Prime Minister Trudeau updates nation on COVID-19

PM out of self-quarantine

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UPDATE 11:39 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has left self-quarantine and attended his first known in-person cabinet meeting Wednesday.

Trudeau may be getting back to personal appearances but Canadians are still being asked to follow physical distancing guidelines and work from home orders.

When Trudeau was asked about how Canada will eventually ease out of the current public health emergency, Trudeau said that “the current measures will be in place for many more weeks,” so officials have time to “get that right.”

UPDATE 9:06 a.m.

Canada confirmed cases of COVID-19 jumped far past 18,000 on Wednesday, with more than 400 deaths now ascribed to the raging global pandemic, according to latest data, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures to offset the economic impact.

Ontario alone reported 550 new known cases, including 21 more deaths, — the province's biggest single-day jump so far.

Much of the country's normal commercial and recreational activity has all but ground to a halt after governments and health authorities across Canada imposed mandatory, or urged voluntary, social-isolation measures.

"Job numbers will come out tomorrow," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday. "It's going to be a hard day."

To help cope with the precipitous job losses, Trudeau announced further measures to support those who weren't eligible for previously unveiled emergency aid. Among other things, Trudeau said the government was loosening eligibility criteria for the wage subsidy program as well as a retooled Canada Summer Jobs program to help students find work in still operating industries.

UPDATE 8:34 a.m.

Prime Minister Trudeau is announcing changes to Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. Businesses will now be able to use financial data going back to January and February when calculating their financial losses and will only have to show a decline of 15 per cent decline for March.

Trudeau has also announced changes for Canadian students looking for summer employment. Employers who can provide work for summer students will have 100 per cent of those wages covered by the federal government. Trudeau is also encouraging those businesses who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis to look for ways to hire summer students and to re-hire workers who have been laid off.

ORIGINAL 7:55 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be providing a live update on how the federal government will be approaching the next weeks in the fight against COVID-19.

Air Canada announced Wednesday morning that they will be re-hiring many of the workers who were recently let go. The airline says it will apply for Ottawa's emergency wage subsidy program and retain or return affected employees to its payroll for the program term.

Air Canada announced last month it would cut about 16,500 jobs as part of a cost reduction program due to the COVID-19 pandemic and imposition of global travel restrictions.
Air Canada says that depending on wage levels, many employees will receive more under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program than they would from employment insurance plus they will maintain their health insurance and other benefits.

Also, Wednesday morning Cities and construction groups are asking the Trudeau Liberals to relax the rules for expected cost overruns from infrastructure projects facing delays from the COVID-19 pandemic — or add more cash to help them deal with it.

Federal rules around the $186-billion infrastructure program don't permit provinces and cities to seek additional help from Ottawa if a project goes over budget for any reason, such as delays due to weather or a labour disruption.

-with files from CTV News and the Canadian Press


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