New COVID-19 benefit promises fast relief during crisis

First flight bringing Canadians home departs Peru

Trudeau urges parliament to pass COVID-19 bill quickly

The Prime Minister says almost a million people applied for EI last week and the system wasn't created to handle such a heavy load.

The legislation includes the amendments needed to enact the promised emergent financial package of 82 billion Canadian dollars (about $56 billion), which contain 27 billion Canadian dollars in financial aid for Canadians and 55 billion Canadian dollars in economic stimulus and tax deferral measures for businesses.

Once the Senate passes it, it will need Royal Assent to get money moving to Canadians.

The Star is offering free digital access on select COVID-19 stories.

He repeated that those returning from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days and said that if people do not comply the government is prepared to put "much more stringent measures in place".

Freeland said "mandatory isolation" is needed to flatten the curve of the growth of the novel coronavirus in Canada.

"The hard truth is that people are out of work because of this crisis and anxious about what comes next".

We know people are anxious about their health, their jobs and their financial situations.

When the Liberals unveiled their response package, they proposed two benefits - one to flow through the employment insurance system and another for those who don't qualify for EI benefits, such as self-employed workers.

The Conservatives and the NDP said the lack of oversight by Parliament was unacceptable.

The government backed down on most of those issues allowing the bill to be debated and passed around 4 a.m.

The bill injects cash on a number of fronts to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis, including the employment benefits, student loan deferrals, and funds for the health care system, homeless and women's shelters, and Indigenous communities.

The tax measures introduced a year ago include allowing QCJOs to transform into tax-exempt non-profit organizations, which can raise tax-deductible donations from individuals; providing refundable tax credits on labour costs associated with producing original news; and providing a temporary, non-refundable tax credit for "qualifying subscribers of eligible digital news media".

"Canadians can rest assured that the government stands ready to take any and all necessary actions as we continue to confront these challenging times together", says Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance. A $300 top up for each child under the Canada Child Benefit and an increase in GST rebates can't go out until May, he said.

He said the government was negotiating "up until the last minute" to find a way to give it the flexibility it needs to get the money into Canadians' hands quickly while maintaining "our democratic institutions and the values that are so important to us all".

Morneau answered questions in the Senate, painting a grim picture of the state of the Canadian economy, the CBC's John Paul Tasker reported.

Canada imposes mandatory self-isolation for those returning
IPhone makers suspend India production due to lockdown