eligible students to take three easy steps:

1. Create a profile with the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281 (for students who have never filed a tax return)

2. Register for a CRA My Account as it is the fastest and easiest way to complete an application

3. Enroll in Direct Deposit to have CESB payments deposited directly into their bank accounts. Financial institutions across the country are also allowing Canadians to sign up for CRA Direct Deposit through their bank portals in a few easy steps.

It should be noted that there are other programs (including but not limited to Canada Summer Jobs) that have been enhanced to assist students find jobs. We have also created a program to compensate students for volunteer activities associated with assisting people in this crisis.

In each case they will gain valuable work experience. So the goal is not for students to simply apply for this program without trying to find work. In addition, if paid work cannot be found there are a multitude of volunteer activities where students can help others. So my message to all students is please ensure that you use the summer productively.

Businesses Requesting funding through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is available if your business or organization does not have access to federal assistance already in place, and meet one of these criteria:

• Businesses with revenues of $250,000 and more, including:

- Manufacturing businesses

- Value-added services (e.g., sectors creating jobs or contributing to technology transition, the green economy or business resilience)

- Food processing (primary, secondary and tertiary processing)

- Businesses from all industries, including tourism, requiring over $40,000 in funding

• High-potential start-ups in the manufacturing and value-added services sectors

• Retail businesses and local services

• Social economy enterprises (all sectors)

• Artisanal production and specialty local food products

• Tourism industry projects requiring funding of $40,000 or less

• Businesses with less than $250,000 in sales (all other sectors)

• Self-employed workers (all sectors)

• Start-ups other than in the manufacturing and value-added services sectors

You can also confirm your pre-eligibility by responding to five quick questions at the following web link:

https://dec.canada.ca/…/targeted-su…/rrrf/questionnaire.html

If your business or organization is eligible, click on the following web link to apply: https://ced.canada.ca/ords/f?p=407:1&p_lang=en

Some Canada National Parks to Re-Open in June

As the Prime Minister announced today, a number of national parks will reopen in June.

A decision on which parks will be reopened will be made in line with the current severity of COVID-19 cases in the region and align with the local jurisdiction what provincial parks nearby.

Stay tuned for more updates once they become available.

May 13th COVID-19 Update

As you know Parliament is meeting virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a small number of people (31) are in the House on Wednesday for a session.

Our Parliamentary Committees are meeting virtually. The HUMA committee to which I am attached as the Parliamentary Secretary for Labour meets on Mondays and Fridays.

On Monday we heard from groups representing students and universities and groups representing seniors and long-term care facilities. On Friday we will hear from our Seniors Minister.

On Monday I joined our Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly on a zoom conference, organized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), with English speaking community leaders across the province.

Some distinct COVID-19 issues impact parts of the English-speaking community and I will be pleased to work on these with sectors of the community.

Today I joined elected representatives from municipal governments on a call with our local regional health board (the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest Montréal / CIUSSS West-Central Montreal) and thank the board for including the federal representatives.

But the bulk of the time we are spending in our office continues to relate to hundreds of daily calls and emails from constituents asking for specific help and I am pleased to say we continue to meet our targets of responses within one day.

There were some key updates today regarding the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). Starting Friday, May 15, students can start applying for the CESB. The benefit will be available for students who are:

• Not eligible for Employment Insurance or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

• Unable to find summer employment or making less than $1000 a month from a summer job

Students who are eligible for the CESB will receive $1250 per month. Students with dependents and/or permanent disabilities are eligible for an additional $750 per month.

To ensure you receive the CESB as quickly as possible through direct deposit make sure to sign up for a My Account on CRA at the following web page if you don’t already have one:

https://www.canada.ca/…/e-services…/account-individuals.html
Please find below some more updates and key information for today.

New Montreal COVID-19 Mobile Screening Clinics Now Open

CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, in partnership with the Montreal regional public health department, is announcing a mobile screening clinic accessible without appointment in three neighborhoods in its territory.

The clinic will take place in a Société de transport de Montréal (STM) bus.

Screening is available for, at least, people who present flu-like symptoms or who have been in contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19 in the following three areas:

- In the Snowdon area at Bill Durnan Arena, 4988 Vézina, Wednesday, May 13, Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

- In the Côte-des-Neiges area, in front of 3220 Appleton Avenue, Saturday, May 16, Sunday, May 17 and Monday, May 18 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

- In the Parc-Extension area, in front of 7569 Terrasse St-Roch, Tuesday, May 19, Wednesday, May 20 and Thursday, May 21 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Update on Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Today, Mélanie Joly, who is also Minister of Economic Development , announced that Quebec businesses that are unable to access existing federal relief measures can now apply for RRRF support through Canada Economic Development (CED):

https://dec.canada.ca/eng/targeted-support/rrrf/index.html
As the Regional Development Agency (RDA) for Quebec, CED will work with key partners such as the offices of the Réseau des SADC et CAE in the province to help Quebec businesses get through these difficult times. A total of $211 million will be available to Quebec businesses.

The Government of Canada’s efforts are making a difference for many local businesses, but some are still falling through the cracks—particularly those in rural and remote communities.

This is where the RRRF comes in, with $962 million—including $211 million for Quebec—to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that are unable to access existing relief measures. This is the case, for example, for a number of SMEs in the tourism sector that have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

Proposed Changes to Canada Infrastructure Plan in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

To support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada is proposing to make changes to the $33.5 billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program bilateral agreements by introducing new flexibilities, expanding project eligibility and accelerating approvals. Key changes include:

• A new COVID-19 Resilience Stream
• Expanded Project Eligibility
• Faster Approvals

These proposed changes represent an initial step aimed at addressing the current health crisis and supporting economic stability using existing funds and programs.

The provinces and territories are still responsible for intakes, that include collecting and submitting prioritized projects to Infrastructure Canada.

New COVID-19 Resilience Stream

To provide direct support, a new COVID-19 Resilience stream will :

• Allow for an 80 percent federal cost share, or 100 percent federal cost share for Indigenous projects and projects in the territories.

• Ensure quick approvals to allow for work to get underway while respecting public health measures.

• Allow provinces and territories to transfer up to 10 percent of their total original stream allocations to the COVID-19 Resilience Stream.

In order to get projects started quickly the COVID-19 Resilience stream will require :

• Projects to be under $10 million in total eligible costs;

• Projects will have to be completed by the end of 2021, or by the end of 2022 in the territories and in remote communities.

Additionally, stream funding transfers are subject to certain conditions, such as requiring approval by the municipal authorities affected by the transfer under the Public Transit stream, and meeting the Climate Change Mitigation sub-stream 45% allocation target under the Green Infrastructure stream.

The COVID-19 Resilience stream will fund the following types of infrastructure projects:

• Retrofits, repairs and upgrades for municipal, Indigenous, territorial and provincial buildings, community/cultural/recreational infrastructure, health infrastructure and schools;

• COVID-19 Response infrastructure, including measures to support physical distancing and repurposing infrastructure to support pandemic response;

• Active transportation infrastructure, including parks, trails, foot bridges, bike lanes and multi-use paths; and

• Disaster mitigation, adaptation and remediation projects, including natural infrastructure, flood and fire mitigation, tree planting and related infrastructure, and remediation of contaminated sites and lands.

Eligibility criteria will be expanded and simplified to include:

• Green Infrastructure stream: pathways and active transportation projects; pandemic-related infrastructure (including emergency services buildings, health facilities, education facilities, and care facilities) under the resilience category; and opening the Green Infrastructure stream to any project categories eligible under the COVID-19 Response stream, as well as retrofits of any other public sector buildings.

• Public Transit stream: pathways and active transportation projects; public sector inter-community commuter transit services; and public sector commuter ferry infrastructure.

• Rural and Northern Infrastructure stream: mobile and cellular projects under the broadband category; and energy efficiency or reliability projects for communities on established electricity grids under the Arctic Energy Fund.

• Communities, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure stream: social services infrastructure including correctional facilities, health care infrastructure (including mental health), and social housing.

Under the new stream, Infrastructure Canada will provide accelerated approvals to ensure that provinces and territories can address pressing needs in a timely manner.

The application process will focus on the essentials of project review elements through a list-based approval process.
Also, requirements under the existing program streams are being simplified to reduce upfront administration while ensuring that the ongoing reporting commitments continue to be met.

May 12th COVID-19 Update

Given the important component of seniors in my riding and my involvement in the Liberal seniors caucus, I have been deeply involved over the last several months in suggesting measures to assist seniors.

As Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Labour, I now work closely with the other Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries whose portfolios are also attached to the HUMA committee. This includes the seniors portfolio.

I have heard from my constituents who have retired and who have told me about the increased costs they have been paying and also about their worries about losses in their investment portfolio. As such, I have been asking for a universal benefit directed at all seniors as well as one targeting the most vulnerable seniors.

As such, I was very pleased that the Prime Minister announced today additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis.

In the summary below, I discuss both the new measures announced today and summarize the previous measures that have been taken to assist seniors during the course of the crisis.

Please note as well that all programs and measures continue to be evaluated and the Government will continue to look at additional actions to assist seniors as the pandemic continues to unfold.

The measures announced today include:

• All seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive a one time tax free payment of $300.

• All seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive an additional one time tax free payment of $200.

This measure gives a total of $300 to the 6.7 million seniors who are eligible to receive the OAS and an additional $200 for the 2.2 million seniors who are also eligible for the GIS.

Please note that you will NOT need to apply for these benefits. They will be automatically paid out to eligible seniors for OAS and GIS.

•Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.

• Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.

There are many organizations within our community that have received funding from New Horizons and my office will work with all organizations that support seniors to give you the information to apply.

The announcements today are in addition to the measures we already put in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included:

- Providing a one-time special payment through the GST credit for low- and modest-income families. Close to 85 per cent of single seniors and almost half of senior couples benefited from this payment which amounted to an average of $375 for single seniors and over $500 for couples.

- Providing seniors flexibility with their Registered Retirement Income Funds, by reducing minimum withdrawals by 25 per cent for 2020 inorder to help preserve assets during a volatile market.

- Contributing $9 million through United Way Centraide Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.

Investing $100 million to improve access to food for Canadians, including seniors, facing social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Creating a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to support charities and non-profit organizations to adapt the services they provide to vulnerable groups, including seniors, in response to COVID-19.

I am pleased with the recognition by the Government that even though retired seniors may not have necessarily lost jobs or directly lost revenue, their costs have escalated and their investments gone down.

I believe the measures announced today and previously are helpful and I will continue to suggest to the Government additional measures I believe it should take to assist seniors, in particular related to increased flexibility on the RRIFs.

May 11th COVID-19 Update

While this was certainly a different Mother’s Day than most, I hope you all were able to enjoy the weekend and get creative to celebrate it while still practicing social distancing.

As we saw through last week’s job numbers, COVID-19 is having a big impact on employment, and, subsequently, the economy, in Canada. That is why we introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Business Account, the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance and other programs to help businesses keep their staff and, in turn, their organizations running.

Many of these benefits were open to businesses of all sizes, and provided much needed support to the smaller ones to stay afloat.

While this support was critical, many of the medium and large-sized companies who rely on conventional financing can no longer do so, leaving them with less liquidity to keep their operations running and avoid shutting down altogether.

To help ensure the millions of steady, middle class jobs of Canadians are protected, the Government of Canada has created the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility that will, with strict measures attached, provide bridge financing to some of Canada’s largest employers who do not have the capacity to manage through this crisis.

Here are the details:

Creation of the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)

• Establish a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers who have revenues of $300 million or more, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible.

This support will not be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis. The additional liquidity provided through LEEFF will allow Canada’s largest businesses and their suppliers to remain active during this difficult time, and position them for a rapid economic recovery.

• Use key guiding principles in providing support through the LEEFF, including:

- Protection of taxpayers and workers: Companies seeking support must demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities. Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions.

The LEEFF program will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay. In considering a company’s eligibility to assistance under the LEEFF program, an assessment may be made of its employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements.

The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion. In addition, recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.

- Fairness: To ensure support across the Canadian economy, the financing is intended to be applicable to all eligible sectors in a consistent manner.

- Timeliness: To ensure timely support, the LEEFF program will apply a standard set of economic terms and conditions.

In addition, the government has also announced more financing options for mid and large sized companies, including:

• Expanding the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) to mid-sized companies with larger financing needs. Support for mid-market businesses will include loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million.

Through the BCAP, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with private sector lenders to support access to capital for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions.

• Continuing to provide financing to businesses through Farm Credit Canada, the BDC, and EDC, including through the Canada Account. This will ensure the government is able to respond to a wide range of financing needs, including for some large employers facing higher risks, with stricter terms in order to adequately protect taxpayers.

Executive Director Position Open at The Canadian Race Relations Foundation

There are frequently federal positions that come available and they are published online. One which caught my eye and which some in our riding may wish to apply for is the Executive Director position at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is seeking diverse and talented Canadians to apply for the full-time position of Executive Director. The Foundation is Canada's leading organization dedicated to the elimination of racism and the promotion of harmonious race relations.

If you are driven by the desire to create and nurture an inclusive society based on equity, social harmony, mutual respect and human dignity and you have the necessary qualifications, you can apply via the Governor in Council

Appointments website by May 22, 2020:

https://pcogic.njoyn.com/cl3/xweb/XWeb.asp…

May 8th COVID-19 Update

As many of you have probably seen already, April’s job numbers released today show the devastating impacts COVID-19 have had on employment in Canada.

That is why benefits such as the CERB are so critical at this time, with over 7 million Canadians receiving the benefit just to get by.

But as we look into gradually reopening the economy in the coming months, benefits such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will help ensure a more smooth and quick transition for Canadians back to work.

That is why the Prime Minister announced today that the government will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) beyond June to further help kick-start our economic re-opening and boost jobs.

More details will be provided next week, so please stay tuned.

This will assist many businesses in our riding, including those who have long sales cycles and are concerned that their revenue dips will occur later than other businesses.

This important subsidy, along with other federal benefits have been critical to companies across Canada, including many in our riding of Mount Royal.

This includes Kom International, a supply chain and warehouse consultant services company whose head office is in our riding.

Allan Kohl, the company’s president and CEO, told me just how helpful these benefits have been and was delighted to share with me the following:

“Kom International has successfully applied to the Loan program, CEWS and Work Sharing.

In each case, the applications were straightforward, and benefits were received promptly and on schedule.
With work sharing, we had timely emails and phone calls from the government agents handling our application.

A staggering accomplishment for the Government of Canada to have stepped up so quickly and assisted Canadian workers and corporations in such a comprehensive and apparently seamless manner in the face of such an enormous and unprecedented emergency.

I am proud of our Government, and proud to be Canadian.”

While I do not often share constituent emails in updates, this was really nice to hear and encouraging for all riding businesses.

COVID-19 Resources for Parents and Children

This is a difficult time for many families. Children, just like adults, have an important role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. It can be difficult for some to understand why they have to stay home or cannot see loved ones and friends.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has developed the following resources to help children understand what is going on and how they can help.

Click here for the link:

https://www.canada.ca/…/cor…/resources-parents-children.html

On this page you’ll find:

• Activities for children
• Resources for parents
• Your child’s mental health
• Support for parents

Please stay safe and healthy this weekend.

May 7th COVID-19 Update

Essential workers have been critical to the health and safety of all Canadians as we try to get through this pandemic. Whether it be medical staff, food delivery workers, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, or others, they have ensured we continue living with most of the basic necessities and services we need.

Unfortunately, while a pandemic is going on and they are being exposed to greater risk to keep others safe, many of the essential workers are not being paid enough for the incredible work they are doing.

That is why, last month, the federal government announced that we would commit to work with the provinces and territories to ensure that low-income essential workers get a pay increase.

I am pleased to advise that today the Prime Minister officially announced that all provinces and territories have reached an agreement or are in the process of confirming one with the federal government to boost wages for low-income essential workers.

The provinces will determine which low-income essential workers should have their salaries topped up. We know that Quebec and some other provinces have topped up salaries for front line staff in long term care facilities but hopefully this money will allow others to be topped up as well.

Here are the details we have at this time:

• The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers

• Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive.

• These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s comprehensive economic plan to help Canadians and businesses through this period of uncertainty.

• We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely, and take additional actions as needed to protect our health and safety, and stabilize the economy.

Update on Canadian Armed Forces' Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Canadian Armed Forces have been assisting in long-term care facilities in Quebec, working collaboratively with their provincial partners and with medical staff in the homes. In response to Quebec’s request for assistance, more CAF members continue to be deployed in long-term care facilities in the province. These decisions are made in collaboration with Quebec and the Minister of Public Safety.

As of today, the 7th of May, the CAF will have over 1020 personnel committed to the support of 20 long-term care facilities in Quebec.

Of this number, over 670 medical and support personnel are contributing inside the facilities, while nearly 350 teammates are providing essential day-to-day support, such as delivering personal protective equipment and other needed supplies, maintaining liaison with the Province, as well as planning to refine operations to better support the patients of the long-term care facilities.

Additional CAF members will be deployed in the coming days to support Quebec’s most vulnerable residents. We expect to have approximately 1350 CAF members dedicated to this task in support of up to 25 facilities when the deployment is complete with details to follow.

Details of this deployment, as well as CAF support elsewhere in Quebec and Canada, can be found in today's news release here:

https://www.canada.ca/…/update-on-canadian-armed-forces-res…

A complete list of the 20 long-term care facilities in Quebec is included.

I continue to look forward to the announcement about a program for seniors which I anticipate will be rolled out in the next few days.

May 6th COVID-19 Update

Today, we honour the six Canadian military members who perished in last week’s helicopter crash off the coast of Greece.

The Prime Minister and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joined the families of the victims and members of the Canadian Armed Forces at the military base in Trenton for the repatriation ceremony.

We thank these incredible six heroes who lost their lives while serving our country. Canada will not soon forget you.

To the families and friends of the deceased, please know that you have our full support.

Since new information and announcements related to COVID-19 were limited today, this will be a shorter message than usual. I am anticipating sending a longer message tomorrow with significant new information, so please stay tuned.

Loosening of Restrictions for Autonomous Seniors

Quebec has announced a loosening of restrictions for many of our autonomous seniors who are living in residences and greater access for caregivers to help assist with the care of their loved ones in both private and public residences. I applaud both of these initiatives.

While I encourage all those over 70 to be careful, as the mortality rate is far higher for those in the older age groups in the event anyone contracts COVID-19, I also have always encouraged people in this age group to walk and bike and get exercise, while respecting social distancing rules.

There is also no reason you cannot go walking with your loved ones staying six feet apart and yet still interacting. No matter how effective video chatting has become it still does not replace being together. Mental health is also very important.

However, for those 70 and over, if you have other options to get groceries and essentials without going to the store yourself (such as store delivery or friends or relatives delivering to you) I continue to encourage you to avoid these locations.

It is obviously your choice and I trust everyone to make the judgment that is correct for them, but I believe it is an unnecessary risk if there are other options.

Webinar Hosted By CIJA - Navigating COVID-19 Government Funding Options

Unfortunately, for many charities, non-profits, and other organizations, COVID-19 has had dire impacts on their operations and revenue. Many are probably looking for even more guidance as to how they can get help and support to continue helping the community and their members.

To that end, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) will be holding a “Navigating COVID-19 Government Funding Options” webinar to help provide an overview of the various government funding programs announced to date, and some practical guidance on how best to navigate those programs.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday May 13 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET.

If you are interested in participating in the webinar, be sure to register through this link:

https://www.123formbuilder.com/…/covid-19-partnership-webin…

Zoom details will be sent out shortly before the program to all those who have registered.

I would note that yesterday CIJA’s CEO Shimon Fogel made a very meaningful presentation to the House of Commons Finance Committee and you can find his testimony on the Finance Committee website.

May 5th COVID-19 Update

Thanks to all who joined me during my Facebook Live yesterday. If you weren’t able to tune-in, you can watch the video at anytime at the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=584340295532068&ref=watch_permalink

Supporting Canada’s farmers, food businesses, and food supply

Today, the Prime Minister made some important announcements related to supporting our farmers, food processors, and others in the agri-food sector who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While these benefits may not directly help most in our riding, they are critical in indirectly assisting us by ensuring the continuity of our food supply. I am pleased the Government is ensuring that our farmers and ranchers receive the help they need to stay afloat so they can continue to provide us with high-quality food.

The government will be:

• Creating a $77.5 million Emergency Processing Fund to help food producers access more personal protective equipment (PPE), adapt to health protocols, automate or modernize their facilities, processes, and operations, and respond to emerging pressures from COVID-19 so they can better supply Canadians with food during this period.

