82 billion aid package

Here's what Canadians will get in the just approved $107 billion aid package

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's $107 billion COVID-19 economic aid package has officially been approved by the House of Commons and the Senate.

In Canada's most tense-ever sleepover, 32 Members of Parliament spent almost 18 hours in overnight, closed-door discussions before emerging just before 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

After revision, the package received unanimous consent in the House of Commons before being swiftly passed by the Senate. It now awaits Royal Assent.

Today's decision approves the $107 billion economic aid package that Trudeau outlined on March 18, including extensive EI benefits, delayed student loans and delayed tax payments.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will also be put into action, making funds available to Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, self-employed or contracted and ineligible for EI, or working parents who must stay home to care for children.

Simply put, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that any Canadian that is currently not being paid due to COVID-19 — but made $5,000 or more in the last 12 months — will be eligible for CERB.

The benefit will provide workers with $2,000 a month for the next four months.

The government plans to have the economic aid in place by April 6.

Trudeau said the goal is for Canadians to receive money within 10 days of an application, which is an impressive timeline considering that the government is already swamped with a record number of EI applications.

Initially, the package also gave the Liberals unprecedented powers to spend, borrow and change taxation levels without Parliament's approval for the next 21 months.

However, the Conservatives quickly quashed the idea, with Leader Andrew Scheer calling the move an "undemocratic power grab."

Still, today's decision will give the Liberals some temporary, far-reaching powers, including the ability to spend any amount of money that is "required to do anything in relation" to the COVID-19 pandemic until September 30.

The Minister of Health can also temporarily suspend patents, so that private companies can make and sell products.

For example, auto parts companies will now be able to produce masks, ventilators, and other necessary medical equipment even if the design is considered to be another company's intellectual property.

On the newly approved $107 billion economic aid package, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said, "Today’s announcement isn't perfect, but it will help so many people."

"We need to work to get it to people as quickly as possible."

Lead photo by

Dennis Jarvis

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