Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured March 20, 2020, had announced a coronavirus aid package of Can$82 billion (US$57 billion)
Ottawa (AFP) - Ottawa will recall parliament, suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, to vote on emergency economic aid measures, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday.
Trudeau last week announced a Can$82 billion (US$57 billion) aid package, which included Can$27 billion in direct aid to help workers and businesses cope with the economic impact of the new coronavirus.
Additionally, he said tax payments worth an estimated Can$55 billion would be deferred until August.
The spread of the virus has slowly accelerated over the past few days in Canada, which had recorded nearly 1,400 cases and 19 deaths as of Sunday.
During a press briefing, Trudeau announced that the federal parliament would be recalled Tuesday around midday to vote on the emergency measures.
“These are only a very first step,” Trudeau told reporters outside his house, where he and his family are self-isolating after his wife Sophie was diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness.
“We’re looking now at what those next steps are to ensure that our economy is able to pick up again once we’re through this.”
“It is likely to take months before we’re fully through this,” he added.
When asked if the government intended to impose mandatory quarantine measures, Trudeau said the move had not been ruled out.
Such a decision under the rarely used Emergency Measures Act, which restricts civil liberties, should be made only “when we’ve exhausted all other steps,” he said.