• Launching a national AgriRecovery initiative of up to $125 million in funding to help producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19. This includes set-asides for cattle and hog management programs to manage livestock backed-up on farms, due to the temporary closure of food processing plants. This new federal funding will help beef and pork producers and processors adapt to a changing market, and help farmers and ranchers keep their animals longer before marketing.

• Increasing the Canadian Dairy Commission’s borrowing limit by $200 million to support costs associated with the temporary storage of cheese and butter to avoid food waste. The government will work with opposition parties to achieve the required legislative change.

•Launching a first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program with an initial $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include products such as potatoes and poultry, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians.

• Working with provinces and territories to increase interim payments from 50 per cent to 75 per cent through AgriStability, a federal, provincial and territorial program that supports producers who face significant revenue declines. This change has already been enacted in some provinces.

• Working with provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territorial partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest.

Update on the issue whereby some expectant mothers were receiving regular EI benefits when they should have been receiving the CERB

I have heard from a number of expectant mothers about problems they encountered when contacting Services Canada. As part of the CERB process, applicants are asked if they are pregnant and anticipating going on maternity/parental benefits. This is to ensure that claims are properly established, and to ensure a smooth transition over to maternity/parental at the appropriate time without having to re-apply.

However, there was a limitation within the CERB system when expectant mothers disclosed they were pregnant: women were being immediately put on EI benefits even if they should have been on the CERB. This was happening regardless of whether the expectant mother became eligible for EI before or after March 15th.

My Liberal caucus colleagues and I pointed this out to Minister Carla Qualtrough and the Government and asked for the matter to be addressed.

Minister Qualtrough has worked with the department and a fix is scheduled to be implemented effective May 8, 2020.
As of May 8th, expectant mothers who should have been receiving the CERB will have their claims converted retroactively to the CERB.

Those who had been receiving less than the $500 per week will receive a payment to get them up to the $500. Those who had been receiving more than the $500 per week will not have any money clawed back, but will receive the $500 per week flat rate from the time their claim is converted going forward.

The weeks for which they collect the CERB will not impact the number of weeks of maternity and parental benefits they may receive.

To reiterate, we will ensure that expectant mothers affected by this are not disadvantaged and receive their full entitlement of weeks for their future maternity/parental claim – any weeks where they received regular EI benefits when they should have been receiving CERB will be put back onto their account and they will have those weeks available to them when needed once their child is born.

I am happy that this matter has been resolved and appreciate the expectant mothers in the riding that brought this issue to my attention.

May 4th COVID-19 Update

I hope you all were able to enjoy your weekend. While many are understandably worried about what the future may hold, the most important thing to continue to do is follow the public health guidelines that will hopefully help us get through this crisis.

I would also like to reminder you to tune-in tonight to watch my Facebook Live starting at 7:30 PM EST. I will be speaking about the recent announcements and updates made by the federal government related to COVID-19, followed by answering any questions I can.

This week marks the 75th anniversaries of the, the Liberation of the Netherlands and Victory in Europe (V-E Day).
Canadians – whether serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, or the Canadian Army, overseas or on the home front – all contributed to the long-awaited liberation of Europe.

I know that many of the Canadian veterans of the Second World War, some of whom are still living in our riding today, contributed to these momentous victories and I want to thank them as well as those who have already passed away for their incredible service to our country.

As always, please find below the announcements and information provided today and over the weekend by the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada.

One-time increase to Canada Child Benefit

While we have created and made unprecedented benefits available to those in need, these difficult times have created extra challenges for those raising a family.

That is why, yesterday, the Prime Minister officially announced that families receiving the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will get $300 extra per child in May. Eligible families will automatically receive this one-time increase as part of their scheduled CCB payment in May.

Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply for this one-time increase. This increase will deliver almost $2 billion in extra support across the country to help families with the high cost of taking care of their kids.

I look forward to soon hearing about the planned benefit for seniors.

Canada Provides Funding to New Coronavirus Global Response

Along with leaders across the world, Canada has helped launch the Coronavirus Global Response. The government has announced investments of over $850 million to meet the $8 billion fundraising target that aims to help researchers and innovators develop solutions to test, treat, and protect people, and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

More specifically, this funding aims to:

• mobilize Canadian researchers’ and life sciences companies’ coronavirus research and development of medical countermeasures;

• support accelerated vaccine development, including through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and other partners;

• find a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 through the World Health Organization (WHO) Solidarity Trial;

• coordinate a COVID-19 viral and host genome sequencing effort across Canada;

• help provide COVID-19 diagnostic support to more than 20 partner countries; and

• create strategies to tackle misinformation, stigma, and fear.

Investment of $240.5 million to develop, expand, and launch virtual care and mental health tools to support Canadians.

Ensuring Canadians have the resources they need to take care of their health will be critical to managing some of the effects of COVID-19.

Working with provinces, territories, and stakeholders, this investment will be used to create digital platforms and applications, improve access to virtual mental health supports, and expand capacity to deliver health care virtually, including projects to reach vulnerable Canadians.

These supports will also help ease the burden on our health care system, as we continue to deal with COVID-19. This investment will:

• help Canadians safely engage with their regular health providers and specialist health services through telephone, text, or video-conferencing;

• support access to mental health supports and reliable health information in a safe and secure manner, which will reduce the pressure on our health system;

• help governments, public health officials, hospitals, and health care facilities make evidence-based decisions; and

• support federal, provincial, and territorial initiatives in collaboration with innovators, health stakeholders, and organizations like Canada Health Infoway, to expand virtual health services to Canadians.

This investment will support Wellness Together Canada, an online portal that provides Canadians with free resources, tools, and professional support services to help with wellness and resilience, as well as mental health and substance use.

It will also support a growing family of digital products that includes the Canada COVID-19 app, which helps people track their symptoms, receive the latest updates, and access trusted resources.

Canada Signs Agreements to Secure Further Personal Protective Equipment and Investment to Research and Develop Anti-Body Drugs

Yesterday, Minister Navdeep Bains announced several new agreements to secure further Personal Protective Equipment and testing kits.

He also announced a contribution of $175.6 million to AbCellera Biologics Inc., a company that researches and develops next-generation antibody drugs to fight infection and disease.

This contribution was made through the Strategic Innovation Fund as part of Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to fight COVID-19. These investments in research, combined with investments in innovation and manufacturing capacity, will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and, ultimately, facilitate our return to work and economic recovery.

Letters of Intent to produce test kits have been awarded to the following companies:

• LuminUltra (New Brunswick)
• Custom Biologic (Ontario)
• Diagnostic Biochem Canada (Ontario)

Next Generation Manufacturing (NGEN) Supercluster Projects Include:

•Face shields using 3D printing:
- Mosaic Manufacturing is collaborating with technology and printing companies to produce 45,000 face shields by June 30.

• Precision-moulded personal protection visors:
- Molded Precision Components is collaborating with supply chain contractors to produce a fully recyclable two-piece face shield design. The project is expected to reach 16,000 units daily by May 1, ramping up to 200,000 units daily by June 1.

•Rapid point-of-care test kits:
- Response Biomedical is developing point-of-care tests kits capable of giving results in less than 15 minutes. The company expects to produce 500,000 test kits per month by July 1.

Please see following link for more information:

https://www.globenewswire.com/…/Advanced-Manufacturing-Supe…

May 1st COVID-19 Update

I want to wish all those celebrating this May a happy Jewish Heritage Month! While this month’s celebration may be different due to COVID-19, we can still each reflect on all the incredible accomplishments made by Jewish Canadians.

However, with rates still on the rise, let us all also fully commit to doing more to combat anti-Semitism and further protect the 400,000 Jewish Canadians who, like all other Canadians, should not be faced with prejudice or discrimination of any form.

I also want to remind everyone of my Facebook Live this coming Monday, May 4th at 7:30 PM EST where I will speak about the more recent announcements made during the pandemic and answer your questions. Make sure to tune-in then!

As well today is May 1st, which is International Workers Day. As Parliamentary Secretary for Labour, I want to pay tribute to all of our workers, particularly the essential workers now putting themselves at risk to assist others.

Today Labour Minister FilomenaTassi testified before our HUMA Committee to answer questions about what our Ministry is doing to further workplace health and safety during this pandemic.

At yesterday’s meeting I had the opportunity to question Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development about our approach to housing and homelessness. These Committee meetings can be viewed at any time on the Parliament of Canada’s Committee website.

Please find below some additional new information, including details related to the announcement on the ban of assault-style firearms.

Prime Minister announces ban on assault-style firearms

Too many Canadians have been the victim of gun violence. As we saw tragedy struck once again in Nova Scotia just last week, it was time to take immediate action, even during a pandemic, to address the issue of violent crimes.

Today, the Prime Minister announced the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms. These models represent nine categories of firearms and two types identified by characteristic. Some of their components are also prohibited.

The newly prohibited firearms and components cannot be legally used, sold, or imported. Owners must also continue to safely store them, and may only transfer and transport them under limited circumstances. These measures will remove dangerous firearms designed for military use from our communities, and help ensure that Canadian families and communities no longer suffer from gun violence.

There will be a transition period of two years to protect owners of newly prohibited firearms from criminal liability while they take steps to comply with these new rules.

This two-year amnesty order under the Criminal Code is in effect until April 30, 2022. There are exceptions under the amnesty for Indigenous peoples exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights to hunt, and for those who hunt or trap to sustain themselves or their families.

These exceptions will allow for the continued use of newly prohibited firearms in limited circumstances until a suitable replacement can be found. By the end of the amnesty period, all firearms owners must comply with the ban.

The Government of Canada intends to implement a buy-back program as soon as possible to safely remove these firearms and to introduce legislation as early as possible, working with Parliament and through public consultation.

Emergency funding for shelters and sexual assault centres in Quebec

Women and Gender Equality Canada has reached an agreement with the Secrétariat à la condition féminine (SCF) of the Government of Quebec (GoQ) to allocate $ 6,460,000 to support women’s shelters and support agencies for victims of sexual and domestic violence in Quebec.

The funding will be used for a variety of needs including manage emergencies, improve the security of facilities, and support the organizational capacity to allow shelters and sexual assault centres to meet an increase in demand.

Funding Allocation: The SCF created lists of shelters and sexual assault centres eligible for funding and will allocate the funding directly. These eligible organizations are recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. To this end, the SCF will be sending information letters today to the eligible organizations to inform them of the amount to be received.

Amount Granted: Shelters and transition houses will receive $ 33,000.00 each. Organizations that are both shelters and transition houses be granted $ 45,000.00. Sexual assault and exploitation centres (CALACs) will receive $ 10,000.00 each.

Please continue to stay safe this weekend.

April 30th COVID-19 Update

I first want to express my deepest sympathies to the families of the six members of the Canadian Armed Forces who were on board the Royal Canadian Navy helicopter when it crashed during a NATO mission off the coast of Greece.

There are no words to fully express the deep appreciation we all have for your service and sacrifice to this country.

Canada stands in full support of the families of the victims and the entire Canadian Armed Forces during this difficult time. The Government has confirmed they will be looking into how this tragedy occurred.

My Comments Related to the Online Information Session to Merge SPVM stations 9 in Côte St. Luc and Station 11 in NDG

On May 5th, the Montreal police will be holding an online information session over the decision to close Station 11 in NDG and integrate it with Station 9 in Cote Saint-Luc. When I was Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc in 2007, I worked closely with other elected officials to oppose and stop this same merger that would have closed the Cote Saint-Luc station and left only the NDG one. Neither community deserves to lose their police station.

When I became aware of this proposal I joined the City Council of Cote Saint-Luc, the Town Council of Hampstead, all the opposition councillors in Cote Des Neiges-NDG and our local MNAs to call for a moratorium of a year and meaningful consultation on this proposal.

Today, I was made aware that an online consultation is now planned for next Tuesday. This is occurring during a pandemic, with less than a week’s notice, with no information yet available in English and a requirement that all questions be submitted in advance.

In my view, this is not meaningful consultation.

I have reached out to Councillor and Montreal executive committee member responsible for Public Security Rosannie Filato to support the request of our local elected officials. She is a woman for whom I have a lot of respect and with whom I have a good relationship.

I have requested that this session be cancelled and that the requests of our local elected officials for a moratorium on the merger decision for one year be put in place. Any meaningful consultation should follow the pandemic.

Signing Up For CMHC Updates Related to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)

While applications to access rent assistance through the the CECRA is not yet available, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, who will be administering the program, has a new page where you can sign up for updates related to this program as they come available.

Here is the link:

https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/…/covid19-cecra-small-business

The information clarifies many of the questions I have been asked, this is what is now know:

To qualify for CECRA for small businesses, the property owner must meet the following requirements:

• You own property that generates rental revenue from commercial real property located in Canada.

• You are the property owner of the commercial real property where the impacted small business tenants are located.

• You have a mortgage loan secured by the commercial real property, occupied by one or more small business tenants.*

•You have entered or will enter into a rent reduction
agreement for the period of April, May, and June 2020, that will reduce impacted small business tenant’s rent by at least 75%.

•Your rent reduction agreement with impacted tenants includes a moratorium on eviction for the period of April, May and June 2020.

•You have declared rental income on your tax return (personal or corporate) for tax years 2018 and/or 2019.

* For those property owners who do not have a mortgage, an alternative mechanism will be implemented. Further information will be outlined in the near future.

What is an impacted small business tenant?

Impacted small business tenants are businesses, including non-profit and charitable organizations who:

• pay no more than $50,000 in monthly gross rent per location (as defined by a valid and enforceable lease agreement),
•generate no more than $20 million in gross annual revenues, calculated on a consolidated basis (at the ultimate parent level), and

• have temporarily ceased operations (i.e. generating no revenues), or has experienced at least a 70% decline in pre-COVID-19 revenues.**

** To measure revenue loss, small businesses can compare revenues in April, May and June of 2020 to that of the same month of 2019. They can also use an average of their revenues earned in January and February of 2020.

Support for Students

Yesterday, legislation to support our students was adopted unanimously by the House of Commons. In my capacity as Parliamentary Secretary for Labour I joined my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion on a call with all of the Members of the Senate where we briefed them on the legislation that they will consider later this week.

Support for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Impacted by COVID-19

I am pleased to see that progress has been made to put in place measures to support our seniors and persons with disabilities.

Yesterday the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion recognizing that the Government should without delay provide additional support for seniors and persons with disabilities in order to assist with extraordinary expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19, and asking the Government to examine the best way to do this, including looking at Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement as potential mechanisms.

I will keep you updated as more details become available.
Additional Funding Available to Help the Homeless and Those At-Risk

Yesterday, our government has reached an agreement with the Government of Quebec to make additional funding of over $21.4 million available through the Reaching Home program for 2020–2021.

This funding will enable us to continue our shared efforts to prevent the impact of COVID-19 on people experiencing homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. All Quebec regions that are already receiving Reaching Home funding will have access to additional funds and the funding available for each designated community will be communicated as soon as possible.

These funds include:

• $19,514,375 allocated to the Designated Communities funding stream;

• $1,902,653 allocated to the Rural and Remote Homelessness funding stream.

In addition to this funding, which will be disbursed in the coming days, an additional $2.2 million has already been granted to Montréal as part of the Reaching Home program, through the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et dede services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal. This funding has helped support:

• Transforming the Royal Victoria (former hospital) into an isolation center for homeless individuals who test positive with COVID-19.

• Opening 3 new sites to relocate homelessness individuals to respect physical distancing measures (including one site in building Guy Favreau).

• Client services such as transportation, hygiene measures, providing food.

April 29th COVID-19 Update

Today is Yom Haatzmaut, which is Israel Independence Day. While we won’t be able to march down the streets of Montreal for the annual Israel Independence Day Rally, let us still celebrate and honour the remarkable achievements and successes of Israel since its independence, and the strong bond between our two countries.

In Canada, support for Israel crosses party lines.

I invite you to check out the following video from the official Twitter account of the State of Israel in Quebec and in the Atlantic Provinces where you will find myself and other elected officials across these regions provide celebratory remarks for Israel Independence Day:

twitter.com/IsraelinMTL/status/1255354614016286720?s=20

Update on Eligibility for CECRA Program For Landlords Without Mortgage

I have now received clarification from our Finance Minister on the issue of leased properties that are held without mortgage and the eligibility of those landlords for the CECRA program.

We are aware that the requirement that mortgages be in place on a leased premises causes difficulty for the 3% of Canadian landlords who own their buildings without mortgage and the commercial tenants for that property.

Finance has clarified that the property owner without a mortgage can indeed apply for the program however they may experience difficulty unless they work with CMHC to find a workaround solution and it may be that the landlord who does not currently have a mortgage, will find that the effort to restructure may not be worth the amount claimed.

I fully understand that this means that the 3% of landlords who hold property free and clear of mortgage and their tenants in such properties may be disadvantaged but because the only reasonable way to roll out the program was through CMHC there was no real alternative to this.

I encourage any landlords so affected who wish to apply for the program to contact CMHC and see exactly what they suggest.

Millions of Protective Equipment Sent to Provinces

Personal protective equipment continues to be in high demand. I am pleased that, yesterday, the Prime Minister confirmed that Canada will be sending over 6 million surgical masks to the provinces and territories this week. More than 100,000 face shields from Bauer Hockey and Toronto Stamp are also ready and will be shipped out soon - and there are more on the way.

Canadian Armed Forces to Assist CHSLD Vigi Mont-Royal

Many of you have contacted our office with respect to concerns with respect to local CHSLDs where there are outbreaks. I share your concerns and extend my best wishes for your loved ones. I am pleased to announce that one of the locations where Canadian Armed Forces will now be offering assistance is the Vigi Mont-Royal in TMR.

This was announced by the Quebec Government earlier today. We will keep offering assistance wherever requested by Quebec.

Federal Provincial Cooperation on Criteria to Re-start the Canadian Economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers have released “a set of common principles for restarting the Canadian economy,” as the latest federal projections show that in some parts of the country the COVID-19 curve is flattening.

The guidelines include the criteria and measures needed to be in place—without any specific timelines— before steps can be taken to begin easing up on various restrictions and allowing for businesses and schools to reopen.

The joint statement notes that as the first wave of the virus begins to pass, strong measures need to remain in place to continue to contain the spread, but it’s through this “new normal” that aspects of society can slowly start to resume.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments have agreed that in advance of reopening a region needs to demonstrate:

​- The ability to contain COVID-19 transmission to a level the health system can manage, including stabilizing the number of hospitalizations and new cases;

- That sufficient capacity is in place to test, trace and isolate the virus so when, for example, someone around you tests positive, you will be notified quickly so you can isolate;

- The health system’s ability to support both COVID-19 and non COVID-19 patients has been expanded, including making sure there is enough medications and supplies to go around;

- That there are additional protections in place for vulnerable groups, communities, and key populations such as long-term care homes and in jails or shelters;

- That workplace protocols are in place and are being monitored to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when people do return to their jobs, such as providing personal protective equipment for workers who can’t maintain physical distancing;

The easing of restrictions on non-essential travel in a “co-ordinated manner;” to avoid the risk of importing the virus through domestic travel and,

-Seeing to it that communities are able to manage localized outbreaks, including within schools or on public transit.

The statement makes note that because the pandemic’s impact and caseload is different in each province and territory, each region will “take different steps at different times in order to ease restrictions, reflecting the specific circumstances in each jurisdiction.”

As we know, the Montreal region continues to be the location in Canada with the greatest amount of new cases daily. We are seeing a significant number of new cases in parts of Montreal such as Montreal North and I definitely hope that all decisions makers take the unique nature of the outbreak on our island into account before making any decisions.

April 28th COVID-19 Update

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour, I want to start by acknowledging that today is the National Day of Mourning for workers who perished in the workplace. Let us pay tribute to all the workers who died, were injured or got sick from their work.

I also want to thank all the workers across Canada who are providing essential services during this time of crisis. Without you, we would not have access to the many things we take for granted but are so vital in our daily lives.

But while you are keeping our country moving, you must be protected at work. Please know that the federal government has made it a top priority to keep all essential workers safe during this unprecedented time and our Ministry is working on this on a daily basis. Please find the Prime Minister’s statement below on the National Day of Mourning:

https://pm.gc.ca/…/statement-prime-minister-national-day-mo…

First Virtual Parliamentary Session

Today, Parliament had its first virtual session for all Parliamentarians. Over the last few weeks we had committee meetings on Zoom and the HUMA committee on which I sit as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour heard from Minister Carla Qualtrough last week.

We are meeting again on Thursday and Friday. But on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Parliament as a whole will meet as a special committee structured to deal with COVID 19.

The sessions on Tuesday and Thursday will be online and Wednesday a small number of Parliamentarians who are already in or close to Ottawa will meet in person with the rest of us listening online.

