COVID-19 Update - March 27, 2020
Whole-of-Government Response
Travel and Borders
We are strongly advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada at this time. Equally, we are urging all Canadians abroad to return home as soon as possible using commercial means while they are still available.

Check out my interview with the Globe and Mail this week about the work I am doing to support Canadians abroad as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Today, I was on The Current with Matt Galloway to discuss the work of Global Affairs Canada as we take on one of the largest consular affairs operation in Canadian history. Listen to the episode below starting at 14:40 .
Many countries have already put in place special measures to limit travel domestically and internationally. Furthermore, many flights have been cancelled. Travel plans may be significantly disrupted. If you are a Canadian citizen outside Canada or know someone who is abroad, please Register with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) to stay connected with the Government of Canada and receive important updates. You can also email [email protected] and call the GAC emergency hotline at 613-996-8885 if you require assistance.

The Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Failure to comply will result in penalties; including a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Read the full press release here .

We have also set up a loan program of up to $5,000 per person to assist Canadian travellers with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering their basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada, through the Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad . For more information, you 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]

The Canada Border Service Agency’s Border Information Service (BIS) is now accessible 24/7. For the most up-to-date information related to cross border travel and business, please call 1-800-461-9999.
Support for Canadians
This week, Bill C-13: An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 received Royal Assent and became law. While a number of the measures that our government announced as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan were implemented immediately, this legislation includes adaptations to facilitate and streamline the process.
On March 25th, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) . This will provide $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to Canadians who are not receiving a paycheque due to COVID-19. To make it simpler for people applying, we’ve combined our two measures previously announced (the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit). The Application Portal will be launched in early April . This benefit applies to employees, entrepreneurs, small business owners – and you will qualify for it if you have lost your job, or you’re not being paid because you have to stay home to self-isolate, to watch your kids because of school closures, or to care for someone who is sick. To learn more about the benefit, please read the News Release
How To Apply for the CERB

The application for this benefit will be completed online or through an automated telephone service . The online process will be completed through the MyAccount service administered by the CRA . If you have not already done so, we recommend applying for your MyAccount now to minimize delays when the applications go live. If you already have activated your account, this would also be a good time to confirm your password to make sure your account is accessible. Applying for full access to your MyAccount will require a special pin which is mailed directly to you. It will not be possible to access the CERB application portal without this pin.
If you get a text message saying you received a deposit for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, beware -- it is a scam! The Government is NOT sending text messages regarding the CERB. Do not reply or click on the link. Delete the text and warn others.
Please note that in person Service Canada Centres are temporarily closed . However, you can apply for critical services online at . Employees at Service Canada sites will serve Canadians over the phone . Additionally, Citizen Service Officers will provide personalized service support for EI and pension applications. This will allow more Canadians to get the support they need, while better protecting both applicants and Service Canada staff.

For Canadians who prefer to receive services in person, Service Canada Community Outreach and Liaison Service staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery methods that will continue to support access to critical programs, services and benefits.

Please contact my office at 416-567-7275 and [email protected] if you require any help as you apply for the supports you need.
Supporting Businesses
Whether you are self-employed, a small business owner, or an entrepreneur, we know you are worried about losing your business or your job. 

Today, the Prime Minister announced new measures to support you and your business:

  • We will be raising the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% for qualifying businesses to help cover the salaries of employees. This subsidy will be backdated to March 15 and more information will be available soon.

  • We are launching 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.

  • We will 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. Businesses will be able to apply for a guaranteed loan when they go to their financial institutions to get help. 

  • We 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.

To ensure you have the information you need to navigate through this uncertain time and to give you an opportunity to ask questions about how our government can support your business, the office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the Hon. Mary Ng , hosts regular conference calls . If you, or someone you know, would like to be included in these calls, please fill in this Google form with your name, email, and organization.

Here are some ways you can get the help you need: 

  • Visit the website for businesses for information about supporting your employees and your business. It is constantly updated as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. 

  • 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 you in this challenging time. They are a good first place to start for help.

  • Download the Canada Business App to find tailored supports to address your needs in the face of COVID-19. 

Mobilizing Science to Fight COVID-19
Canada is home to some of the best researchers in the world who are working hard to fight this global pandemic. We are investing in long-term solutions. This is why we: 

  • Are providing $192 million to directly support vaccine development and production in Canada. 

  • This funding will be used to advance projects already underway by university researchers and others in response to COVID-19. 

  • We are asking every university, college, polytechnic and CEGEP in the country to identify the ways they can help. 

We need all hands on deck! 
Keeping our Communities Safe
Last Sunday, I missed worship at church in Don Valley West. Normally, I feel a bit guilty missing church. It has something to do with my upbringing! However, it is a habit and practice that keeps me personally centred and connected to friends. On Sunday, I did not feel guilty. Instead, I prayed for my friends and the world, keeping a safe physical distance from them while maintaining a close spiritual connection. I encourage you to also avoid congregating in person and take advantage of faith communities that are providing prayer services online or resources to pray at home.

I understand that gathering as a community can provide peace and calm during turbulent times. It is always better if we can come together to comfort and support each other. Unfortunately, at this time, if we are to beat this virus, we may need to do that from a distance. It is now more important than ever to do our part and practice social distancing to ensure that we help flatten the curve . This will decrease the pressure on our health care system and protect our family, friends, and neighbours.
When to Contact Public Health or Your Family Doctor
There is a lot of uncertainty and fear surrounding COVID-19. However, in order to reduce the strain on our healthcare system, I ask that you follow public health authority guidelines to determine whether you should pursue medical attention for COVID-19.

You can complete an online self-assessment to see if you need to contact your public health unit:
Get Involved
Canada's Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID-19
If you are a Canadian manufacturer or business that can assist Canada in meeting the need for medical supplies , your help is needed. Our government has introduced new measures  to directly support 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 include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, such as personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology.

If you think your business can help, please visit:
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Here in Don Valley West, we have one of Canada's best hospitals and research institutions. Sunnybrook Hospital is at the forefront of medical research and patient care. You may have heard that a team of researchers from Sunnybrook helped isolate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. Read all about it here !

The team at Sunnybrook is asking all of us for help. First, they need all Canadians to practice social distancing and good hygiene .

Sunnybrook is also in need of personal and large scale donations of PPE. They are accepting equipment such as:
  • N95 masks (unopened boxes)
  • Other masks (duck-billed, face shield, surgical masks)
  • Gloves
  • Surgical gowns
  • Protective medical goggles
  • Equipment (e.g. ventilators)

For information on where to donate these supplies, please visit .
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