Trudeau: More ‘stringent measures’ will come if Canadians ignore COVID-19 guidelines

Parliament to debate emergency spending and government powers in COVID-19 fight

Canadians could see harsher measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country if they do not follow the guidelines already in place.

That was the message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday morning (March 24), as he gave his now-daily update from the steps of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

“The duration of this crisis will be determined by the decisions we make right now. If you want things to go back to normal, do your part. Stay home,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau unveiled an unprecedented $82-billion financial aid package last week, which involved waiving the one-week waiting period for EI and creating a similar benefit for people who did not qualify for EI but were negatively affected by COVID-19.

Nearly 1,000,000 people have applied for EI in recent weeks as result of the coronavirus pandemic and some have reported struggles to get in touch with government representatives.

Trudeau said he understood that people were worried about getting money “directly and quickly,” but did not directly respond to a question about why cheques were not being sent to all tax filers to expedite that, as has been discussed in the U.S.

He said the measures before Parliament are meant to address issues with timeliness of the just-announced aid.

Conservatives have said they would support the emergency aid measure, but not a Liberal “power grab,” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said.

Trudeau said the federal Emergencies Act, which would give sweeping new powers to his government, wasn’t necessary yet. He said premiers, with whom he spoke on Monday, said they didn’t believe there was a need for it at this point. However, he said it was not off the table amid the quickly changing situation.

As of Tuesday, there are more than 2,100 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 25 deaths. Thirteen of those deaths are in B.C.

Chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said nearly 120,000 people have been tested.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said when the virus first came to Canada, 80 to 90 per cent of cases were linked to travel abroad. But in the last week, nearly 90 per cent of cases reported to the public health agency came from spread of the virus within the community.

Tam says this is a “fundamental shift.”

If Canada is going to get a handle on community spread, then social distancing and maintaining a two-metre barrier between people is essential, she said.

“Our primary strategy is to ensure that people are self-isolating when they should be and that everyone is respecting social distancing. That, in and of itself, will cut down on the change of transmission…” Tam said Tuesday.

“I can’t emphasize how important that is.”

READ MORE: Trudeau announces new flights to Peru, Americas to repatriate stranded Canadians

READ MORE: Parliament to debate emergency spending and government powers in COVID-19 fight

READ MORE: B.C. reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths but 100 people have recovered, Henry says

– With files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley RCMP warn of illegal u-turns

Construction at the Kimberley Save On Foods Store means customers are putting… Continue reading

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

Nelson product commits to Cranbrook Bucks

Noah Quinn will make the jump to Jr. A next year with the BCHL’s newest franchise

MP Morrison ‘disappointed’ in six-week delay for wage subsidy support

Kootenay-Columbia MP says small businesses and employees need financial help now

Kimberley Chamber trying to assist businesses

By: Jesse Heinrichs Vagueness around relief options, and unforeseeable closures have local… Continue reading

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read