This week we are introducing legislation on Wednesday to deal with the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. We provided advance copies to the opposition parties (Conservatives, NDP, Bloc and Greens) and on Sunday, my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary for Workforce Development and I participated in a call with our opposition critics and department officials to provide an explanation of the draft legislation to the opposition parties.

I am looking forward to finding consensus tomorrow to gain unanimous agreement on this legislation to assist young Canadians.

I also want to remind everyone that the Liberal caucus meets every week day. On those calls and separately in my own calls with Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries and other colleagues I raise other issues that impact our constituency. We have seen substantial changes and improvement to programs as a result of the changes my colleagues and I have recommended.

On yesterday’s call I raised 4 issues that have been raised by many of you. This was not the first time I raised these issues and I have raised them in many different ways.

These were:

(1) the importance of including private schools that have charitable foundations in the CEWS program;

(2) the importance of expanding the CEBA program to include those who do not have 20,000 in T4s from 2019 and who do not have business accounts;

(3) the importance of ensuring that the commercial rent program extends to landlords who do not have mortgages on their buildings; and

(4) that we need to introduce a universal benefit for seniors who have seen a disproportionate increase in costs during COVID-19.

I will keep raising these issues and once we have news on them I will update you as soon as possible.

Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Data and Modelling Available

If you are interested in the modelling and data used by the federal government in relation to the spread of COVID-19, I would very much encourage you to check out the link below.
The models help us prepare our health system to provide care for the projected number of patients and assess what additional public health measures we may need to change the course of the epidemic in Canada.

The models are highly sensitive to our actions. We can all help lower the impact of COVID-19 in Canada, by keeping up our physical distancing efforts.

As document states, the data tell us that the measures we are taking now—physical (social) distancing, self-isolation of cases, quarantine of contacts, and preventing importation of infection from other countries—remain essential to controlling Canada’s COVID-19 epidemic:

https://www.canada.ca/…/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/us…

April 27th COVID-19 Update

I want to start off by commenting on the disturbing statistics in the Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents from B'nai Brith Canada. For a fourth straight year, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada hit an all-time high.

This is extremely disappointing, but unfortunately, does not come as a surprise. With 2,207 incidents of anti-Semitism in Canada last year, there are an average of over six incidents per day.

2020 has already seen a number of disturbing incidents, including this weekend where a group of individuals hacked a Zoom call for a virtual funeral at a Toronto Synagogue. These types of acts of hatred are appalling, and those who were responsible for this anti-Semitic attack must be held accountable.

I would urge you to read the annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents at the following web link:

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/…/B'nai_Brith_Canada_…

The issue is of course not limited to anti-Semitism. The number of hate incidents involving black Canadians, indigenous Canadians, Muslim Canadians, LGBTQ+ Canadians and others is also unacceptable.

I highlight as well the unacceptable racist incidents that have occurred against Asian Canadians in the wake of COVID-19. Last week, a Member of Parliament, running for the leadership of his party questioned whether Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer was more loyal to China than Canada. This was disgraceful and something I strongly condemn.

Our government has taken serious progress to combat hate, including adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism and establishing strategies to combat not only anti-semitism but hatred against Muslims, Blacks and LGBTQ+ Canadians.,But with over 90% of the incidents identified by Bnai Brith beginning online we need to take greater action to combat online hate.

As you may recall in the last Parliament I chaired the Justice and Human Rights Committee and our Committee delivered a report recommending strong actions to combat online hate.

In the Mandate letters of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Canadian Heritage the Prime Minister has tasked both of them with tackling this issue and our Canadian Heritage Committee’s first study will be on this issue to assist the Minister in developing regulations.

As soon as the COVID-19 Emergency is over this, as well as gun control, is an issue we need to tackle immediately.

As always, below are some updates and information related to COVID-19.

Applications Portal for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program Now Open

Starting today, applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program will now be accepted by the CRA. Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client.

All claims that are approved through the CRA’s automated verification process will be sent for payment on May 5, so that payments being made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers’ accounts as of May 7.

The CRA has again partnered with financial institutions to enroll Canadian employers for direct deposit, and employers can now register business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the CRA through their bank portals.

Signing up for direct deposit will enable employers whose applications are approved to receive their CEWS payments quickly and securely. Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS.

Please note I remain keenly aware of the issue of private schools with charitable status and I am working with a larger and larger group of Liberal caucus members on clarifying this issue.

COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund

Since the announcement of the $350 million fund to support community groups, I have been working hard to ensure organizations in our riding, including religious and other non-profits and charities, who are looking for receive help through this program, will have access to the funds they need.

While the details and conditions to access this funding have yet to be made available, Centraide of Greater Montreal, which will be one of the organizations responsible for distributing money through the Emergency Community Support Fund, has already made funds available through their COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund.

I would invite you to check out the guidelines set out by the Fund’s priorities and criteria at the following webpage to see if your organization is eligible: https://www.centraide-mtl.org/…/request-funding-emergency-…/

Organizations do not need to be affiliated with Centraide to be eligible and please contact Sonny Moroz in my office with any questions. His email is [email protected]

My Interview on Cote Saint-Luc Councillor Mike Cohen’s Podcast

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Cote Saint-Luc Councillor Mike Cohen, City Councillor - District 2, Côte Saint-Luc's podcast this weekend to talk about all things COVID-19 related, including the various benefits available to individuals and employers. You can listen to the podcast at the following link:

https://soundcloud.com/themik…/anthony-housefather-interview

To subscribe to Mike’s podcast, you can also click on the following link: https://soundcloud.com/themikecohenpodcast

April 24th COVID-19 Update

I want to first start off by acknowledging that today is the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Let us remember the systematic expulsion and mass killing of the millions of Armenians and take a moment to honour all of the victims.

I would also invite you to read the Prime Minister’s statement here on Armenian Genocide Memorial Day:

https://pm.gc.ca/…/statement-prime-minister-armenian-genoci…

In COVID-19 related news, the Prime Minister provided some major updates regarding rent relief for a certain number of qualifying small businesses.

He added that he will also have more to say in the coming days about rent support for larger businesses. So, if your business does not qualify, based on the criteria below, another announcement will be made that we will provide details on in a future update.

I would note that the limited number of details we have about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program are contained below.

I have no additional details at this time so I will not be able to answer detailed questions you send about eligibility as the agreements are not signed and details have not been made available.

Here are the details available at this time:

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance

The federal government has officially reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

​The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will administer and deliver the CECRA, a collaboration between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.

Provinces and territories have agreed to cost share total costs and facilitate implementation of the program. They will cost share up to 25 per cent of costs, subject to terms of agreements with the federal government.

It is expected that CECRA will be operational by mid-May, with commercial property owners lowering the rents of their small business tenant’s payable for the months of April and May, retroactively, and for June.

The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.

The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.

Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Further details on CECRA will be shared in the near future once final terms and conditions are available. The federal government and provincial and territorial governments urge property owners to provide flexibility to tenants facing hardship in this uncertain time.

I wish you all a happy and safe weekend.

April 23rd COVID-19 Update

I know that for the Muslim Canadian community in our riding, the month of Ramadan will be very different than usual.

But, as the Prime Minister said today, that won’t change what this special time is all about – generosity, compassion, and service to others.

I want to wish everyone celebrating, a Ramadan Mubarak.

The question I get asked the most frequently, is when are things going to get back to normal. That is a simple question with no clear answer and a lot of complexity in finding the right answer.

But we all know that in order to truly get back to the life we lived before we need to find long-term solutions, including a vaccine.

Today, the Prime Minister announced that Canada will be investing $1 billion in support of a national medical and research strategy to address COVID-19, that includes vaccine development, the production of treatments, and the tracking and testing of the virus.

Specifically, this strategy will include:

• The establishment of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force that will operate under the direction of a leadership group, which will include Dr. David Naylor, Dr. Catherine Hankins, Dr. Tim Evans, Dr. Theresa Tam, and Dr. Mona Nemer.

The task force will establish priorities and oversee the coordination of a series of country-wide blood test surveys that will tell us how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations.

• $40 million for the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), led by Genome Canada, to coordinate a COVID-19 viral and host genome sequencing effort across Canada.

This research will help track the virus, its different strains, and how it makes people sick in different ways, providing valuable information to public health authorities and decision-makers as they put in place measures to control the pandemic.

The results of this work will be available to researchers globally to support additional research, including Canadian vaccine development efforts.

• $23 million for the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) to accelerate development of a vaccine against COVID-19.

This funding will support pre-clinical testing and clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, essential steps to ensuring that vaccines are effective and safe for human use.

• $29 million for the National Research Council of Canada to begin the second phase of critical upgrades to its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montréal.

Building on ongoing work to ready the facility for the production of vaccines for clinical trials, this funding will support operations to maintain the facility, as well as provide infrastructure to prepare vials for individual doses as soon as a vaccine becomes available.

• $600 million, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, over two years to support COVID-19 vaccine and therapy clinical trials led by the private sector, and Canadian biomanufacturing opportunities.

• $10 million for a Canadian data monitoring initiative so we can coordinate and share pandemic-related data across the country to enhance Canada’s response to COVID-19.

• $10.3 million over two years, and $5 million ongoing, to support the Canadian Immunization Research Network in conducting vaccine-related research and clinical trials, and to enhance Canada’s capacity to monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness.

• $114.9 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for research projects that will accelerate the development, testing, and implementation of medical and social countermeasures to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19, as well as its social and health impacts.

Separately, the Government of Canada is providing over $675,000 through the Stem Cell Network to support two new research projects and one clinical trial.

The clinical trial will evaluate safety of a potential cell therapy to reduce the impacts and severity of acute respiratory distress associated with COVID-19, and the two projects will generate critical information about how cells in the airway and brain are affected by the virus. We all see with the race around the world to gather Personal Protective Equipment, how difficult it is to do so.

We have learned the lesson of needing a domestic supply so that we do not need to depend on others. The same will be true when a vaccine is developed. We need to make sure we have the domestic capacity to produce those vaccines needed to inoculate Canadians. These announcements take us in that direction.

April 22nd COVID-19 Update

Today the Prime Minister made an important announcement with $9 billion in concrete measures to assist students and new graduates impacted by COVID-19.

With jobs hard to come by, including this summer, and a lack of eligibility for many of the benefits recently announced, young Canadians are facing an unprecedented challenge and the specific measures detailed below will assist a large number of young Canadians who have contacted my office.

The measures will assist those students and recent graduates who cannot find a job paying more than $1000 per month.

The measures will assist more students and recent graduates to find jobs this summer and to engage in meaningful volunteer work required by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures will provide increased help with Student Grants. The members of our Liberal caucus have been pushing for these measures and I am thrilled to see them announced.

My Liberal colleagues and I have also been pushing for specific measures to assist seniors who have seen their investments decline and their costs increase over this period.

I have raised this issue with all relevant Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and departments. So I was equally pleased this morning when the Prime Minister confirmed that specific measures to help seniors will be announced in the coming days. As soon as details of those measures are announced I will include them in the daily update so pleased stay tuned.

What were the measures announced today to assist students and recent graduates?

1) We Announced the Canada Emergency Student Benefit
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities.

This benefit will be accessible to students and recent graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and who do not have a job paying more than $1000 per month between May and August 2020.

The benefit will be available from May to August 2020. It requires legislation to come into force and therefore the Government of Canada will introduce legislation to be considered by Parliament. Please stay tuned for more details related to this announcement.

2) We Announced Financial Support for Students for the Fall Term

To help students continue their studies in the fall, the Government of Canada will:

• Double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21.The Canada Student Grants for Students with permanent disabilities and students with dependents would also be doubled.

• Broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.

• Enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.

• Increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.

• Extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.

• As we know in Quebec some of these programs are administered by the Province of Quebec and the Government of Canada will be giving equivalent monies to Quebec to make the same expansions to its programs.

Creation of the Canada Student Service Grant

The new Canada Student Service Grant will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.

The amount received will be determined by the hours volunteered. This could be by volunteering with contact tracing at Public Health or working in our agricultural sector or working in many other areas affected by COVID-19. The details of the program are still to come and I will share them once we have them.

More Jobs Available for Students

The Government of Canada will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months. This is in addition to the expansion of flexibility and greater financing for the Canada Summer Jobs Program that was previously announced.

Employers in our riding should find out what they are receiving in the coming weeks. My office recently completed our review of the proposals from Service Canada following their review of the applications. We have also provided a list of organizations in our riding assisting people with COVID 19 to be considered for additional jobs.

In other news, for those artists, groups and art organizations who are seeking online audiences there is the new Digital Originals Funding Initiative.

What is the Digital Originals Funding Initiative?

CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts are happy to announce the creation of Digital Originals, a new time-limited funding initiative to help artists, groups and arts organizations pivot their work to online audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will directly benefit creators of original digital content.

More information can be found here: https://cbc.radio-canada.ca/…/digital-originals-funding-ini…

News for small and medium sized businesses who are not eligible for the CEWS:

SMEs pursuing technology driven innovation who are not eligible for funding under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are eligible and can apply for financial assistance under IRAP IAP.

The application is available online.

The program will be accepting applications until April 29, 2020, 11:59 pm EDT

https://nrc.canada.ca/…/nrc-irap-iap-frequently-asked-quest…

News for those applying for the CEWS:

I want to assure those applying for the CEWS and who are having trouble with the calculator, that there is no requirement that people apply separately for the separate 10% subsidy program to obtain the 75% under the CEWS.

The adjustment on the calculator for this amount was meant solely for those businesses that are eligible who already applied and obtained monies under the other program. The 75% for the CEWS will not be reduced by this amount if you have not obtained funds under the other program.

April 21st Update

As we continue to mourn the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history, let us keep the families and friends of the victims in our thoughts as they try to process and get through this terrible time in their lives.

As we saw last night, where hundreds took to the streets to pay tribute to the RCMP officer killed and the second officer wounded, Canadians come together during a time of crisis.

We are doing that as well with COVID 19. Today we have some news that many businesses and community organizations in our riding will be interested in:

Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to be accepted by the CRA starting April 27

Today, the Prime Minister confirmed that applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will start to be accepted on Monday, April 27.

The department will be aiming to process 90% of applications by May 5, with monies flowing out soon after. To ensure your organization gets the subsidy more quickly, please sign up for direct deposit through your CRA My Business Account.

It is faster to receive the money by direct deposit than by cheque.

Additionally, the CRA launched an online CEWS Calculator to guide employers through a step-by-step calculation of the CEWS and enables employers to determine the subsidy amount they can expect to claim based on the information that they enter into the calculator.

You can find out how much your organization can receive at the following CRA webpage:

https://www.canada.ca/…/…/cews-calculate-subsidy-amount.html

$350 million Emergency Community Support Fund for charities and non-profits

As announced today by the Prime Minister, the Government of Canada is setting up a $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund to support charities and non-profits in their important work and get vulnerable Canadians the resources they need.

This is money that can help charities adapt and ensure they have the resource they need to better help during this important time of need. This includes using the funds for training volunteers, increasing at-home deliveries for seniors, or driving people with disabilities to appointments.

The announcement said that the money will flow through national organizations like the United Way, Community Foundations Canada, and the Red Cross.

These Emergency Community Support Fund’s national partners will leverage existing community-based networks, including those in rural and remote communities to ensure a rapid and effective flow of funds in line with local community needs.

The networks of those partners stretch across the country. Their local offices and agencies understand local issues and many are already funding community organizations to respond to COVID-19.

Community organizations will be able to apply for funds through the national partners or their local entities. The partners and their networks are working as quickly as possible to set up application processes.

Community organizations should check the websites of the United Way Centraide Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and Community Foundations of Canada to learn more about how and when they will be able to apply:

• http://www.unitedway.ca/…/covid-19-government-of-canada-ann…

• https://www.communityfoundations.ca/…/responding-to-covid-…/

• https://www.redcross.ca/…/joint-statement-canadian-red-cros…

I have asked the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary responsible for clarity on just how we will be ensuring that money will indeed flow to both small and large organizations in our riding and will provide an update when I receive one.

I know that this will be a question that many non-profits in our riding are going to have and this will be a priority for me.

Update on the $250 Program Innovation Assistance Program

Last Friday, the Prime Minister announced $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access existing COVID-19 business support programs.

This assistance will be provided through the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program.

Starting April 22, 2020, 7 a.m. ET, Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises that are not eligible for funding under the Canada Business Credit Emergency Wage Subsidy Program will be able to apply for financial assistance. They will be able to do so on the following webpage:

https://nrc.canada.ca/…/register-nrc-irap-innovation-assist…

Avoiding Scams and Attempts By Fraudsters

In other COVID-19 related-news, I have received a number of emails advising me of different types of scam emails that have been received.

I very much encourage you to avoid answering unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering medical advice, financial relief, or government assistance and compensation.

For more information and ways to protect yourself from fraudsters, please click on the following link:

https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/…/covid-19-eng.…

April 20th COVID-19 Update

Yesterday, a murderer took the lives of at least 17 innocent victims in Nova Scotia. This tragic and violent act reminds us that, even in a time when Canada is facing a pandemic, we are not immune to senseless brutality.

I have conveyed my deepest sympathies to the Member of Parliament who represents the riding of Cumberland-Colchester, Lenore Zann, Politician. I advised her that all of the residents of our riding of Mount Royal grieve with her and her community. I know that all of our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost a loved one from this senseless attack including the RCMP officer who was killed.

I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of all of us, to once again thank law enforcement across Canada and first responders and health care providers who are always out there to keep us safe.

A fundraiser and online vigil is being planned and more details can be found on this Colchester – Supporting our community Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/162084731778930/

This evening will also mark the beginning of Yom Hashoah, known in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

This year’s commemoration will of course be very different than years past as we will not be able to gather to commemorate the over six million Jews who perished as well as all of the others brutally slaughtered by the Nazi regime including members of the LGBTQ2 community, Soviet Prisoners of War, Romani peoples, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

We also must remember to honour the survivors and all those who risked their lives and stood up against the Nazi regime.
There will be many virtual services available for free online, including one at 5PM EDT today on the Montreal Holocaust Museum’s Facebook page.

For a link to this and many other Yam Hashoah events that will begin starting this evening, click on the following link: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/…/yom-hashoah-online-cere…/

No matter how you decide to observe this day of remembrance, let us all commit to doing more to never forget or let this dark chapter in our history ever happen again.

Now to my regular COVID-19 updates, which you can find below:

Extension of the Canada-US Land Border Closure:

Many of you reached out to me following comments made by the US President last week.On Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the closure of the Canada-US border for non-essential travel will be extended for another 30 days. This step is a necessary one that will help mitigate the risk of health of the health and safety of citizens in both countries.

Return of the House of Commons:

As many of you may have heard the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois have agreed on how to manage Parliament during the period of the pandemic. These parties have agreed that in person sessions should be limited to once per week, with a very limited number of MPs present in person on Wednesdays and that we begin having virtual sessions for all Members of Parliament starting next week.

These will take place on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. A motion has been introduced in the House today, which reflects that agreement and creates a Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, composed of every Member of Parliament, which shall meet to:

(i) considering ministerial announcements,
(ii) allowing members to present petitions, and
(iii) questioning ministers of the Crown, including the Prime Minister

Parliamentary Committees dealing with issues around COVID-19 will meet virtually including the HUMA Committee that deals with Labour issues which I participate on.

We anticipate this motion will be adopted and this will govern the way the House will work until May 25th. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to be part of this virtual Parliament, which will operate in a way that keeps Members, staff and all those who come in contact with us safer.

More information on the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural Heritage and Sport Organizations:

• Our government is providing $500 million in 2020-21 to establish a new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the complex financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors.

• The Fund is meant for organizations that can’t qualify for the existing Wage Subsidy because of the lumpy or irregular nature of their revenues as well as to cover contract workers. The Fund will also provide advances on future grants and contributions to help maintain liquidity as well as small subsidies to cover some fixed costs.

• Eligible organizations and businesses include:

- Canadian not-for-profit cultural, heritage and arts organizations

- National Sports Organizations, Multisport Service Organizations, and Canadian Sport Centres and Institutes

- Canadian journalistic organizations

- Canadian book publishers

- Canadian production companies that work in the film or television industries

- Organizations in the music industry

- Television and radio broadcasters

- Recipients of the Digital Citizen Initiative

I very much appreciate the emails I have received with questions and rest assured that I am working on the issues that you raise with me including but not limited to the issues of eligibility for the CEBA for companies that do not have $20,000 in T4s in 2019 and eligibility of private schools with charitable status for the CEWS.

April 17th COVID-19 Update

Thanks to everyone who joined me during yesterday’s Facebook Live. I hope I was able to answer many of your important questions. If you were not able to join, the link is here and I invite you to listen to it over the weekend:

https://www.facebook.com/anthonyhousefather/videos/1840072892793525/

There were a number of announcements made today, including additional support for small businesses. Please find updates below.

