UPDATE: Emergency Legislation Given Royal Assent
Emergency legislation has been given Royal Assent.
The emergency federal bill to inject billions of dollars of aid into the Canadian economy for workers, families and businesses hit hard by COVID-19 passed the Senate Wednesay afternoon and then went on to the Governor General.
The bill includes a major change to government programs to support people who can't work because of COVID-19, offering $2,000 a month in direct support through the Canada Revenue Agency.
The change will increase the cost of the aid package from $27-billion in direct support to $52-billion. Another $55-billion is on the table in deferred tax payments for business and individuals.
The bill also injects cash to help Canadians with employment benefits, student loan deferrals, funds for the health care system, homeless and women's shelters, and Indigenous communities.
Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said more than 2,000 CRA workers are being redeployed to help get the employment benefits flowing for people who can't work for almost any reason related to COVID-19, including staying home to look after others, the need to quarantine or self-isolate, or also because their employer has closed or reduced business and can't offer them as many or any shifts.
A $300 top-up for each child under the Canada Child Benefit and an increase in GST rebates can't go out until May, Morneau said.
The bill only needed one party's support to pass the House of Commons but it needed the support of every MP present to be put through on the one-day schedule the Liberals wanted.
— With files from The Canadian Press