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March 26, 2020 – New measures by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

In the exceptional circumstances of the current health emergency, here is an update on recent decisions by federal and provincial public authorities in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced that in addition to the $2,000 that will be provided to those who are eligible (newly unemployed, self-employed, entrepreneurs, students, caregivers, etc.), the family allowance will be increased and a six-month interest-free moratorium will be placed on the repayment of student loans. In addition, those eligible for the GST (federal goods and services tax) credit will receive a special payment in this regard.

The Canadian government will do everything possible to get the Web portal for these emergency assistance applications up and running as soon as possible. This financial assistance will be available starting April 6. It will take ten days after completing your application to receive the funds.

Like yesterday, the Premier of Québec, François Legault, reminded the public that “[translation] we are fighting the greatest battle of our collective lives. You have to follow the battle plan if you want to win. I am counting on you to follow the instructions (hand washing, social distancing, essential outings, staying home).”

The number of infections among the public is increasing, as are deaths. Québec is one of the places where the most tests have been carried out, proportionally speaking. Montréal has become the most highly affected region, but the coronavirus is now everywhere in Québec.

Mandatory quarantine

The federal government is now imposing a mandatory quarantine on all Canadians returning from abroad. Violators face fines and imprisonment.

“It’s not hard to do what we’re asking you to do. Just stay home. In order to come through this, we must all look after each other and we must all do our share,” Prime Minister Trudeau said.

For those who do not comply with the obligation to self-isolate at home for 14 days upon their return, “this kind of conduct is not just disappointing, it’s dangerous.” They should not go to the grocery store and visit friends before self-isolating.

Volunteers needed

The government is calling on the solidarity of Quebecers in these exceptional times. All those who do not have symptoms, who do not have young children, who are under 70 and who are not working are invited to volunteer, while following the preventive measures to prevent the spread.

[translation] We need volunteers to maintain the social safety net in Québec,” said the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet.

There is an immense need for food banks as well as mental health aid organizations, or those who work with the disabled, the elderly and the homeless.

A web portal, jebenevole.ca, is now available for organizations that lack volunteers to register and for those who want and can volunteer to provide their names.

“Don’t be embarrassed”

The Québec government is also putting in place measures to provide all the funds needed for food banks and help families and those in need while awaiting the federal financial assistance.

[translation] It is unacceptable in Québec that a person should not have the money to pay for food for their family. It is out of the question that someone in Québec should not have something to eat. That’s very clear. Don’t be embarrassed to go to a food bank. It’s not your fault that you lost your job!” Premier Legault insisted.

Protecting healthcare workers

The public health department reminds the public that it is taking all the precautions to protect healthcare workers. There are enough masks, but they are now being distributed according to treatment intervention protocols and no longer freely available, as they were before.

 Fraudulent text

Justin Trudeau is warning Canadians about a text message fraud attempt regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The safest and most reliable way to find out about Government of Canada programs is to visit the Government of Canada Web portal at www.canada.ca.

College and university courses

All college and university students should be able to complete their current term, despite the closure of educational institutions.

Online courses must be made available to all these students as of Monday, if it is not already the case.

No waivers

No waivers will be offered for electricity bills. Hydro-Québec is asking those who do not foresee being able to pay their bill to contact them to agree on an arrangement.