Further Support for Small Businesses

Our government will provide $962 million to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network. This will help those who don’t necessarily have a relationship established with a traditional financial institution be able to get the support they need.

There are also many new businesses who are having a difficult time accessing existing benefits due to some of the eligibility requirements that may be easier for more established business to meet. To better support these organizations, we are investing over $250 million through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. This will help firms who may be in the early development stages and don’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Business Account.

Stay tuned for more details for eligibility requirements for both of these new funding opportunities.

Support for Arts and Culture

As a Member of the Heritage Committee, I have heard from organizations across Canada of the financial difficulties they are facing due to COVID-19. That is why I am pleased that the Prime Minister has announced today that a new $500 M COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund will be created to help Cultural, Heritage, and Sport Organizations.

Employees working for these organizations will soon be able to receive wage support, and organizations that are struggling with cashflow who are not eligible for existing benefits will be able to access much needed funding.

Changes to Filing Dates

Additionally, I wanted to advise all those who were not yet aware about changes to the filing date and payment for the 2019 tax year, which was recently extended. Individuals now have until June 1st to file their taxes, and have until September 1st to pay any taxes owed.

Those who have to pay their taxes in installments and were previously scheduled to provide payment on June 15th also have had their deadline extended to pay to September 1st.

Concerns Expressed

I just want to assure everyone that has called or emailed me about concerns about not qualifying for the CEBA because you are a new business and do not have $20,000 in T4 employee salaries in 2019 or because you do not have a business account that I have passed on these concerns to my colleagues in charge of the programs.

I have also passed on other concerns such as those who had airline tickets that are being credited but not reimbursed to the relevant Ministers.

Please continue to stay safe and healthy this weekend.

April 16th COVID-19 Update

I want to start by advising all those who were planning on tuning-in to my Facebook live tonight that it will now begin at 8:45pm. If you are unable to watch it live, the video will remain up on my Facebook page to view at any time.

Today was a really good morning of announcements. I heard from many small or medium sized businesses in our riding that did not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) because their payroll was less than $50,000 or more than $1,000,000.

I have also heard from businesses struggling to pay rent and commercial landlords struggling to support them. I have worked hard communicating these concerns to the Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and departments responsible for the programs and so have many of my Liberal caucus colleagues.

Today, the Government responded to these concerns and amended eligibility for the CEBA and announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. The details are in the questions and answers below:

What were today’s announcements related to expanding the eligibility requirement for the CEBA?

The government announced today that the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be expanded to include businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs.

Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses. This announcement will now ensure even more businesses in need of financial assistance will get the support they need including many in our riding that had told me they were on both sides of the original range and originally could not benefit from the program.

How is the federal government looking to support small businesses pay their rent?

Today, the Prime Minister announced the intent for the government to launch the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June.

The implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. The government will be working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.

There are days like this one where we get to see government work really effectively. Where changes I requested on behalf of my constituents (and other MPs requested on behalf of their constituents) are being made and that will benefit many in this riding directly. I am thrilled.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Province of Quebec has requested assistance with delivery of health care (including in long term care facilities) and we will work with Quebec to provide additional assistance through the armed forces, the Red Cross and Health Canada volunteers.

My best wishes to all those observing the last day of Passover and I would particularly like to thank the Sepharadic community for giving up community Mimounas this year. I look forward to celebrating at many next year!

April 15th COVID-19 Update

I have been trying to communicate through updates and videos but am looking for additional ways to ensure information is out there.

So I will be hosting a Facebook Live tomorrow on Thursday April 16th at 7:30PM. Please visit my page tomorrow evening and join in.

If you would like to ask me a general question related to CERB, CEWS, or anything COVID-19, please email [email protected] in advance of the Facebook Live and I will do my best to answer it.

Please note that if your question is related to an ongoing file you have with the government, or you have a specific situation, this is not appropriate for a discussion on social media and we willI will likely reply by email instead.

Since the launch of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, I have heard from constituents across the riding who were financially impacted by COVID-19 but were not able eligible for the CERB. I took those concerns to heart and worked hard to push for a more open and accessible CERB to help those who have fallen through the cracks.

I heard from those of you whose income had drastically dropped but still had a small amount of revenue and from those of you who had recently exhausted your EI eligibility and could not find a job. I also heard from those of you working in essential services that were earning less than the CERB paid and could not understand why that was.

That is why I am very pleased that the government has made some important changes to the CERB eligibility. If you exhausted your Employment Insurance earlier this year but cannot find work, have seen your hours reduced and are earning less than $1000 per month, or are a seasonal worker and you have been impacted by COVID-19, you are now eligible for the CERB.

There was also important announcements from the Prime Minister related to providing a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19. We will help the provinces top up salaries of all essential workers earning less than $2500 per month. This includes the long-term care workers who have already seen an increase in salary from the Quebec government.

You can find some questions and answers related to today’s announcements below.

How has the government expanded the eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for those currently working?

To help more Canadians benefit from CERB, the government is announcing changes to the eligibility rules to allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while also collecting the CERB.

I am so grateful to know that this will provide huge relief to the hundreds of constituents who have reached out that were previously deemed ineligible for CERB even though their income was severely reduced to COVID-19. We have also expanded eligibility to include those who exhausted EI eligibility earlier this year and who are unable to find a job in these times.

Finally, we will be extending the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

How is the federal government helping those who are deemed essential but are limited in funds?

There is a serious burden on those on the front lines, including nurses, staff at long-term care facilities, and grocery store workers, and they deserve to be paid in a way that comes along with this responsibility.

That is why the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share to provide a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, who make less than $2,500 a month.

Details as to the application and delivery of this measure will be released shortly following further work with provinces and territories. This measure could help several million workers currently involved in the COVID-19 response.

What announcement was made today about extending Mental Health Support to everyone?

In times of crises, there are those who may need a bit more support to help with their mental well-being.

Today, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu announced the launch of Wellness Together Canada, a mental health and substance use portal for all Canadians.

This web-based portal provides Canadians with a virtual network of psycho-social information services and supports, and is available on Canada.ca/coronavirus and the Canada COVID-19 app. The Wellness Together Canada mental health and substance use support portal is meant to support existing provincial and territorial services.

It is a central resource for accessing confidential mental health and substance use support with respect to COVID-19. Health Canada was pleased to work with a wide variety of organizations who have a long history of providing top quality mental health and substance use care to Canadians, including Stepped Care Solutions, Kids Help Phone, Homewood Health, Greenspace Health, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and the Canadian Psychological Association.

I am a Canadian content creator with a production idea but am limited in funds, is there any support for me?

The CBC has recently launched the CBC Creative Relief Fund to provide immediate development and production funding for innovative original storytelling across all genres.

This relief fund will support innovative original projects with compelling perspectives and unique voices that also reflect contemporary Canada, and follow the recommended local and national COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Canadian creators can apply anytime before 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, April 24, and eligible applicants will be notified of their project’s status starting on May 8.

More information and full application requirements can be found at cbc.ca/creativerelief.

The CBC is also working hard to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to trusted news and information, educational resources for kids and parents, and a wide variety of programming to keep them entertained through this current crisis. Details can be found within the three links below:

- March 26, 2020, Update: https://cbc.radio-canada.ca/…/even-more-programming-availab…

- April 3, 2020, Update: https://cbc.radio-canada.ca/…/m…/programming-updates-april-3

- April 9, 2020, Update: https://cbc.radio-canada.ca/…/m…/programming-updates-april-9

Remember to join me tomorrow at 7:30 PM for a Facebook Live session.

April 14th COVID-19 Update

Thank you for your continued sacrifices during the period of the pandemic. While the long Easter weekend was very different than we are used to, the social distancing we are practicing continues to limit the number of people infected with COVID-19. I want to extend a particular thanks to our health care workers, truckers, store workers and others doing essential work during this period. You are performing heroic work to keep us safe.

I also want to thank my own staff who worked this weekend to ensure I received phone messages and emails so that I could continue to respond to you within 24 hours as I have promised to do during this period. I also want to thank the other elected officials in the riding and the staff at all levels of government. Many of them are also working seven days a week to try to offer as much assistance as possible.

Long Term Care Facilities:

Over the last number of weeks, my staff and I have received thousands of requests. Where we can help, we are thrilled to do so. At other times I hear stories from people that I desperately want to help and can’t do so. It breaks my heart when I hear from those of you who are worried about your loved ones in long-term care.

When I hear that you have not received word about your loved one or that they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you cannot see them, I am overcome with emotion. I want to express my gratitude to my provincial colleague David Birnbaum who has received many emails from me where I forward your concerns to him and he responds to them and seeks clarification from our local CIUSS and the Health Ministry where required.

The situation at the Herron Long Term Care facility that was more fully uncovered this weekend reminds us that our long-term care homes had difficulties even before the pandemic. Many have sounded the alarm about the understaffing and the low pay offered to the PABs whose role is so critical. As the Premier has now said, we need to repair the system and ensure our seniors in long term care are treated as they deserve to be treated.

Last month I raised concerns about the exclusion of paid care givers. Many of us feared that this would potentially enhance protection against COVID-19 but lead to a deterioration of conditions for residents and lack of communication with families.

I was pleased to see the Premier today open the door to some paid caregivers returning to the institutions and I look forward to seeing how the provincial government and our local CIUSS proceed to set rules for this to happen.

Updates on More Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 Testing:

Over the weekend, Canada received new shipments of essential personal protective equipment, including four planes worth of N95 masks.

We have also received millions of pairs of gloves, and we will be getting new protective gowns delivered from domestic suppliers starting next Monday.
With respect to testing we are moving forward on a range of rapid testing kits, both from here in Canada and internationally.

Health Canada has now approved a rapid portable test to detect COVID-19 from Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience and they will soon be supplying tens of thousands of kits per month, and potentially more as production increases.

Passing of Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Legislation:

This weekend, both Parliament and the Senate had a special sitting to swiftly pass legislation related to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This now allows the government to work on implementing this new program and provide a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Funding is expected to be rolled out in two to five weeks. I will provide updates on CEWS as they come in.

For more details related to CEWS, check out the following weblink:

https://www.canada.ca/…/economic-response…/wage-subsidy.html

Parliament also voted to allow certain committees to return to work to examine legislation and programs around COVID 19 and this includes the HUMA committee on which I participate as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour. I look forward to our Committee hearing from witnesses and recommending improvements to the programs we have and will put in place.

April 9th COVID-19 Update

I hope everyone who celebrated the beginning of Passover last night enjoyed their Seders, even if it was a little different this year. I also want to wish all those celebrating, a very happy Easter weekend.

From Good Friday through Easter Monday, please do not attend church and pray at home, please continue to practice social distancing and please connect with friends and family by virtual means.

Earlier today, Dr. Tam presented the government’s current modeling and potential ways the outbreak could unfold. The modeling shows that we are in an earlier stage of the COVID-19 outbreak since the virus came to Canada a little later than other countries.

This means we still have the opportunity to determine the level of impact COVID-19 can have on our country. If we continue following the advice of our medical health experts and public health guidelines, we can keep the range of expected deaths from the virus, which the model shows is between 4,000 and 44,000, to as low as possible.

The government is also continuing to work very hard, including with other opposition parties, to finalize the legislation related to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and reconvene Parliament to adopt these measures.

I look forward to this bill passing as quickly as possible so we can help all employers and employees who are looking to benefit from it.

As we continue to be in a time of pandemic, my staff and I will still be responding to any urgent emails we receive this weekend.

My next daily update will be sent out next Tuesday and will cover all of what occurred related to COVID-19 over the long weekend, including any announcements from the government.

Please continue to stay safe and healthy.

April 8th COVID-19 update

Tonight is the first night of Passover. I am asking everyone to ensure that we respect public health rules and do not invite anyone to our homes or accept invitations to the homes of others.

Let’s use technology to reach our friends and loves ones. If we do this we will be in a much better position to know that we will be around the table with all of our loved ones next Passover.

I was delighted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started his press conference today addressing the Jewish community. This is what he said:

“Now, I want to begin this morning by addressing Canada’s Jewish community. Tonight, at sundown, marks the beginning of Passover.

Usually, this is a time for family and friends to gather around the Seder table, but this year is different.
I know staying home tonight and not seeing extended family will be hard, but it’s the best way to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.

I hope you still find a way to connect with family and friends, whether it be on the phone or through video chat. To all those celebrating Passover – Chag Pesach Sameach.”

I was very pleased that Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also began her remarks today by wishing Jewish Canadians a Happy Passover despite the challenges of separation.

A number of very important announcements were made today that revise the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to address concerns that have been raised with me by a number of businesses in our riding. I have raised these concerns with our Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries from the departments and am pleased with these changes.

1) In order to qualify for the CEWB for March, decline in gross revenue of businesses only needs to be 15% not 30%. Many businesses had pointed out that their revenues only began to decline on March 15th and they may not reach 30% decline for March. I have heard this from fast food franchises, small bakeries, law firms and accounting firms amongst others.

This change should resolve the issue they had and enable them to qualify. Revenue declines must be 30% in April and May.

2) Many businesses had expressed concerns that they had scaled up and that they did not have a loss from March 2019 as they did not exist then or had much fewer employees. This is an issue I have raised on multiple occasions.

Today, the Prime Minister announced that instead of a business needing to compare its gross revenues to the same month last year it also has the choice of using its average gross revenues using January and February 2020 as the point of comparison.

This will resolve the concerns of many new and/or growing businesses.

3) We understand that charities and non-profits are experiencing different types of pressures when it comes to funding. For this reason, the Prime Minister announced that they will have the choice to include or exclude government funding when calculating loss in revenue. Please note that I am well aware that this does not address the different ways that non-profits are funded and that the current program does not serve the needs of all non-profits and I will continue to work on this issue.

We also had a number of questions from students who were rightly concerned that they would now have more difficulty finding a job this summer. Today the Prime Minister announced:

• We are changing the Canada Summer Jobs program this year to help employers adapt to the realities of COVID-19, and support young Canadians as they begin to look for summer employment.

The temporary changes to the program for this year include:

o An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee

o An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021

o Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services

o Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis

o Canada’s small businesses increasingly depend on the employment of young Canadians. The changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will help small businesses hire and keep the workers they need so they can continue to deliver essential services.

• The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services.

• This program will help create up to 70,000 jobs for youth between 15 and 30 years of age.

The Prime Minister has also recognized that we need to adapt the programs we have already created or find other programs to address the needs of groups not yet covered by announced programs sufficiently.

These include:

• Those whose hours have been significantly reduced but have not lost all revenues.

• Those workers who earn less than the $2000 per month being offered under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

• Seniors who are living on investments and seeing them dry up as the market declines.

The Prime Minister also announced that we have received half a million N95 masks from 3M and they will be distributed across the country where they are most needed. We are doing our best to source equipment to assist the provinces in providing proper protective gear to our front line health workers and others who need them.

On another note, I wanted to give our local Filipino community an update on an issue of great concern for many related to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are unable to leave the Philippines.

As part of its lockdown, the Philippines government suspended domestic flights starting March 17 and greatly restricted internal island-to-island travel by all means, making travel to the international airport difficult. While some commercial options remain, all direct flights to Canada were cancelled on March 28.

Some commercial options have remained available and many Canadians were able to return home. There are ongoing issues with domestic travel, including getting from island to island. Not everyone has been able to get to Manilla, but the Philippines Department of Tourism and their Government have been providing support.

Canada’s mission in the Philippines issued a call to all registered Canadians in the country to assess the demand for returning flights to Canada going forward. Officials engaged in a dialogue with Philippines Airlines (PAL) and, as indicated in the last ROCA message to Canadians in the Philippines, the Government of Canada has now partnered with (PAL) to provide dedicated commercial flights for stranded Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents who wish to return to Canada.

Attached is the latest ROCA message, with the full information regarding government facilitated flights. It contains the freshest information as well as the dedicated contact number for PAL.

Flight Details:

Manila to Toronto
Tuesday, April 14 at 16:50
US $2122 [approx. Can$ 2995.00]

Manila to Vancouver
Tuesday, April 14 at 19:20
US $1596 [approx. Can$ 2252.50]

Those eligible passengers who are interested in purchasing tickets are advised to contact PAL directly through the following dedicated phone line: +63 (02) 8855-1000. It will be open from 0800 (8am) to 2000 (8pm).
Financial Assistance:

We recognize these fares are higher than the more normal discount fares that Canadians are often able to get. It is important to remember that these flights are “ferry” flights running empty in one direction. Additionally, airlines normally have a whole range of ticket prices on a plane – from cheap, discounted fares, to last minute, expensive fares, different classes of service, etc. In many cases, the higher, late fares, and business class fares, etc. subsidize cheaper early fares. Transport Canada has reviewed the fares, the extraordinary conditions airlines are experiencing, the costs they have related to staffing these unusual flights, and so on and have determined that they are fair. We know they are high, but fair fares.

For people needing financial assistance, the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad is available to them. With this program, Canadian abroad directly impacted by COVID-19 have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada and to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return. Information on how to apply for the COVID-19 Emergency Loan can be found here:

https://www.international.gc.ca/covid…/form-formulaire.aspx…

It is important to remember that people will only be able to complete a Loan Request Form after corresponding with representative of Global Affairs Canada having been directed to this form. Eligibility is restricted to Canadian citizens.

If they have not been directed to this form by a representative of Global Affairs Canada, their loan request will not be processed as they will not have a case number. This is necessary to ensure that these loans reach those they are targeted to help.

The best way to receive future updates is by registering to receive ROCA messages at: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.
As well, please remind your constituents to keep an active ROCA profile. They must ensure that the “end date” of their planned travel has not passed or they will no longer receive important information.

We also encourage everyone to follow the Twitter account of our Embassy in the Philippines (https://twitter.com/CanEmbPH) for the latest information. The Embassy’s twitter feed also includes notices from the Philippines Department of Tourism.

Our Embassy stands ready to help, but their capacity to respond to each message is limited due to the high volume of requests. Here is their contact information: Tel.: (63-2) 8-857-9000; Fax: (63-2) 8-843-1082; Email: [email protected]

I have been asked when the House will be reconvened. The Government has sent draft legislation to the opposition parties and my belief is that agreement will be reached to adopt legislation in the next few days.

April 7th COVID-19 Update

With Passover beginning tomorrow, along with the Catholic and Orthodox Easters, Vasakhi and Ramadan also a few days away, it is critical that we continue practising social distancing measures.

I have been strongly pushing this message with the holiday season soon arriving as it is critical in our approach to limit the spread of COVID-19, including in my video from yesterday:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1596184870557452.

Please watch and share this video with family and friends and in groups you are part of as everyone needs to understand they cannot hold or attend a seder or Easter dinner or any other holiday gathering.

I have also been working very closely with my counterparts.

Today your federal, provincial and municipal elected officials have joined together to deliver a clear, unified message on the importance of continuing to follow the public health rules to limit the spread of COVID-19 during this holiday season.

We have also taken a clear stand against the stigmatization of communities. No group is responsible for spreading COVID-19 and stigmatizing any community is wrong and harmful.

Please find our letter below and please share widely as well.

Additionally, the Prime Minister provided an update during his press conference today on further progress made under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19 that will help provide vital, made-in-Canada protective gear and medical equipment to respond to the outbreak. Measures include:
• Working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and StarFish Medical and other manufacturing partners, including Linamar, through an accelerated process, to produce up to 30,000 ventilators.

These purchases will help secure increased domestic capacity in producing these life-saving machines.

• Establishing and securing new supply chains to produce medical gowns from new Canadian sources. The Government of Canada has signed letters of intent with a total of 22 apparel manufacturers, including Arc’teryx and Canada Goose, to produce needed medical gowns for Canadian health care workers using newly-sourced Canadian material.

• Using innovative alternative materials to augment the supply of medical gowns. Stanfield’s Limited will use a fabric developed by Intertape Polymer Group to supply protective medical gowns. The Government of Canada has signed a purchase order with Stanfield’s, which will use its Canadian manufacturing platform to fulfill the order.

The government has also signed a letter of intent to support AutoLiv as it works to repurpose material traditionally used for air bags to provide additional fabric for medical gowns. Using these alternative materials will significantly increase the number of medical gowns that can be made in Canada.

• An order of 500,000 masks from 3M to arrive tomorrow, we an additional order place for millions of surgical masks from various companies, including Medicom, Surgo Surgical Supply, and Breathe Medical.

The government is also supporting Medicom’s work to increase its capacity to produce tens of millions more surgical and N95 masks per year right here in Canada.

