In his morning address on Friday, Canada’s Prime Minister announced that the federal government will increase its wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses to 75% – up from last week’s initial 10%.

The measure will also be backdated to March 15th, and was made to potentially avoid layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stated this morning that, “small and medium businesses are the backbone of the community.”

Trudeau also announced the Canada Emergency Business Account – which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to businesses – and will be interest-free for the first year. Businesses that qualify can also have $10,000 of the loan “forgiven” according to the Prime Minister.

On top of this, he has stated there will be $12.5 billion available through Export Development Canada and the Businesses Development Bank of Canada to help with cashflow.

Additionally, Trudeau has said the government will defer HST and GST payments and custom duty payments until June.

“With these new measures, out hope is that employers being pushed to laying off people due to COVID-19 will think again,” Trudeau said.

“And for those of you who have already had to lay off workers, we hope you will re-hire them.”

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island


The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.

This includes a $2,000/month package for four months for all Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19, and $500/month assistance package for renters in B.C..

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., closure of all bars and restaurants, and a moratorium on evictions among other steps to enforce social distancing measures.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 566,064.

Over 25,422 people have died from the illness and 129,353 have made a full recovery.

👋 Subscribe to the Victoria Buzz newsletter to receive the latest news, events and more directly to your inbox. Every weekday.