Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sits beside Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Chrystia Freeland before speaking to members of caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, January 23, 2020.Trudeau has created a new cabinet committee to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak which began in China but now has spread around the world. Freeland will chair the group, while Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos will be vice-chair. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

VIDEO: Ottawa considering funds to help people, business as COVID-19 spreads

The risk of community transmission of the virus is still considered low in Canada

The government is mulling potential financial help to ease the burden of the novel coronavirus on businesses and individuals after its first cabinet committee meeting on the subject, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday.

“We are very mindful that an economic impact is certainly being felt in the global economy and is beginning to be felt in Canada, and that’s one of the things we need to turn our attention to,” Freeland, the committee chair, told reporters in Ottawa.

“So I would just say about that, watch this space.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the newly formed committee Wednesday morning, and it met for the first time later that afternoon.

The cabinet committee for COVID-19, which is the respiratory disease linked to the strain of novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, will complement the work being done by the government’s incident response group.

The cabinet committee will continue to monitor the health impacts of the virus to make sure the government response takes all possible measures to prevent and limit the spread in Canada, Trudeau said in a written release Wednesday.

Trudeau also told reporters the committee will be keeping an eye on the economic impacts of the virus.

“We need to make sure that people make the right decisions. That’s why we put forward a committee that will be responsible for ensuring that Canadians have the right frame to make the good decisions for their families, for their communities,” Trudeau said in St-Jerome, Que.

“We need to keep alert, but we need to keep moving forward in a way that keeps Canadians safe and keeps our economy rolling.”

The risk of community transmission of the virus is still considered low in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Trudeau said the government has been watching the global impact of the virus on the economy closely.

“We’re seeing that in terms of tourism there’s an impact, there’s an impact on investment, on the airline industry, on the auto industry as well. We’re seeing a slow down,” he said.

He pointed to supply-chain disruptions in China affecting Canadian businesses too.

“There will be an impact and we’re there to try to find solutions together with companies and communities.”

Freeland said there may also be micro-economic impacts on individuals who may have to say home because they are sick, or even be quarantined.

“We will be ready to act when it’s necessary,” she said.

“We are monitoring the outbreak and we remain ready to deploy fiscal measures as appropriate.”

The committee will include several other cabinet ministers and Kirsty Duncan, deputy government House leader.

Duncan is a medical geographer who studied pandemics before she entered politics — including writing a book on the 1918 Spanish flu.

Freeland emphasized that the entire country needs to be involved in the response to the virus.

Hajdu said employers can also play a large part by making it easier for people to work from home or stay away if they are unwell.

And everyone can do their part by washing their hands and staying away from others if they are sick, she said.

Canada now has 35 cases of the new coronavirus, most of them in Ontario.

But globally, the number of countries detecting new cases has been increasing every day. There are now at least 93, 090 confirmed cases in 76 countries, including more than 3,000 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusLiberals

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

Just Posted

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

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

ANKORS details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

AIDS Network, Outreach, and Support Society (ANKORS) of the East Kootenay have… 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