Thank you to the thousands of Canadian companies, include many in our own riding, who have offered to help provide supplies to help us in our fight against COVID-19. It is tremendously appreciated.

April 6th COVID-19 Update

With Passover beginning tomorrow, along with the Catholic and Orthodox Easters, Vasakhi and Ramadan also a few days away, it is critical that we continue practising social distancing measures.

I have been strongly pushing this message with the holiday season soon arriving as it is critical in our approach to limit the spread of COVID-19, including in my video from yesterday:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1596184870557452.

Please watch and share this video with family and friends and in groups you are part of as everyone needs to understand they cannot hold or attend a seder or Easter dinner or any other holiday gathering.

I have also been working very closely with my counterparts.

Today your federal, provincial and municipal elected officials have joined together to deliver a clear, unified message on the importance of continuing to follow the public health rules to limit the spread of COVID-19 during this holiday season.

We have also taken a clear stand against the stigmatization of communities. No group is responsible for spreading COVID-19 and stigmatizing any community is wrong and harmful.

Please find our letter below and please share widely as well.

Additionally, the Prime Minister provided an update during his press conference today on further progress made under Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19 that will help provide vital, made-in-Canada protective gear and medical equipment to respond to the outbreak. Measures include:
• Working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and StarFish Medical and other manufacturing partners, including Linamar, through an accelerated process, to produce up to 30,000 ventilators.

These purchases will help secure increased domestic capacity in producing these life-saving machines.

• Establishing and securing new supply chains to produce medical gowns from new Canadian sources. The Government of Canada has signed letters of intent with a total of 22 apparel manufacturers, including Arc’teryx and Canada Goose, to produce needed medical gowns for Canadian health care workers using newly-sourced Canadian material.

• Using innovative alternative materials to augment the supply of medical gowns. Stanfield’s Limited will use a fabric developed by Intertape Polymer Group to supply protective medical gowns. The Government of Canada has signed a purchase order with Stanfield’s, which will use its Canadian manufacturing platform to fulfill the order.

The government has also signed a letter of intent to support AutoLiv as it works to repurpose material traditionally used for air bags to provide additional fabric for medical gowns. Using these alternative materials will significantly increase the number of medical gowns that can be made in Canada.

• An order of 500,000 masks from 3M to arrive tomorrow, we an additional order place for millions of surgical masks from various companies, including Medicom, Surgo Surgical Supply, and Breathe Medical.

The government is also supporting Medicom’s work to increase its capacity to produce tens of millions more surgical and N95 masks per year right here in Canada.

Thank you to the thousands of Canadian companies, include many in our own riding, who have offered to help provide supplies to help us in our fight against COVID-19. It is tremendously appreciated.

April 6th COVID-19 Update

I know how difficult this time is for so many. Thank you so much to everyone who is following the public health guidelines. We will get through this period together.

Since today is the first day Canadians can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), I want to answer the major questions I have received over the weekend. But before that let me answer the non-CERB questions.

What additional measures to support Canadians did the Prime Minister announce this morning ?

The Prime Minister stated that if you’re working reduced hours, down to 10 hours a week or less, the government will soon be announcing how you will be able to qualify for the CERB.

He also announced that we will announce further measures for those who are working in essential services but are making less than they would through the CERB ($500/week). He also announced that measures would be announced for college and university students.

I will share details as they come in.

Last week our riding received a pamphlet on COVID 19 from the provincial government only in French, is it available in English?

Clearly I believe the pamphlet should have been sent to our riding in both French and English. As soon as our Member of the National Assembly, David Birnbaum MNA-député D’Arcy McGee, learned that the print pamphlet was not being distributed in English last week, he alerted the Liberal Health Critic André Fortin.

He has asked the Cabinet of the Minister responsible to correct this and has provided the webpage with the English version of what was in the pamphlet:

https://www.quebec.ca/…/health/health…/a-z/2019-coronavirus/

I want to thank David for his important work on this issue.

Now let me deal with the questions on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

How do I apply online?

To apply online please visit the following weblink:

https://www.canada.ca/…/s…/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Can I apply by phone?

Yes. To apply by phone, please call: 1-800-959-2041

Which day do I apply?

To ensure the application portal does not run into issues, the government is asking to apply, if you can, on the day assigned to you based on your birth month.

To find out which day you should apply for, please visit the following webpage: https://www.canada.ca/…/benefi…/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

As I stated on Friday, if you are unable to apply on the day your birth month is scheduled for good reason such as a religious holiday, you can apply on any other day.

If I received money through the CPP, OAS, GIS or a provincial disability benefit, am I disqualified from receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The short answer is no. Two of the fundamental requirements for the CERB are that you earned $5000 in employment income in the past 12 months or in 2019, and that you are not receiving employment income during the benefit period.

Income such as pension and scholarships do not count as employment income for the purposes of the $5000 you have to have earned over the past 12 months or in 2019, NOR does it not count as employment income for the purpose of declaring that you are not making employment income due to COVID-19.

So if someone had a job and made $5000 over and above their benefits or pension in the past year, and they have stopped working due to COVID-19 reasons, they are eligible for the CERB.

If I voluntarily quit my job or choose to not work any shifts or hours, do I qualify for CERB?

There have been questions about whether or not someone could quit and access the CERB. The answer is NO.

The cease working needs to be due COVID-19 and can be in the form of being laid off or having work hours reduced to zero, whether it is due to self-isolation/quarantine, the closure of a business, or no work needing to be done.

Quitting a job or voluntarily choosing not to work any shifts or hours does not qualify someone for CERB.

Can I count dividends as a source of lost employment income?

The answer is yes. As long as the dividends are non-eligible dividends (generally, those paid out of corporate income taxed at the small business rate), an individual could count this income towards the $5,000 income requirement to be eligible for CERB.

What is the 14 consecutive day requirement without employment income and how will it apply for future 4-week period cycles?

There have been questions about how the 14-day requirement in the legislation is applied moving forward as people re-apply, including whether it allows people to work for the remaining days in any future 4-week period.

In short, in the first benefit period, you are eligible so long as you have not worked for 14 consecutive days, or know that you will not be working for 14 consecutive days.

For subsequent periods, you will have to confirm that you expect to have no employment income. No employment income whatsoever is permitted during subsequent benefit periods.

The 14-day requirement is limited to whether you have stopped or will stop working for at least 14 consecutive days within the initial four-week period during which an individual applies for the CERB.

We did not want people to have to wait any longer than necessary to apply; we did not want a waiting period; and we wanted to back-date payments until March 15th. This flexibility was built in such that people could apply even if they had worked for a portion of the initial period.

What if I only have reduced hours, or now only have one part-time job as opposed to two, am I eligible for the CERB?

The CERB, as announced now, is intended for people who are not working at all due to COVID-19. This means that if someone has reduced hours, or has lost one or two of the several jobs they have, they are not eligible for the CERB.

As mentioned above the Prime Minister has announced some new variant of the CERB for people working reduced hours, down to ten hours a week or less and as soon as I have the details I will provide them.

I am a seasonal worker and my job will likely not be available to me when I would normally return to work. Am I eligible for CERB?

We are currently exploring ways to ensure that those who were on an EI Seasonal claim and are coming back to jobs that no longer exist due to COVID-19 can access the CERB. But as of now I do not have a clear answer to give you.

Due to my job loss from COVID-19, I am missing out on my ability accumulate EI eligibility hours which may hurt my ability to access EI in the future. Is this being looked into?

We are aware of situations where, because of job loss due to COVID-19, workers are missing out on the opportunity to accumulate precious EI eligibility hours. This will impact them in the future when they cannot access EI.

This may appear to be a longer-term issue, but we understand it is definitely top of mind for many Canadians. Again, we are working on how we can address this.

What is the difference in how my Employment Insurance application is processed based on if I applied before or after March 15th?

- If you applied for EI prior to March 15th, your application will be processed as an EI application, and you will receive whatever their EI entitlement would have normally been. You can apply for the CERB after your benefit period expires.

- If you applied for EI after March 15th, and your application has been processed already, you will receive your regular EI entitlement for one EI benefit period, a second payment to top you up to $500 if your one EI payment was less than $500, and then ongoing payments through CERB of $2000 for 4 weeks.

- If you applied for EI after March 15th and your application has not been processed, you will receive the CERB.

A few more points specific to EI:

- If your entitlement is for the period prior to March 15th, your application will be processed as an EI application. If your entitlement is for the period after March 15th, your claim will be automatically processed through the CERB.

- EI benefit entitlement will be preserved. In other words, whatever your EI benefit entitlement was prior to the CERB, it will be the same after the CERB.

- You cannot be paid EI and the CERB at the same time.


I am having issues accessing and/or obtaining my security code, can I still apply for the CERB?

CRA is well aware of the difficulties that Canadians are experiencing, including the time it takes to obtain a security code to create My CRA Account.

People who did not receive their security code by April 6 will still be able to apply for CERB with their light version of My Account. However, they won’t be able to make changes to either their direct deposit and/or address during the application process.

If they do need to change their direct deposit, they will either have to contact a CRA agent or change it via a request through their bank. If no direct deposit is on file, a cheque will be issued and mailed.

If their address on file is incorrect and they want to change it, they will need to contact a CRA agent to make an address change at 1-800-959-7383.

In addition to applying through my CRA Account and My Service Canada, Canadians can also call an automated toll-free phone line (1-800-959-2019) to apply for CERB.

I invite you to visit the CERB access portal for more details:

https://www.canada.ca/…/benefi…/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

April 3rd COVID-19 Update

As most of us end a long hard week of working in essential services or self-isolation, I wanted to share a feel-good story from our riding.

It reminds us that even when things are difficult there is still good in the world. It also reminds me that with all of the heart wrenching stories that I hear, the Government programs which we have worked so hard on delivering, will make things better.

As mentioned in my Facebook post earlier today, I received a letter this morning that put a big smile on my face.

Franklin Empire is a 4th generation family business based in my riding of Mount Royal. It employs over 500 people in Quebec and Ontario. It derives at least 50% of its revenue from the construction industry.

With the temporary closure of this industry in Quebec, their only option to reduce costs was to layoff 250 employees in Quebec.

More recently they were considering laying off another 100 employees in Ontario. With the announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, the company decided to reinstate all its employees.

Even better the company has decided to pay everyone the balance of their salaries, even if their salary exceeds the $58,700 covered by the program.

What wonderful news and thank you to Bernie Backman for allowing me to share his letter and thank you to all the directors and executives of Franklin Executive for doing the right thing for its employees.

I encourage you to share this post and story widely to folks within your circles:

https://www.facebook.com/…/a.6835957383481…/3624148627626200

I have heard from a variety of community organizations over the past few weeks who have been challenged with providing much needed support to its clients, including offering food, during this pandemic.

I am pleased with the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government of Canada will provide $100M to meet the urgent food needs of vulnerable Canadians.

This funding will also help organizations buy or rent equipment and other materials to further meet the needs of the communities they serve, and the health-related challenges presented by COVID-19. More details and specifics related to this announcement will surely follow soon.

As soon as they are available we will let food banks in our ridings know what to do to apply.

We are also speeding up payments to help get money in the hands of the most vulnerable in our community. Our government will be supplementing the GST Credit by providing every qualifying adult up to $300 and up to $150 for every child, this money will now be sent out this month rather than in May.

The Portal to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is scheduled to open this coming Monday, April 6.

Please check out the following webpage to further review when and who can apply for CERB:

https://www.canada.ca/…/s…/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

I wish you all a healthy and safe weekend.

April 2nd COVID-19 update

Thank you to all those who continue to stay home and help us limit the spread of COVID-19. I know it is not easy, and it’s not possible to know yet when we will return to normal, but rest assured governments on all levels are working as hard as possible to get there.

But in order to do so we must all respect the rules. This means going out only when necessary. Staying 6 feet apart from each other when we go for walks or are at the grocery store. Not having gatherings of any kind.

Let me repeat. NOT HAVING GATHERINGS OF ANY KIND.

This means no Easter dinners or Passover seders that include more than the people who live in your home. This includes NO religious services of any kind where people gather in person. This means non-essential businesses that are required to close must be closed.

Today, Premier Legault cautioned us that he was asking police to ramp up measures to punish offenders. The last thing anyone wants is for governments to feel they need to take stricter measures because some small group does not follow the rules.

Let’s set an example in our community. Let’s follow the rules perfectly. Let’s help each other to do so. Let’s put aside disagreements and rancour and show love and support for one another. This is the time for our community, our riding, our cities and boroughs, our province and our country to rally together. We have a common enemy in the COVID-19 virus. We all need to fight it together.

For all the latest and most up to date information about cases, growth, and spread, you can go to Canada.ca/coronavirus.
Below are some answers to questions I have been receiving after more details were released yesterday related to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Benefit.

I recommend you please re-read my emails and recent Facebook posts, as most answers to questions can be found there.

I would also recommend going through both the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Benefit at the following two web pages:

canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

canada.ca/…/…/2020/04/the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.html

I lost my job and am eligible for Employment Insurance. How can I proceed?

If you lost your job and are eligible for standard Employment Insurance (EI), you should apply for it now. It is important to note that, if you apply for EI now and are eligible for it after March 15th, you will be transferred over to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and will receive payment from this benefit instead.

The good news is that means you do not lose EI eligibility weeks when the CERB benefit ends.
If you are eligible for EI, but do not apply before April 6th, there will be an integrated landing page where it will guide you to go on the EI eligible route or the non-EI eligible route. Those who applied for EI and were eligible prior to March 15 will remain in the EI program.

The CRA website says that those who are born in October, November, or December should apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit on April 9th which is a high day of Passover and I cannot apply that day. What should I do?

While the CRA has setup specific days for Canadians to apply based on their birth month, this is a recommendation only. The fundamental reason CRA has done this is to spread out the pressure on the government's processing systems across a number of days. If someone would need to apply earlier or later due to religious or other circumstances, they will be able to do so.

Those in the Orthodox Jewish community who cannot apply on April 9th, even though they are born between October and December, can apply on the 6th or 7th or 8th or when the high portion of the holiday ends on the evening of the 11th. It should not substantially change the date you receive the benefit.

I am a personal trainer or an artist or a yoga instructor etc. and am still earning some employment income, am I eligible for the CERB?

No. The CERB is designed for people who are earning no income due to COVID 19. There are other measures that may assist you but not this one.

I have my kids home from school and so stopped working to take care of them and have no income. Can I apply for the CERB?

Yes you can.

We hired a nanny to take care of our kids who are home from school. Is there a program to pay his/her salary?
No.

I am a non-profit and will have difficulty showing losses of 30% in a month in a traditional way, how can I take advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy?

We are aware that non-profits are different and I have brought this to the attention of the finance department from day one. They are now part of the program and I am very pleased about that. We are working with the sector to design appropriate eligibility requirements that have not been announced.

April 1st COVID-19 Update

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) are the two largest programs launched in our lifetime. These two benefits will help literally millions of Canadians and thousands of businesses stay afloat in this pandemic.

This afternoon, the Finance Minister estimated that these two benefits alone would send $95 billion to individual Canadians either directly or through their employer.

Normally large scale programs like this would be designed over a long period of time with immense consultation. Now they are being designed incredibly quickly and a lot of open questions remain as we do not have the granular details of the CEWS, for example.

I continue to liaise with the relevant Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and department officials to convey my views on how to best tailor these programs and where you have sent me important and relevant points I pass them on with my thoughts.

So today, this update is solely a question and answer about these two benefits.

Can I apply for either benefit yet?

No. You can start applying for the CERB on April 6th. If you were born in January to March you are asked to apply on April 6, if you were born from April to June on April 7, if you were born from July to September on April 8 and if you were born from October to December on April 9. This is to avoid the tool from getting too much traffic in one day.

The Minister of Finance assured everyone today that all monies would flow at the same time to all four groups of applicants.

The Minister of Finance stated today that he anticipated the tool to apply for the CEWS would be available anywhere between three and six weeks from now.

Eligible employers will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application. Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

What can I do now to get ready to apply?

For businesses that wish to apply for the Canada Wage Subsidy Benefit, please make sure to sign up for direct deposit through the following CRA webpage at the following link:

https://www.canada.ca/…/e-services-bu…/business-account.html
This will allow monies to flow to you much more quickly once you sign up for the Benefit.

If you are an individual applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, please also make sure to sign up for a My CRA account and request to receive direct deposit if possible to receive your benefit more quickly at the following link:

https://www.canada.ca/…/e-services…/account-individuals.html

What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

If you have lost income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support.
The CERB will provide you with $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.

Who is eligible for the benefit?
The benefit will be available to workers:

• Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;

• Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits

• Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and

• Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

The income of at least $5,000 may be from any or a combination of the following sources: employment; self-employment; maternity and parental benefits under the Employment Insurance program and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

The Benefit is only available to individuals who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19. If you are looking for a job but haven’t stopped working because of COVID-19, you are not eligible for the Benefit.

How can I apply?

The Government will start accepting applications on the CRA site on April 6. See the sequence to apply based on your month of birth.

Where can I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The portal for accessing this new benefit will launch on the CRA site on April 6. Applicants will be able to apply for the benefit retroactively to March 15, 2020.

Pending the launch of the portal, individuals who are without work and are eligible for Employment Insurance can continue to apply for Employment Insurance.

When and how will I receive my Canada Emergency Response Benefit payment? Is there a waiting period?

Benefits will start within 10 days of you submitting an application. There is no waiting period.

Payments will be made through direct deposit or by cheque. You will be paid more quickly if you choose direct deposit.
Your payments will be retroactive to your eligibility date.
For more information and related to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, please click on the following link:

https://www.canada.ca/…/s…/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

Do I need a medical certificate to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if I am in quarantine or sick from COVID-19?

No. You only need to complete the online application available on April 6.

I have applied for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits, but my claim hasn’t been processed yet, do I need to reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?
No. If you became eligible for Employment Insurance prior to March 15th, your claim will be processed under the pre-existing Employment Insurance rules.

If you became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15th or onward, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Service Canada is processing all of these claims as quickly as possible.

What is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy?

To help businesses keep and return workers to their payroll through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have created the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. This will provide a 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

This wage subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week. The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Which Employers are Eligible?

Eligible employers include individuals, taxable corporations, and partnerships consisting of eligible employers as well as non profit organizations and registered charities.
Public bodies are not be eligible for this subsidy. Public bodies include municipalities and local governments, Crown corporations, public universities, colleges, schools and hospitals.

This subsidy would be available to eligible employers that see a drop of at least 30 per cent of their revenue. In applying for the subsidy, employers would be required to attest to the decline in revenue.

Eligibility would generally be determined by the change in an eligible employer’s monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began. The amount of wage subsidy (provided under the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan) received by the employer in a given month would be ignored for the purpose of measuring year-over-year changes in monthly revenues.

For example, if revenues in March 2020 were down 50 per cent compared to March 2019, the employer would be allowed to claim the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (as calculated above) on remuneration paid between March 15 and April 11, 2020.

How much of Salary is Eligible? As an employer do I need to pay the remaining 25%?

In order to help firms re-hire and keep their employees, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will compensate 75% of an employee’s pre-crisis compensation and 75% of salaries and wages paid to new employees to a maximum of $847 CDN per week.

Further guidance on how to define pre-crisis compensation will be provided in the coming days and I will share it.
Employers are expected to extend this subsidy to current and rehired employees, while also making best efforts to provide the remaining 25% of wages. But this is best efforts not an obligation if it is not possible.

I own a new business or I have significantly increased the number of employees I have, so how can this work for me?

I have been in discussions with finance on these topics. These programs are designed at a high level for a business that has been comparable year to year.

We will need to develop guidelines to deal with start ups that were not in operation a year ago or businesses that have scaled up and have vastly more employees and sites this year than last year. I do not have these answers today but I have asked finance to address them.

Do charities and non-profits also have to determine their change in monthly revenues, year-over-year, for the calendar month in which the period began in the same way as for-profit businesses?

We understand the that not-for-profit organizations have also seen significant drops in revenue and often have been at the front line of providing support.

I have made clear that I think this criterion needs to be modified for non-profits and today the Minister of Finance announced that we will work with the sector to ensure that the criterion used is appropriate to the circumstances.

I do not appear to be eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, what do I do?

• The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy will provide significant support to those businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

• Those who do not qualify may continue to be eligible for the previously announced 10% wage subsidy.

• Employers who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would still be able to furlough employees who will receive up to $2,000 a month under the CERB.

• Our Government will continue to carefully monitor the economic impacts of COVID-19, and take further action as necessary.

• So far we have taken the following actions:
-Offered a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying employers under the CEWS;

-Deferred GST/HST payments, income taxes, and customs duties;

-Provided interest-free loans through the Canada Emergency Business Account;

-Offered $40B worth of guaranteed loans through BDC/EDC to help cover operational costs

-Expanded the EI work-sharing program to help keep people on payroll.

