Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared visibly frustrated when he stepped out in front of the podium outside Rideau Cottage Friday morning.
“I don’t want to be here this morning, you don’t want me to be here this morning, but here we are again. The cases across the country are spiking massively,” he said, addressing the nation the morning after B.C. introduced sweeping restrictions to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
“If you were planning to see friends this weekend, maybe don’t. If there was a birthday party or a gathering for dinner you were thinking of doing, don’t do it,” said the PM.
Trudeau said he met with Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, along with federal ministers and leaders of the opposition to discuss the current situation, adding that all levels of government must work together to curb the spread of this virus.
As several provinces announced shut down measures harming businesses that were already suffering from the first lockdown, the Prime Minister noted that the best thing for the economy is to get the pandemic under control first.
To make sure supports are available for businesses, Trudeau said parliament passed a bill Thursday night to provide new rent subsidies for businesses that will go directly to tenants instead of through the landlord.
This subsidy will cover up to 65 per cent of rent for small businesses affected by COVID-19. Businesses facing a public health lockdown will also qualify for an additional 25 per cent rent subsidy through the new lockdown support.
These subsidies will be available alongside the existing Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.
This new law also means the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy has been extended until June 2021.
Applications for these new subsidies will be available starting Monday, November 23, and they will be retroactive until the beginning of October.
The additional measures were announced in light of dark predictions by Dr. Theresa Tam that indicate the possibility of 60,000 new COVID-19 cases per day across Canada in December if people increase their contacts during the holidays.
But even with the current rate of contacts, the country could be seeing 20,000 new cases per day by December.
Public health officials expect between 366,500 to 378,600 total cases, and between 11,870 to 12,120 deaths across the country by November 30.