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March 22, 2021 – Canadian and Québec government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the federal and provincial governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be prudent for another month

Québec Premier François Legault understands that citizens are running out of patience with not being able to gather, particularly with the beautiful weather, but reminded them “to be prudent for another month.”

Mr. Legault called on Quebecers to persevere in the context of a third wave of contagion sweeping many parts of the world right now, including Ontario, France, New York and New Jersey.

We’ve reached a plateau in terms of the number of new cases, they’re no longer falling. We must be very, very prudent. Visiting each other’s homes, we’re not there yet. We still have a few weeks to go, at least one more month of being careful,” said Mr. Legault.

1 million people vaccinated in Québec

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commended the pace of vaccinations across the country, in particular in Québec where 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have already been administered, affording protection to 11% of the population.

Mr. Trudeau stated that across the country, 4.7 million doses have been administered and that the greater the number of people vaccinated, the greater the possibility of putting the pandemic behind us.

National standards for CHSLDs

Together at a press conference to announce a joint investment of $826 million to connect homes to high-speed Internet in the regions, Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Legault confirmed that they have diverging visions of the steps that need to be taken to improve the situation in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs).

Mr. Trudeau repeated that his government wants to impose national standards in order to guarantee quality of care and accommodation for Canada’s seniors.

Mr. Legault stated for his part that health is a provincial jurisdiction and that the federal government should increase its contribution, which has dropped from 50% to 22% over the years.

Extension until June of the Canada Emergency Business Account

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the deadline to apply for a Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan has been extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021, in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

This extension applies to all new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000 and to new applications from businesses that have already received a $40,000 loan and plan to apply for the supplementary amount of $20,000.

This extension harmonizes the CEBA with the deadlines of other federal government support programs for businesses.