For more information regarding the wage subsidy, please check out the following webpage put together by the Department of Finance:

https://www.canada.ca/…/the-canada-emergency-wage-subsidy.h…

Since these two benefits are so important, I am restricting today’s messaging to them.

I will keep everyone updated as more information flows in.

March 31st COVID-19 Update 

I want to start today by thanking everyone that is working hard to ensure that all of us receive essential services. That includes all those in the health sector, those keeping the buses and metros going, truckers and those who work in grocery stores and pharmacies and other stores we buy staples in.

It includes all those who work in non-profits and those volunteering to help the population and those many in Government service at the federal, provincial, municipal and school board level who are working day and night to deal with a pandemic and offering services at a level we have never seen.

I also want to thank everyone for sacrificing. I know how hard it is not to visit parents or children or friends, how hard it is to stay home unless necessary, particularly for those in self-isolation who cannot even take a walk. But we are all in this together.

We do not yet have details on the way the 75% salary compensation program will work. I have raised some concerns about the details of the program and am having discussions with the department today and so are other colleagues.

As soon as details are announced I will share them immediately.

I also want to remind everyone that wishes to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to please sign up for a CRA My Account via this Canada Revenue Agency website to receive the benefit (should you eligible) as quickly as possible:

https://www.canada.ca/…/e-services…/account-individuals.html

For a helpful guide on how to sign up for a My Account, please check out this video from the CRA:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW_1xRux6bw

I am contacted on a daily basis by people asking me questions about the Easter and Passover holidays. The extent of people asking me questions has been surprising and I want to share the major questions and answers:

Can my family from out of town come in and visit me for the holidays?

Your family should not be visiting you at this time. Unless there is an emergency please tell them to cancel their plans.

Can I invite my children or my parents to my Passover seder or my Easter dinner?

No. You should not be having meals with anyone who does not live with you in your home. Such gatherings endanger the health of you and your guests. Please respect the pleas of me and other elected officials and religious leaders and do not gather for the holidays under any circumstances.

My neighbour is all alone, may I invite him or her for the holidays?

No. You cannot have anyone over to your home.

Will I be able to go to church for Easter or synagogue for Passover?

No. They will be closed. If you wish to pray do so at home.

What is the Government doing to ensure we have enough medical equipment to combat COVID-19?

The Government of Canada is investing $2 billion to support diagnostic testing and to purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment, including for bulk purchases with provinces and territories. Personal protective equipment includes things like more masks and face shields, gowns, and hand sanitizer.

The Prime Minister has also announced that we have signed procurement contracts with three Canadian companies to make more medical supplies such as ventilators, surgical masks, and test kits.

We’ve also signed letters of intent with five other companies: Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group, Irving Oil, Calko Group, and Stanfield’s to produce additional test kits, hand sanitizer, and protective apparel including masks and gowns.

We will also provide support to those who want to retool their manufacturing facilities to contribute to this fight.

In addition, $50 million has been made available in funding for members of the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster to develop and scale-up new, in-demand technologies, equipment, and medical products.

This includes technologies and products to test and treat Canadians, such as novel virus detection tests, vaccines, therapeutics, and symptom management treatments.

It also includes medical equipment to care for Canadians, such as ventilators, peripherals, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and sterilization chemicals and equipment.

I am a potential supplier of equipment for COVID-19 where should I go to make the federal government aware of what I can offer?

Suppliers that seek to provide products and services must go to this website: https://buyandsell.gc.ca/calling-all-suppliers-help-canada-….

There are purchasers working 24 by 7 and working in conjunction with the provinces and they will determine if the offer is something they wish to pursue.

As well, Minister Navdeep Bains announced the following:

Canada’s industrial policy will be temporarily refocused to prioritize research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing (existing or potential) for medical supplies and solutions in the fight against COVID-19.

This means that:

The Strategic Innovation Fund will deliver direct support to larger companies as well as research institutions;

Canada’s National Research Centre will expedite R&D with small and medium-sized enterprises;

Innovation Superclusters will tap into a national network of 1,800 members; and

Innovative Solutions Canada will help Canadian companies commercialize faster.

Funds will be deployed on an accelerated basis with wider flexibility to be able to tackle COVID-19 related problems through shortened applications and faster approvals, while maintaining standards for the health and safety of Canadians. We are putting the full weight of the federal government behind this plan.

If your businesses can help, please visit this website: https://www.canada.ca/…/maintaing…/manufacturers-needed.html.

What is the government doing to assist Canadians stranded abroad?

Global Affairs has helped secure a number of flights from many countries where constituents are stranded across the world. Countries like Morocco, Peru and multiple Latin American countries and now we are also helping people get from India and Pakistan back to Canada.

The flights from India will be operated from New Delhi and Mumbai to London, UK. From there, passengers will board Air Canada flights home which will allow them to reach multiple destinations within Canada.

The flights from Pakistan will operate from Karachi and Lahore directly to Toronto. We expect there to be a minimum of six flights for travellers stranded in India and two from Pakistan and for these flights to begin operating this week.

Of course those individuals will need to go into quarantine for 14 days when they return to Canada and will not be allowed to board flights if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

March 30th COVID-19 Update

Thank you to everyone who stayed home this weekend and practiced social distancing. I know it is a difficult time for everyone, but if we all do our part, we can help limit the spread of COVID-19 and end this crisis as soon as possible.

As I keep saying, things change from day to day in a pandemic. This includes public health rules related to those who have been outside the country for the last 14 days.

They were revised over the weekend by public health authorities.

Those who are in self isolation, meaning you traveled outside the country over the last 14 days or were in close contact with someone who tested positive are now not allowed to go for walks or bike rides and must get fresh air only on their own balcony or lawn (if they have one).

Health Canada has changed their guidelines and those details are below. Please check out my Facebook post from yesterday on this subject:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1787275394741822

Great news on subsidies for employers to pay salaries and keep folks on payroll. We announced late last week that we increased the amount from 10% to 75%.

But there were many non-profits and larger businesses in our riding who requested my intervention in the last few days on the application of the 75% wage subsidy to them as well.

I am pleased to say that we announced today that all businesses and non-profits are eligible if they have lost 30% of revenue over this period and it will apply to all employee salaries on the first $58,700 they earn.

So it does not matter whether you are a not for profit or a for profit business, it does not matter whether you have 5 employees or 500 employees, all appear to be eligible.
The more detailed rules will be announced in the coming days and I will update everyone on this and how to apply.

These issues and others are covered in today’s questions and answers. Please read carefully and do not hesitate to share this email with others:

What is the Temporary Wage Subsidy and Who Qualifies for It?

To help employers keep people on the payroll, we announced that the Government of Canada would subsidize up to 75% of wages for qualifying businesses. We know what the businesses are going through. Over the past few weeks, businesses have had to get creative to keep money coming in. And in some cases, businesses had to make the difficult decision of letting employees go.

If a business’s revenues have decreased by at least 30% because of COVID-19, you’ll be eligible for this subsidy. The number of employees a business has will not determine whether or not the business gets this support. It will apply to non-profit organizations and charities, as well companies both big and small. This is about making sure people are still getting paid whether they work for a business that employs 10 people or 1,000 people.

Please note that I will be seeking clarification on the issue of whether the criteria of the revenue decrease of 30% will apply for non-profits. Clearly these entities are different and I will be back with more information on whether this is applicable or not.

So, here’s what this means for workers: if you work for a company that has been impacted by COVID-19, the Government of Canada will cover up to 75% of your salary on the first $58,700 that you earn. That means up to $847 a week. This will be backdated to March 15.

How can I make sure I receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit as soon as possible?

I want to encourage all those who are planning to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to please sign up for a CRA My Account via this Canada Revenue Agency website to receive the benefit (should you eligible) as quickly as possible:

https://www.canada.ca/…/e-services…/account-individuals.html

For a helpful guide on how to sign up for a My Account, please check out this video from the CRA: youtube.com/watch?v=xW_1xRux6bw&feature=youtu.be

Is the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Taxed?

Yes, but it will not be deducted at source. This means that the full amount will be available for use and then people will be taxed on their actual income over the course of the year.
I have returned to Canada in the last 14 days.

What are Health Canada’s new guidelines related to self-isolation?

As mentioned in my Facebook post yesterday, Health Canada has changed their guidelines and those who have returned to Canada in the last 14 days can longer go for walks or bike rides and must stay home completely. This is mandatory.

This means you MUST:
• Go directly to your place of quarantine, without delay, and stay there for 14 days
• Do not go to school, work, other public areas and community settings

• Monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19

• Arrange to have someone pick up essentials like groceries or medication for you

• Do not have visitors

• Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air

• Keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others

What do I do if I develop symptoms within my 14 days of self-isolation after travelling outside Canada?

If you develop symptoms, you must:
• Isolate yourself from others
• Immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
-Describe your symptoms and travel history
-Follow their instructions carefully

I have not travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days, can I still go for a walk?

You can go for a walk if you:
• Have not been diagnosed with COVID-19;
• Do not have symptoms of COVID-19;
• Have not travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.

If you go out for a walk, do not congregate and always practise physical (social) distancing by keeping at least two meters from others at all times.

I am over 70, can I go out for a walk or bike ride?

Yes as long as you have not been diagnosed with COVID-19, do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not returned from abroad within the last 14 days.

We are not encouraging those over 70 to go shopping or do other things out in the community unless absolutely necessary. It would be far better to shop online an/or have things delivered. But when it comes to getting fresh air and walking you need this as much as everyone else and just make sure to practice social distancing when going out for exercise.

What was the Government’s Announcement Related to Further Supporting our most vulnerable Canadians?

The Prime Minister announced some new measures to support vulnerable Canadians to help cope with the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be other announcements to come. Measures announced include:

• Provide support for counselling services to children and youth. As a result of school closures and reduced access to community resources, Kids Help Phone is experiencing increased demand for its 24/7 confidential online, telephone, and text counselling services across Canada. The Government of Canada will give $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time.

• Provide immediate essential services to Canadian seniors impacted by COVID19. The Government of Canada will contribute $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.

March 27th COVID-19 Update

Since last week’s announcement of a temporary wage subsidy of up to 10% for small and medium-sized businesses and not for profits, I have been advocating for this subsidy to be increased to better ensure that workers can remain employed and continue to be paid while the business that they work for have either slowed down or stopped its operations entirely because of COVID-19 or the not for profits have had to step up their operations to assist vulnerable people.

I was thrilled this morning that our Prime Minister announced that the government is raising the temporary wage subsidy to 75%. While more details will be announced in the near future, this subsidy will be backdated to March 15. As soon as we have all the details I will send it out.

The Prime Minister also announced the launch of the Canada Emergency Business Account. With this new measure, banks will soon offer $40,000 loans, which will be guaranteed by the government, to qualifying businesses. The loan will be interest free for the first year, and if you meet certain conditions, $10,000 will be forgivable.

Our government will also provide an additional $12.5 billion through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank to help small and medium-sized businesses with their operational cash flow requirements. This means that businesses will be able to apply for a guaranteed loan when they go to their financial institutions to get help as they weather the impacts of COVID-19.

Lastly, the Prime Minister also announced that the government will defer GST/HST payments, as well as duties and taxes owed on imports, until June. This is the equivalent of giving $30 billion in interest free loans to businesses. So, if you own a business that is struggling to get by right now and you have a payment due at the end of the quarter, we’re going to give you more time to pay it.

I wish you all a good weekend. Please continue to practice social distancing and follow all rules on the Public Health Canada website. These are always subject to change so keep an eye on it.

March 26th COVID-19 Update

I have been contacted by many of you with questions and attempt to answer the primary questions I have received. The information below is valid as of the time it is posted or emailed.

Given the fluid circumstances it is subject to change.

The federal Government has invoked the Quarantine Act, what does that mean?

The number of cases of COVID-19 is increasing daily – both at home and globally.

Earlier this month, we asked travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Effective immediately, we are strengthening our measures at the border. Travellers returning to Canada will be subject to a mandatory 14-day self isolation under the Quarantine Act.
Failure to comply with this order can result in fines of up to $750,000 and/or 6 months in prison

All individuals, with the exception of essential workers, are subject to these measures, regardless of whether you display symptoms.

I am a snowbird and returned to Canada before March 26th, does this apply to me?

No it does not. You are still required to self isolate and I stress that I expect everyone to voluntarily comply with self-isolation for 14 days after you returned to the country but the penalties associated with the Act do not apply to you.

I am under self-isolation, can I ever leave my home during that period?

There is a great deal of confusion on this subject and this may always be subject to change but for the moment according to Health Canada you must self-isolate if you:

• have no symptoms and
• have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days or
• have come in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or

• have been asked to do so by your public health authority
Self-isolation means to:
• stay at home and monitor yourself for symptoms, even if mild, for 14 days
• avoid contact with others

If you have no symptoms you can still go outside for:
• fresh air
• a run
• a bike ride
• to walk the dog

While doing these activities, always maintain a distance of at least 2 arms-length (approximately 2 metres) from others. Refer to our guidance for more information on how to self-isolate at home when you may have been exposed and have no symptoms.

If you develop symptoms, even if mild, stay home, avoid other people and contact your public health authority as soon as possible.

I had our federal authorities verify with the provincial authorities and currently the information from Health Minister McCann’s chief of staff is that the rules permitting one to go out for a walk or run or bike listed above are the same.

The Montreal Public Health website advises that if people are in self-isolation and live in a condo or apartment building they should wash their hands before leaving the unit and upon return to their unit and wear a mask between their unit and the front door of the building.

I am in self-isolation, can I go out for groceries?

No, you cannot. You cannot go to stores, you cannot go visit people and other people cannot come visit you. The only reason you can leave your home (except for an emergency) is set out in the question above.

I am a snowbird and I left my car in the United States and I was contacted by the company and they said they cannot operate now but other snowbirds are getting their cars back, why?

As far as I understand Quebec companies who transport these vehicles are subject to the rules on closing non-essential businesses until April 13. I want to thank my colleague David Birnbaum and his staff who helped clarify these rules. Some other companies transporting cars for other snowbirds may not be Quebec companies and not subject to these rules.

If I live in a Seniors Residence, can I leave the building?

Quebec has set specific rules for those in seniors’ residences which generally require supervision for any outing. Please contact the management of your residence for the rules it has set.

Where can I apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The portal for accessing this new benefit will be available in early April. Until then, EI eligible Canadians who have lost their job can continue to apply for EI here:
(https://srv270.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/AW/introduction…).

What will the eligibility criteria be for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The benefit will be available to workers residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old, and who:

• Have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the year prior to their application from any or a combination of the following sources: employment, self employment, Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits, and/or similar benefits paid in Quebec under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP); and

• Are without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in a four-week period, for reasons related to COVID-19, including if they have temporarily stopped working, lost their job, are sick or in quarantine, or need to care for a child or a family member.

When does the benefit come into effect?

Workers will be able to apply online for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit starting in early April. Details will be posted on the Government of Canada website and I will advise everyone in my updates what the link is.
The new benefit will be available for the period beginning March 15, 2020 and ending October 3, 2020.

How much could I receive?

Workers eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be able to receive a flat weekly rate of $500, paid in four-week instalments, for up to 16 weeks.

Do sole-proprietors, businesses, and partnerships that use independent contractors qualify for the temporary wage subsidy program as well as incorporated businesses?
Yes.

I’ve been paying into EI. How do I know whether to apply for EI benefits or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

The intent is to streamline EI Sickness, EI Regular, and the Emergency Care and Emergency Support Benefits into the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Once launched, a single portal will assist users through the application to ensure they access their benefit. For other EI benefits (maternity, parental, caregiving) individuals will need to apply for these benefits through the normal processes.

Can I apply for EI Regular and Sickness benefits after the 16-week period covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

Canadians who are eligible for EI Regular and EI Sickness benefits will still be able to access these benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

What happens if I’m currently receiving EI regular or sickness benefits, do I need to reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

No. Canadians who are now receiving EI regular and sickness benefits will continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020 they may apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit once their EI benefits cease.

I have applied for EI, but my claim hasn’t been processed yet.
Do I need to reapply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

No. Any current claims that are not processed will be transferred over to Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Will someone be able to work while receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit?

A worker is not permitted to work or receive employment income including paid leave, self-employment income or EI benefits during a minimum 14 consecutive day period within the 4-week period of their application. Once that requirement has been met, workers may earn income on the remaining days within the 4-week period of their application.

For what time period will the Canada Emergency Response Benefit be available?

Individuals can apply for the benefit for any four-week period beginning March 15, 2020 and ending on October 3, 2020.
Will workers who are not citizens or permanent residents (e.g. temporary foreign workers) be eligible?

The eligibility criteria relate to workers resident in Canada. Workers who are not citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the benefit if they stop working for reasons related to COVID-19 and meet the other eligibility criteria.

If someone who is Canadian earned income abroad, is he/she eligible? Are international students eligible? Can they earn the income outside of Canada or does it have to be income earned on Canadian soil?

The intent of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is to support workers in the Canadian labour force.

• The income does not have to be earned in Canada

• The person does have to be residing in Canada

• The person needs to have a valid SIN

• A Canadian who earned income abroad and who is now residing here is eligible if other conditions are met, if he ceased working, etc.

• An international student with a valid SIN and currently residing in Canada is eligible if other conditions are met, if he ceased working, etc.

• A Canadian residing in the UK is not eligible (even if he/she worked in Canada last year).

If you or a family member that is part of the Jewish community is struggling who can I call?

Federation CJA through Ometz have volunteers regularly calling and connecting with 3,200 community members over the age of 70 to ensure their well-being, and to confirm that they are getting the food, supplies and love that they need.
Their dedicated team of over 200 volunteers have also provided more than 300 kosher meals to MADA, the Family Store, and JEM Workshop clients, while continuing to purchase and deliver groceries, medication and other basic household needs to those who cannot leave their homes.

To date they have distributed over $500,000 worth of grocery gift cards, to ensure that vulnerable members of our community can continue to have food and household goods during this crisis into the foreseeable future.

If you or anyone you know is struggling at this critical time, please call the Ometz helpline @ 514-734-1411 or email [email protected]

What Support Measures are Available for Businesses Through Regional Development Agencies?

The six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been given more tools and flexibility to help local businesses deal with economic difficulties.

They will help them deal with the immediate impact of COVID-19 on their operations by allowing, for example, deferred repayment, advance payments or reimbursement of legitimate claims.

All clients of the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will benefit from deferred payments for a period of three months. The RDAs will also waive all associated interest payments. This measure will help to alleviate the immediate pressure on businesses’ finances.

We will ensure that grants and contributions awarded to local events, festivals or other initiatives are maintained and take into account the possibility of cancellations due to COVID-19.

What are Ways Employers Can Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in businesses and workplaces?

For all businesses and offices that are still open, it is important to establish policies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and make sure these are communicated and understood by employees. This includes:

• Use the risk-informed decision-making guidelines for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Increase communication to staff and your customers about COVID-19 and measures you are taking for prevention.

• Post signs asking ill clients or customers to stay away from the workplace.

• Post signs encouraging good respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene, and other healthy practices

• Where feasible, adjust policies and procedures to reduce social contact, such as teleworking arrangements, flexible hours, staggering start times, use of email and teleconferencing.

• Cancel or postpone all non-essential meetings or travel.

• Evaluate the workplace for areas where people have frequent contact with each other and share spaces and objects, and increase the frequency of cleaning in these areas.
• Consider ways that employees can practice social distancing, such as increasing distance between desks, people in line-ups and workstations.

• Consider minimizing interactions between customers and your employees, such as limiting the number of customers permitted in your establishment or serving customers over the phone. Ideally, a 2 metre separation should be maintained, unless there is a physical barrier (e.g. cubicle, Plexiglas window).

March 25th COVID-19 update

I want to thank everyone for the sacrifices that they are making. I want to assure everyone that we are busy responding to your calls and emails and are trying our best to get answers out to everyone as soon as possible.

We are getting a number of messages from Canadians having difficulty bringing immediate family members into the country and I have escalated this issue for clarification.

I have also escalated my requests for programs to ensure that non-profits are better supported during this time and that businesses receive a greater wage subsidy than the initial 10% announced. I have conference calls and correspondence with federal Ministers and caucus colleagues daily and assure you that the issues I am hearing from many of you are raised.

New Legislation:

The House of Commons and the Senate have now passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act. This is a huge step to providing immediate help to Canadians, including $2,000 a month for up to 4 months for those unable to work. This legislation will allow the government to:

• Introduce the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to provide $500 per week to Canadians who lose their income due to COVID-19. It includes people who lose their jobs or are not getting paid, people who are staying home because of self-isolation or to care for a child or senior and more. This is a simpler more streamlined benefit comprised of both the care and support streams announced on March 18, 2020. There will be an online tool introduced to apply for this benefit and as soon as I have details I will share that in a daily update.

