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

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP donating raise to support food banks, women’s shelters

Mel Arnold said pay increase legislation didn’t account for a crisis like COVID-19

COVID-19: Non-profit 3D printing face shields for local hospital

‘The response has been completely overwhelming’

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Outbreak of COVID-19 at Okanagan agricultural business, 14 cases confirmed

75 workers at West Kelowna business are in isolation – 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers

Community drums up support for North Okanagan hospital workers

Even health care workers and fellow first responders turned out to show love

South Okanagan first responders salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

‘April Fools’ social media prank leads to criminal investigation in Osoyoos

Post claims individuals will be canvassing door to door seeking housing for seasonal workers

Stay inside vehicles on Interior ferry crossings to prevent spread of COVID-19: B.C. government

Glade, Kootenay and Arrow Lakes some of the ferry crossings in Interior

Most Read