• Increase the Canada Child Benefit by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year. Qualifying parents will receive the extra amount as part of their May payment.

• Provide a special payment under the GST credit to low and modest income families

• Reduce the minimum RRIF withdrawal to help protect seniors’ retirement savings.

• Provide a temporary wage subsidy for three months to eligible small employers. Eligible employers include small businesses (including co-operative corporations) eligible for the small business deduction, unincorporated employers, - certain partnerships, non-profit organizations and charities.

• Help prevent shortages of patented drugs or medical devices

• Introduce a pause on the repayments of Canada Student Loans for six months.

• Support provinces and territories with a COVID-19 Response Fund including one-time funding of $500 million through the Canada Health Transfer.

• Provide additional flexibility to support businesses as necessary through EDC, BDC, Farm Credit Canada and the Canada Account.

• Support the mortgage financing market in Canada through enhancements to the CMHC.

• Increasing the protection of Canadians’ savings by providing the Minister of Finance with the flexibility to increase the CDIC’s deposit insurance limit.

• Allowing us to respond rapidly to COVID-19 developments by providing the Minister of Finance with additional flexibility to provide financial support.

Volunteering:

In addition to the volunteering opportunities I outlined yesterday, there are even more ways to help out your fellow neighbours.

This includes with the Mada Community Center, who provides vital social and crisis services for free. To help out, please email [email protected] To assist with packing and delivering baskets for Passover, please fill out the following form:

https://madacenter.formstack.com/fo…/passover_volunteer_form

There are also many other food banks that have asked for more volunteers during this critical time. This includes Le Dépôt / The Depot and Multicaf.

Please find the two links below to sign up to volunteer:

https://depotmtl.org/en/volunteering/apply-to-volunteer/

https://www.timetosignup.com/multicafcovid19/sheet/1298710/

March 24th COVID-19 Update

I want to reassure everyone that in the Mount Royal riding, different levels of Government continue to work together on a daily basis to provide services to our residents.

Today I held a conference call with D’Arcy McGee MNA, David Birnbaum MNA-député D’Arcy McGee, representatives of the office of Mont-Royal Outremont MNA, Pierre Arcand and the Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, Mitchell Brownstein, the Mayor of TMR, Philippe Roy, the Mayor of Hampstead Bill Steinberg and the Mayor of Cote des Neiges NDG, Sue Montgomery.

We each updated each other on the services we are providing and the questions and concerns we are receiving and agreed on additional measures we will take to coordinate responses to the important questions we receive.

Volunteering:

We are also speaking with local community groups providing volunteer-based services to the community and are advocating for measures to support them in their efforts. Yesterday we held a conference call with Federation CJA and CIJA which are coordinating many volunteer-based services including delivery of food and medicine.

If you are physically healthy and have not attended gatherings or travelled in the last 14 days and wish to volunteer you can contact Federation at [email protected]

Another good option to volunteer is through Centraide. You can see options at centraide-mtl.org. Of course in order to follow guidelines I continue to encourage those 70 and over to stay home except for urgent necessities and going for a walk.

Social Distancing Measures:

I want to thank all those who have continued to practice social distancing. I know this hasn’t been easy, but if we all do our part, we can hopefully get back to our normal daily lives sooner rather than later. Please continue to:

● Not attend or organize any non-essential gatherings
● Avoid common greetings, such as handshakes
● Limit contact with people at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health
● Keep a distance of at least 2 arms-length (approximately 2 metres) from others

If You Are Showing Symptoms:

If you think you might have COVID-19 but aren’t sure what to do, use a self-assessment tool. It’ll help determine if you should be tested for the virus and give you the contact information you may need. It’s available online here: bit.ly/3deHsXA.

Remember to call 811 if you think you should be tested and if you are showing symptoms do not leave your home unless instructed to do so by Public Health to go get tested.

Please Do Not Stigmatize Groups:

I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that each and every one of us are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. It is not a virus limited to one race, religion, ethnicity or age group. I am seeing too many people on social media blaming one group or another for spreading the virus. While there are irresponsible individuals in every group who are foolishly ignoring Public Health information, no group or members of a group should be blamed. I ask everyone to please remember that we all have to be judged as individuals not as part of a group.

Update on Supporting Canadians Abroad:

I am so pleased to hear from more and more constituents that we have been assisting that they have either returned home or booked travel to return. At least one more flight from Morocco has been scheduled.

The first flight from Peru will leave today and we are working on flights from Panama, Tunisia, and Ukraine in addition to the flights we’ve already announced from Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Spain.

I have individuals in a number of other locations such as Japan, Cyprus and Colombia who have requested assistance and we are following up. Just this past week, nearly one million Canadians traveled back to Canada, and we continue to work hard to bring Canadians abroad back home.

As the Prime Minister stated in his press conference this morning, if you’ve just returned from abroad, go straight home from the airport and do not leave for at least 14 days. This is not a suggestion. You cannot pick up groceries or visit your parents or your friends. You need to go home and stay there, except for solitary walks according to the guidelines of Montreal Public Health.

Government of Canada’s Tables the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act:

Today, the government tabled Bill C-13, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act.

The Bill will need to receive unanimous support of all parties represented in the House of Commons and I am hopeful all parties will agree on legislation today to get the much needed monies out to Canadians who are currently at home and worried about purchasing necessities.

Once the bill is adopted I will provide you with details on it.

Finally, I know this is a tough time for everyone. I hear tragic stories every day from you and I am also amazed by most people’s courage and resilience. If I can be of help, please call my office at 514-283-0171 or email us at [email protected]

March 23rd COVID-19 Update

Over the weekend we continued to see the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the globe. We had more cases in our own community. My first message today is simple. No churches, synagogues, mosques or any other public gathering places should be opened.

No weddings, celebrations, parties or other gatherings should take place. Quebec has clearly banned indoor gatherings. If you become aware of one please do not hesitate to advise the police. Such behaviour is putting everyone at risk and will require Government to take more coercive measures.

That will harm the vast majority of the population that is complying with the rules. Restaurants are now closed except for take out and delivery. Shopping malls are now closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies and SAQ outlets. People should not leave home unless their work requires them to work from outside the home or you are going for a walk, run or bike ride keeping appropriate social distance from others.

Please check out my interview on CTV News and my Facebook video from Sunday at the following links:

facebook.com/anthonyhousefather/posts/3582131

facebook.com/watch/?v=658584134894168

I also want to thank all the doctors, nurses, PABs, and other medical professionals and those who work in the health system who are on the front lines every day. I want to thank all those who work for grocery stores and pharmacies, those delivering, those truckers who bring supplies, Canada Post workers and the many others who are providing essential services to the population.

In terms of today’s updates from the Government of Canada on a variety of issues related to COVID-19.

Helping to Bring Canadians Abroad Back to Canada:

I have had many constituents and family members contact me about being stuck in Morocco, Peru, cruises and other places. To start, the government has made progress and is continuing to work hard to help Canadians in Morocco, Peru, and other countries return home. On Saturday, a flight from Morocco took nearly 450 Canadians and landed safely in Montreal. We had a number of Mount Royal residents on that plane. At least two additional flights from Morocco have been scheduled and I know other constituents who have booked seats on those planes. Additional Morocco flights are being added.
We also have three flights leaving this week from Peru to start bringing Canadians home.

Canada has also won approval to send more planes to bring Canadians home from Spain, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

If you have not done so already, or know someone in one of these countries looking to return home, it is imperative that they register as a Canadian Abroad to receive important information related to these flights:

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration

An important reminder to all those returning home that you must self-isolate for 14 days following your return to Canada. Please go to the Montreal Public Health website to see guidance on self isolation rules in our area.

https://santemontreal.qc.ca/en/public/

Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Science to Fight COVID-19:

$192 million in new projects that will be prioritized under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream to deliver direct support to Canadian companies for large-scale projects. These companies include:

o AbCellera, a Vancouver-based biotech company that has built the world’s leading technology for antibody discovery, is at the forefront of developing antibody-based drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19.

AbCellera’s technology is being used to search blood samples of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to find naturally-produced antibodies that can be used for treatment and prevention.

AbCellera was the first company in North America to receive a sample from a convalescent patient, and within days identified over 500 human antibodies that are candidates for development as a treatment. The company has partnered with global biopharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to rapidly manufacture and distribute a treatment with the goal of begining clinical trials in July 2020.

o Medicago, a Quebec City-based company with 20 years of experience in plant-based vaccines and therapeutics, that has identified a viable plant based vaccine candidate currently at the pre-clinical testing phase. Funding will allow Medicago to rapidly move forward on clinical trials and then quickly shift to scaling up production for pandemic response.

o Funding for the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), one of the largest and most advanced infectious disease research facilities in the world. With $11 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, VIDO-InterVac will be able to strengthen its existing expertise in coronavirus research and to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

An additional $12 million from Western Economic Diversification’s Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program will help VIDO-InterVac expand its bio-manufacturing capacity to support clinical trials.

o Funding of $15 million for the National Research Council of Canada to upgrade its Human Health Therapeutics facility in Montréal to develop, test and scale-up promising vaccine candidates to be ready for industrial production.

This will involve certifying the facility for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) quality assurance to ensure that their human pharmaceuticals and biologics, including vaccines, are consistently produced and controlled. This certification will support a more effective roll-out and production of vaccines, and help ensure that any vaccines produced by the facility can be made available to Canadians and people around the world more quickly.

Recall of the House of Commons to help workers and businesses during COVID-19 crisis:

The House of Commons has been recalled in order to introduce urgent economic measures, including Canada’s $82 billion response to support workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The quick passage of this legislation is important to ensure Canadians have the financial support needed during this crisis.

Members of Parliament from all parties have been clear in their desire to help Canadians, workers, and businesses experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recalling the House will give us the opportunity to come together to debate these important measures and get Canadians the immediate support they need. We are all in this together, and the Government of Canada is ready to help every Canadian during this time.

For those who have asked if I am going to Ottawa the answer is no. The parties have agreed that only approximately 30 MPs will attend which means 14 Liberal MPs. We have chosen to ask those who are already in the Ottawa region to go so that nobody else needs to travel unnecessarily. This will be the adoption of a bill not an intensive debate.

Support for farmers and agri-food businesses under Canada’s response to COVID-19:

The Prime Minister announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.

This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cash flow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time. In addition, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan.

This important measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers’ pockets during these critical months.

The Stay of Default will also provide farmers the flexibility they need to manage their cash flow when facing lower prices or reduced marketing opportunities. Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.

The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting Canada’s agricultural sector to ensure that farmers and businesses have the support they need to provide for their families and all Canadians during this critical time.

March 20th COVID-19 Update

Yesterday my blunt message was to those still abroad. Today is an equally blunt message to those who are here at home. Please check out my video on my Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1086190075107564

We have now had confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community.

This is a pandemic and it is incredibly serious. Everyone needs to follow the rules laid out by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

That means all Snowbirds and anyone else who has returned to the country must stay home for 14 days. Staying home means staying home.
Not going out to IGA or Metro or Provigo.

Not going to the drugstore. Not coming close to any of your neighbours. You need to stay at home. Please order your groceries and medication. The municipalities in our riding have collected information on stores that deliver. We have stores and restaurants throughout our riding that are making home deliveries. You need to stay home period.

For those over 70 please stay home unless it is absolutely urgent to go out. There is a much higher mortality rate with the COVID-19 virus for those over 70. If you must go out it should be for a walk and not in crowded spaces and stay at least six feet a way from anyone not in your household. For those under 70 you must not infect your older family members. So please reach out to them and your friends by phone and by video conference. Bring them groceries and leave them on the porch. But do not go visit.

For those who would normally go to church or synagogue or mosque to worship, do not do so. Pray at home. This is an emergency and crowds gathered in religious locations are an easy way to spread the disease.

For those who on Friday night would normally have extended family and friends for Shabbat dinner. Do not. Stay home and do not invite others over.

We can get through this but we need to protect each other’s health. Period. We also must not start blaming our friends and neighbours and lashing out on social media. There is a potential of spreading the virus in any group. No group is more likely or less likely to spread it. I have heard various people blame parts of our community. Please do not do this. It is the time to pull together not cast blame.

Your elected leaders from all level of Government are working together but we need the community to all be part of this effort. Thank you to those in the health field and public security forces and those working in grocery stores and pharmacies and helping with supply chain on vital supplies. Your work is brave and extraordinary.

Now for the national update.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet made further announcements today. Here are the details:

Update on Support for Canadians Stuck in Morocco and Elsewhere:

Today, the Prime Minister announced that a first flight has been arranged for Canadians currently stuck in Morocco. Air Canada is sending a plane Saturday that will ferry Canadians home and will be arriving in Montreal. No doubt other flights will follow. If you are located abroad and have not done so, please register as a Canadian abroad.

You can only be put on such a flight if you have registered and the Government of Canada knows where you are. The Government needs your coordinates to contact you and will advise you where to go and what to do.

Not everyone will be on the first flight so please register whether you are in Morocco or anywhere else to ensure you receive any information and updates directly from the government. To register, click on the following link: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration

As for Canadians stuck in other countries, including Peru, the government continues to be in discussion with those countries’ governments and airlines to help other Canadians stranded abroad come home.

Irregular Border Crossings:

Firstly, irregular migrants crossing into Canada on foot from the U.S will be turned away when they reach the border. This includes informal crossings like Roxham Road between New York and Quebec. We must do all we can to ensure we keep Canadians safe at this difficult time. Those who have crossed recently are in a 14-day isolation under federal authority.

Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry:

Additionally, the Prime Minister also announced Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, which will create pathways to deploy resources to domestic manufacturers and businesses so they can help during this critical time.
The Plan introduces new measures to directly support these businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19.

These products could include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology.

It focuses on domestic capacity building, innovative solutions, and procurement of essential supplies which will help:

• Build the industrial capability needed to manufacture critical supplies at scale in Canada. This will be done either by re-tooling the manufacturing lines of existing Canadian businesses or rapidly scaling up the production of others that already produce these products.

• Refocus Canada’s existing industrial and innovation programs, by adding to their mandate a requirement that they prioritize the fight against COVID-19. This includes:
- The Strategic Innovation Fund to deliver direct support to Canadian companies for large-scale projects

- National Research Council of Canada to expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises

- Innovation Superclusters to tap into a national network of 1,800 members, and Innovative Solutions Canada to help companies commercialize products more quickly

• Deliver direct support to key Canadian companies that are working on large scale and later-stage research and development projects aimed, in the immediate term, at producing countermeasures to COVID-19.

• Challenge innovative companies to develop research-based solutions, technologies, and products that can address a variety of COVID-19 issues.

• Source equipment needed to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 here in Canada. The Government of Canada will use existing supply arrangements and innovative, flexible procurement approaches. It is also reaching out to suppliers to identify and purchase equipment, supplies, and services needed for Canada’s response to COVID-19.

With a view to longer-term support, the Government of Canada will ensure procurement flexibility to support innovation and build domestic manufacturing capacity to supply critical health supplies to Canadians. These measures are part of a larger strategy the Government of Canada is implementing to protect Canadians and prevent the spread of the virus.

This strategy prioritizes the health and safety of Canadians, ensures the capacity of our health care system, and mitigates the economic impacts on Canadians and Canadian business.

Canada’s industrial policy will be temporarily refocused to prioritize research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing (existing or potential) for medical supplies and solutions in the fight against COVID-19. This means that:

• The Strategic Innovation Fund will deliver direct support to larger companies as well as research institutions;

• Canada’s National Research Centre will expedite R&D with small and medium-sized enterprises;

• Innovation Superclusters will tap into a national network of 1,800 members; and

• Innovative Solutions Canada will help Canadian companies commercialize faster.

Funds will be deployed on an accelerated basis with wider flexibility to be able to tackle COVID-19 related problems through shortened applications and faster approvals, while maintaining standards for the health and safety of Canadians. We are putting the full weight of the federal government behind this plan.

If your businesses can help, I encourage you to visit this website:

https://www.canada.ca/…/maintaing…/manufacturers-needed.html. For all other information, please visit Canada.ca/coronavirus.

MInister Bains' announcement today builds on previous efforts already announced by our government to support Canadians and businesses across the country, which include:

• Allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020.

This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.

• Increasing the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, 2020, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. Our Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.

• Further expanding Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.

• Providing flexibility on the Canada Account limit to help our government provide additional support to Canadian businesses – when considered to be in the national interest – to deal with exceptional circumstances.

• Providing eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep jobs.

• Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, 2020, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.

March 19th COVID-19 message

Here is today’s update on COVID-19 and actions being taken.

I want to start with a plea to all Canadians in the United States and other destinations where you can return home from to return home now.

My office is receiving dozens of messages from individuals in places like Morocco and Peru where airlines have cancelled flights and local governments have closed airspace. Air carriers are now cancelling international flights even from the United States.

It is time to return home from Florida and other places. If you know someone (a parent, grandparent or friend) who is still in Florida and has no immediate plans to return please call them now and convince them to come home.

We are also hearing about long wait times at Service Canada. I am encouraging all my constituents to use the online application portal and online resources when possible to reduce traffic to Service Canada offices and phone lines.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Bill Morneau announced our Economic response plan to COVID-19 for Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our government wants Canadians to know we have their backs during this time. This economic response plan will protect Canadians families and keep our economy strong.

The whole-of-government is focused on COVID-19 and ensuring Canadians and their families are safe. Here is some key information:


Communicating with Canadians abroad:

A number of telecommunications service providers have agreed to a Government of Canada request to send text messages containing contact information for Global Affairs Canada consular support to devices belonging to Canadians living or travelling abroad.

Beginning today, Rogers, Bell, Telus, Videotron, Freedom Mobile, Eastlink and SaskTel will be sending their subscribers currently living or travelling abroad text messages containing consular support information and key contact information.

Below is the information Canadians will be receiving via SMS:

This is a message from the Government of Canada

Registering online will help the Government contact you: bit.ly/3b8SM5A. For emergency assistance, email: [email protected] or call +1 613 996 8885. You can also contact a Canadian embassy or consulate: bit.ly/2TXpVvo
You can find travel advisories here: bit.ly/2x62Uxz

Economic response plan:

• In these extraordinary times, no Canadian should have to worry about paying their bills, rent, or putting food on the table.

• Our Government is unwavering in our commitment to support Canadians, our healthcare system, and our economy.

• As the first phase of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, we are providing immediate help to those Canadians and businesses that are most in need.

• These measures represent over $27 Billion of direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, and we will keep an additional $55 Billion in the economy by allowing people and businesses to defer the payment of their taxes until the end of August. This will help people and help stabilize the economy.

• This wide-ranging support will help ensure Canadians can pay for rent and groceries, and help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty.

• This plan builds on coordinated action taken since the beginning of this outbreak, including the more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund, and over $500 billion in additional credit and liquidity support for people and businesses.

• This is just the beginning, and our Government will be there with Canadians every step of the way. We will do whatever it takes.

Next steps:

• In order to follow through on our COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, our Government will be tabling emergency legislation to provide timely support to Canadians.

• This will also ensure that we have all the tools to support them and businesses as things continue to evolve during these very uncertain times.

• When the time is right, we will announce more long-term investment to assist with recovery and help Canadians get back to our everyday lives.

• We are in this together, and our Government will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to support Canadians during this difficult time.

Emergency Care Benefit & Further EI Measures:

• Our Government will ensure that all Canadian workers have the support they need during this difficult time. We are taking bold action so that no one is left behind.

• The new Emergency Care Benefit will provide self-employed Canadians, contractors, freelancers, part-time workers, gig-economy workers, many of our cultural workers, and more, with income security if they can’t work because they are in self-isolation or quarantine, or taking care of a loved one.

- This benefit would provide up to $900 every two weeks, for up to 15 weeks, for Canadians who are not eligible for the EI sickness benefit.

- Any working parents who are unable to work because schools and daycares are closed, will also qualify for the Emergency Care Benefit.

- Applications for the benefit will be simple and accessible online through the CRA or Service Canada website, starting in early April

• No Canadians should worry about protecting their health and putting food on the table. This is about saving lives.

Emergency Support Benefit:

• Our Government is taking swift action to get money into peoples’ hands so that they will continue to be able to pay their bills.

• For any worker who loses their job and does not qualify for EI, we are developing the new Emergency Support Benefit to provide additional help.

• More details will come in the near future.

Support for low and modest income workers (GST Credit & CCB):

• Our Government recognizes that low and modest income Canadians may require additional help with their finances through this difficult time.

• We are proposing to provide a special top-up payment through the GST credit that would double the maximum credit for over 12 million families, and inject $5.5 billion into the economy. This measure would be available as of May 2020.

• This credit top-up would mean close to $400 for single adults, and $600 for couples.

• For over 3.5 million families with children, we are also increasing the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year.

• Taken together, these enhancements would give a single parent with two children up to $1,500 in additional short-term support.

Legislation:

• In order to follow through on our COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, our Government will be tabling emergency legislation to provide timely support to Canadians, as well as to ensure that we have all the tools to support them and businesses as things continue to evolve during these very uncertain times.

• It is our collective responsibility to ensure we have the flexibility to respond quickly to any challenges Canadians could face because of COVID-19.

• These tools will be essential to give Canadians the certainty that their government can rapidly implement the measures to protect them and our economy.


Support for Seniors:

• Our Government recognizes that seniors are worried about the impact of COVID-19. First and foremost, their health and safety is our top priority.

• We also recognize the impact that volatile market conditions have had on many seniors’ retirement savings.

• Our Government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020, in order to help protect the value of retirement funds.

• This will provide flexibility to seniors that are concerned that they may be required to liquidate their RRIF assets to meet minimum withdrawal requirements.

• We will continue to monitor this issue as markets evolve.

Moratorium on Canada Student Loans Repayments:

• Many young Canadians who are starting out in their careers are worried about what this uncertainty will mean for their finances.

• In order to support young Canadians who may be impacted by COVID-19, our Government would be providing immediate relief for the repayment of Canada Student Loans.

• Specifically, our Government is putting in place an immediate time-limited (6 months) moratorium on Student Loan payments – pausing payment requirements and interest accrual.

• This relief will save over 1 million Canadians an average of $160 a month.

Support for Businesses:

• Our Government is working closely with businesses across the country as they deal with economic challenges related to COVID-19. We need businesses to keep going so that they can keep their employees.

• For eligible small employers, we will be providing a 10% wage subsidy for the next three months, representing up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
• This will help employers, including small not-for-profits and charities, keep people on their payroll and help Canadians’ keep their jobs.

• These actions build on the more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges already made available through the Business Credit Availability Program.

• We have also taken steps to enhance the Work Sharing Program, which will help workers facing reduced hours get by, and help businesses keep their employees.

• Our Government is also extending the tax filing deadline to June 1st, and will allow all businesses to defer any income tax payments owing until August 31st.

• We said we would respond to problems as they come, and that is exactly what we are doing.

• We know that businesses in some sectors are more affected than others, like air transportation and oil and gas, and they will need specific help.

• EDC and BDC are currently developing a tailored set of tools for them, and other affected sectors.


Women’s Shelters & Homelessness:

• Our Government recognizes that it is crucial we support Canada’s most vulnerable at this time.

• Shelters across the country will need necessities to prevent outbreaks, so we are investing over $200 million to support homeless shelters, sexual assault centres, and shelters for women and children to help purchase the necessary equipment.

• This includes $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities. This includes funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.

Mortgage Payments and Taxes:

No Canadian should have to struggle to pay their mortgage because of COVID-19.

• The six largest financial institutions have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges due to COVID-19.

• As a first step, this support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/…/dealing-with-mortgage-payment…?

• Over the next couple of months, we know Canadians will need money at hand, so we are also extending the tax filing deadline to June 1st, and will allow all Canadians to defer any payments owing until August 31st.

• This will provide $55 billion in temporary tax relief, and keep that money circulating in our economy.

Consumer Protections:

• Our Government has been in close contact with businesses and labour leaders across the country in order to coordinate our response to COVID-19.

• The CEOs of all our major grocery stores have confirmed that their supply chains are still working, and that they will maintain fair prices.

• Canada’s big banks and they have committed that they will work with individuals and businesses on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions in the face of hardships.

• Canada’s life and health insurers are also committed to supporting employers, and Canadians who are taking steps to protect themselves and contain and control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Employers and Canadians are encouraged to contact their insurer with any questions they may have about their short term disability and other types of insurance coverage.

Canadian banks:

• Our government has been in close contact with businesses and labour leaders across the country in order to coordinate our response to COVID-19.

• Canada’s big banks and they have committed that they will work with individuals and businesses on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions in the face of hardships due to COVID-19.

• As a first step, this support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit arragements with the bank. Please contact your bank to make these arrangements.
• We will continue to engage with the banks to ensure that they hold to this commitment.

Travel, Canadian Borders, and the International Community:

Canadians in difficult situations abroad:

• We understand this is a stressful situation and we are doing everything we can to help. We are now dealing with an historic and unprecedented situation.

• Some countries have put measures in place including closing land borders and shutting down their airspace. In some cases, these measures taken have led to the complete cancellation of flights.

• These instances could mean that Canadians will not be able to return home for an indeterminate period of time.

• If this is the case, we strongly recommend that you follow the advice of local authorities regarding health and safety.

• Where it is still possible, we recommend that Canadians abroad return to Canada by commercial means while they are still available.

• We have created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program to support Canadians in difficult situations.

- The program will provide the option of an emergency loan to eligible Canadians who are in need of immediate financial assistance to secure their timely return to Canada or to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work towards their return.

• We continue to encourage Canadians outside of the country to register in the Registry of Canadians Abroad to receive important updates (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration) and that they check the entry and exit requirements of the countries through which they may be transiting.

• Canadians in need of consular assistance can contact the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where possible) or send an e-mail to [email protected]

• We will share more information as it becomes available.

Irregular migrants
• Our government will never compromise the safety of Canadians.
• Upon arrival in Canada, irregular migrants are arrested by members of the RCMP and are subject to multiple screenings in conjunction with the CBSA.
• These screenings determine travel history, criminality as well as the health condition of the claimants.
• We are taking responsibility as a federal government to ensure any such irregular migrants self-isolate for 14 days.

Airline prices:

• Our Government has been informed that Canadians seeking to return home as quickly as possible from other countries may be facing ticket prices that are much higher than normal.

• Although airlines themselves set ticket prices and may introduce increases if there is a high demand for a comparatively limited number of seats, the Government recognizes that this places additional hardship on travelers abroad who are already facing a very stressful series of circumstances.

• The Government therefore encourages all travel service providers to take a reasonable and balanced approach to help their customers return to Canada.

National and public health, emergency preparedness, and community recommendations:

Procurement of healthcare supplies:

• The whole-of-government is focused on responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and working with partners at all levels of government, and with industry, to ensure Canadians and their families are safe.

• The Public Health Agency of Canada is working closely with federal partners, provinces and territories to assess potential shortfalls, and identify priority items.

• Public Services and Procurement is also proactively engaging with industry to help meet Canada's needs, and is leading the consolidated purchase of required emergency supplies and services.

• Any potential suppliers or individuals with helpful information on supporting the COVID-19 response are encouraged to visit https://buyandsell.gc.ca/calling-all-suppliers-help-canada-… for more information.

• PSPC is implementing flexible and innovative procurement approaches to best meet Canada's needs and is reviewing the significant number of responses to identify potential suppliers for the goods and services that may be required as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

• We stand ready to take further action to support the provinces and territories, our frontline health workers, and Canadians.

Provincial State of Emergency:

• We are taking all steps to keep Canadians safe from COVID-19.

• The federal government currently has access to the tools and resources it needs to address COVID-19. However, some provinces and territories might need to declare an emergency to access the resources that they require for their response.

• We are responding to the outbreak by:

Working with the WHO, the provinces and territories, and local public health authorities to coordinate our response to COVID-19.
- Establishing the $1B COVID-19 Response Fund, which will support public health preparedness.
- Updating our travel advice for Canadians, here and abroad.

All levels of government are working together to keep Canadians safe. We will get through this.

Support for families and individuals (Canada Child Benefit and GST):

• Our Government recognizes that low- and modest-income Canadians may require additional help with their finances through this difficult time.

• For over 3.5 million families with children, we are increasing the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit by $300 per child for the 2019-20 benefit year. https://www.canada.ca/…/…/canada-child-benefit-overview.html

• We are also proposing to provide a special top-up payment through the GST credit that would double the maximum credit for over 12 million families, and inject $5.5 billion into the economy. This measure would be available as of May 2020.

• This credit top-up would mean close to $400 for single adults and $600 for couples.

• Taken together, these enhancements would give a single parent with two children up to $1,500 in additional short-term support.

March 18th COVID-19 Update

I will continue to try to provide information on the federal government’s response to the pandemic every day.

We are experiencing a very high call volume and email traffic so would request that anyone who has any questions about their own situation or that of their business please email me at [email protected]

This morning, the Prime Minister announced an $27 billion in direct support response package for Canadians and businesses plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy. Combined, this $82 billion in support represents more than 3 per cent of Canada’s GDP.

Both the Prime Minister and Finance Minister outlined a plan to stabilize our economy through targeted measures to address immediate challenges faced by workers, employers, and businesses alike. It will help ensure that workers have the money they need while they are sick or in isolation, or due to loss of work or a significant reduction in work income and help support people and businesses experiencing financial hardship because of the outbreak.

In addition, it was also announced that, to further limit the spread of COVID-19, the border between the US and Canada will soon be closed to non-essential travel. Let me be very clear. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will still be allowed to cross the border into Canada and come home . This measure also will not restrict trade between our two countries.

Measures for individuals include:

• Providing additional assistance to families with children by temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments. This measure would deliver almost $2 billion in extra support.

• Introducing an Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 bi-weekly for up to 15 weeks to provide income support to workers who must stay home and do not have access to paid sick leave. This measure could provide up to $10 billion to Canadians, and includes: Workers, including the self-employed, who are sick, quarantined, or who have been directed to self-isolate but do not qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent or other dependents who are sick, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits. EI-eligible and non EI-eligible working parents who must stay home without pay because of children who are sick or who need additional care because of school closures.

• Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.

• Provide additional assistance to individuals and families with low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit. This measure would inject $5.5 billion in the economy.

• Waive, for a minimum of six months, the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11.

• Waiving the requirement for a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.

• Extending the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1, and allow all taxpayers to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in households having more money available during this period.

• Providing increased flexibility to lenders to defer mortgage payments on homeowner government-insured mortgage loans to borrowers who may be experiencing financial difficulties related to the outbreak. Insurers will permit lenders to allow payment deferral beginning immediately.

For those who own a business, we have also announced the following measures to:

• Provide eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep their jobs.

• Allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.

• Increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. The Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.

• Further expand Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.

• Provide flexibility on the Canada Account limit, to allow the Government to provide additional support to Canadian businesses, when deemed to be in the national interest, to deal with exceptional circumstances.
• Augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.

• Launch an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. The Government will enable these measures by raising CMHC’s legislative limits to guarantee securities and insure mortgages by $150 billion each.

Border Announcement

On the matter of the border, Canada and the United States are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across our two countries. Essential travel will continue unimpeded. The Canadian and US governments recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries.

All Canadians and permanent residents now outside of Canada can come home. This does not change the ability of snowbirds or others to return.

Supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure.

Canadians and Americans also cross the border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons; that will not be impacted.

On a final note, I urge all my constituents to do their part: listen to the advice of public health officials, practice social distancing and proper hygiene and follow the rules set by the national, provincial and local governments.

March 17th COVID-19 Update

My staff and I are trying to respond to the incredibly high volume of calls and emails as quickly as we can. In order to provide information to the highest number of people, I will continue to respond to common questions by posting responses on Social Media.

Please share these responses and encourage people to read these responses. If people have individual questions, please email my office at [email protected]

I will not respond to individuals’ specific situation on social media.

Remember all responses are as of the time we post and may change from day to day.

I am a Canadian. Can I travel abroad? If I am abroad should I return home?

We advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada and to avoid all cruise ship -travel until further notice.
Given the extremely fluid nature of this situation, we ask all Canadians to regularly consult the Government of Canada's official resources if they are undertaking travel despite the advice to Canadians:

• Visit Canada's Outbreak update page and Travel advice tab
• Check our Travel Advice and Advisories before travelling
• Canadian travellers should register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service and follow @TravelGoC on social media to get the latest updates on the situation.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Travel plans may be severely disrupted and travellers may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. Canadians travelling abroad should also check with their travel insurance provider to know more about their policies related to COVID-19.

We encourage Canadians currently travelling outside of Canada to find out what options are still available to return to Canada and consider returning earlier than planned.

We also advise they register with the Registry of Canadians Abroad to receive important updates (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration).

For any questions related to how Canada determines the health risks of travelling abroad, please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada.

For any questions related to how Canada will enforce health screening or entry restrictions into Canada, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency.

What is the Emergency Loan Program for Canadians abroad announced yesterday?

To help Canadians abroad return home, the Government of Canada is creating a special financial assistance program, the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad. With this program, Canadian abroad directly impacted by COVID-19 will have the option of applying for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to help secure their timely return to Canada and to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.

In addition, the Government of Canada will provide additional support to Canadians directly affected by COVID-19 and unable to immediately return home. This support will be provided through new partnerships with local and other organizations and will complement existing consular services.

What is the Minister of Global Affairs doing to help Canadians get home from abroad?

Minister François-Philippe Champagne continues to work around the clock to provide assistance and consular services to Canadians and collaborate with his counterparts around the world to take action in limiting the global spread of this virus.

He has also been in touch with representatives from the provincial government and with multiple colleagues from caucus regarding consular services.

In this regard, in the past 24 hours, he has been in contact with representatives from airlines, including the CEOs of Air Canada and Sunwing. He also has been in contact with the Red Cross.

Further, he has discussed the situation with his counterparts from the Australia, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Italy, France Morocco, Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, UAE and the UK as well as with the Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs.

I am on cruise ship X currently off the coast of Y which has been denied access to port Z, where will we be allowed to dock and how will I get home?

• We are trying to ensure their safety and help them return home

• Global Affairs Canada and Minister Champagne’s office are in contact with the leadership of cruise ship operators to try and find a solution as soon as possible

• For reference to those aboard, the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa can be reached at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email [email protected]

Border closures abroad - Country X has now closed their borders and I am stranded. How can I get home?

• We are aware of these situations. This morning I have spoken to a dozen constituents seeking to get out of Morocco.

• We are actively pursuing with the Moroccan Government and other similar countries what options there are available to ensure their safe return home

• We encourage you to stay in touch with your airline and/or tour operator to see if they have made or are working on alternative arrangements. For example in Morocco there are still flights through Europe that some of my constituents found to get on today.

• We also encourage you to closely review your travel insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered while in the country you are in.

• For reference, the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa can be reached at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email [email protected]

What is the definition of “Immediate Family” for purposes of entry into Canada?

Americans are exempted from today’s measures restricting entry of foreigners into Canada. So are immediate family members of Canadians returning to Canada. The definition of Immediate Family will be the one used in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as follows:

(a) the spouse or common-law partner of the person;

(b) a dependent child of the person or of the person’s spouse or common-law partner; and

(c) a dependent child of a dependent child referred to in paragraph (b)."

Does the government’s limit of incoming travel to Canadian and American nationals mean international students, those in Canada on work visas, foreign nationals, etc. need to leave Canada?

• No. The announcements made by the government today are with regard to incoming travellers to Canada

• There is no change of advice or direction to those within Canada beyond a reminder for all within Canada to adhere to PHAC’s advice to limit the spread of COVID-19

March 16th COVID-19 Update

We are currently in a very serious situation for our country. We are in a pandemic. We will never regret doing too much. We will regret doing too little. Decisions need to be informed by what is going on across the country and I want to ensure you that the Liberal caucus is meeting 7 days a week by phone.

I have strong views on what should be done and I have conveyed my views and the views I have received from constituents ranging from Mayors to doctors to travelers to my fellow caucus members and our cabinet members responsible for these files both on these calls and separately by phone and email.

I was very pleased with the Prime Minister’s announcement this afternoon and I know that many constituents, particularly snowbirds and their families have questions and want correct and up to date information.

Please remember the situation changes daily based on the current advice the Government receives from public health leadership and feedback .

So the information I am providing today may be different tomorrow. Please check out Canadian and Quebec Government websites on a daily basis and I will also update my social media as often as possible.

Here are the main questions I have received today with my answers:

I am a snowbird or temporarily traveling outside Canada, should I return home now?

Yes, I encourage everyone to (without panicking) do the things you need to do to close your winter residence, pack and return home to Canada as soon as you reasonably can.

While Canadian citizens and permanent residents will always be able to enter Canada, we cannot control decisions made by commercial airlines to delay or cease travel or by foreign governments who may limit or suspend air travel with little warning. So the safest thing is to return as soon as you can, if flying commercially. For those driving, the land border will remain open.

We encourage Canadians outside of the country to register in the Registry of Canadians Abroad to receive important updates (https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration) and that they check the entry and exit requirements of the countries through which they may be transiting.

Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance can call the 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available) or email [email protected]

Are Canadian Borders Closed?

Canadian borders are not closed. A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is asymptomatic will always be allowed entry to Canada.

The Prime Minister’s announcement today was that foreign nationals will not be admitted into Canada. This measure will carve out some designated exceptions including for aircrews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens and at this time, US citizens.

If I am sick with COVID-19 or have symptoms can I return home?

No, air operators will be formally mandated to prevent all travellers who present symptoms of COVID-19 to board a plane. Air operators will be required to complete a basic health assessment of every air traveller based on guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. This means that anyone who has symptoms will not be able to come to Canada.

If I am stuck abroad because I cannot come back home till I am well or I am a Canadian who needs to change travel plans, will the Government help?l

Yes. The Prime Minister announced today that financial assistance will be available to help asymptomatic Canadians return home or temporarily cover Canadians basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada. Details of this program have not yet been announced.


Where will we land in Canada upon return? Will goods and services be impacted?

Starting Wednesday, March 18th, only four Canadian airports will be accepting international flights – Toronto Pearson Airport, Montreal-Trudeau Airport, Vancouver International Airport, and Calgary International Airport. At this time, domestic flights as well as flights coming from the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and St. Pierre-et-Miquelon will not be affected.

The travel restrictions announced today will not apply to commerce or trade. We will continue to ensure the supply of important goods to Canada.


Will we need to self-isolate upon our return?

Yes. Both the Canadian and Quebec Governments require all returning travelers to self-isolate for 14 days following your return to Canada.

This does not mean that you cannot take a taxi home from the airport or be picked up by a loved one.

Groceries and pharmacies in our area offer online delivery of groceries and medication.

For further questions or information please do not post on Facebook, please email my office at [email protected] and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

March 13th COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 is having real and consequential effects on the livelihoods of many Canadians. That is why the Government of Canada is implementing new Employment Insurance measures to help those whose income has been impacted by the virus.

These measures include:

1. Waiving the EI Sickness Benefits Waiting Period
The one week waiting period will be waived for EI sickness benefits claimants for whom a period of quarantine is imposed when the quarantine is:

• Imposed on the claimant under the laws of Canada or a province
• Imposed on the claimant by a public health official for the health and safety of the public at large, or

• Recommended by such an official for health and safety of the public at large, and the claimant was asked by their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority to place themselves under quarantine.

The term quarantine is intended to be broad and include individuals who are in self-isolation on the recommendation of a public health official, their employer, medical doctor, a nurse or a person in authority.

• For more details on eligibility criteria, visit: https://www.canada.ca/…/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/qualify.html

To this end, Service Canada has dedicated a new toll free phone number for Canadians under quarantine and seeking to waive the waiting period. The number is 1-833-381-2725.

2. Temporary special Work-Sharing measures

Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employees and employers avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.

The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is a three-party agreement involving employers, employees and Service Canada. Employees on a Work-Sharing agreement must agree to a reduced schedule of work and to share the available work over a specified period of time.

• As part of our efforts to help employees and employers affected directly and indirectly by COVID-19, we are implementing the following changes to the Work-Sharing Program that will last for one year:
Doubling the length of agreements from up to 38 weeks to 76 weeks;
• Increasing flexibility for the mandatory employer recovery plan; and
• Eliminating the cool off period between agreements so that employers with recently expired agreements can start subsequent ones sooner.

Employers are instructed to submit their completed applications by mail to their local Service Canada Centre.
• For more information on Work-Sharing Agreements, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/…/servi…/work-sharing/eligibility.html

March 12th COVID-19 Update

Canadians need to be supported and protected as the challenge of COVID-19 continues to evolve. This includes ensuring that workers and employers impacted by this virus are supported where possible.

That is why the government has announced a $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund.

On top of the Fund providing money to the provinces and territories to deal with preparation and mitigation for the virus, increase screenings and testing, enhance research in Canada, and support the World Health Organization, financial support will be available to employers and their workers through the Work-Sharing program. We will also waive the mandatory one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance sickness benefits.

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