Parliament reconvenes Tuesday to approve emergency aid measures

Members of Parliament will be called back to the House of Commons on Tuesday to adopt emergency measures announced earlier this week by the federal government, Radio-Canada has learned.

About 30 MPs will be present in the Chamber to respect social distancing rules

MPs will return next Tuesday to approve billions in emergency financial aid for Canadians and businesses, after Parliament suspended earlier this month over coronavirus concerns. (Adrian Wyld /The Canadian Press)

Members of Parliament will be called back to the House of Commons on Tuesday to adopt emergency measures announced earlier this week by the federal government, Radio-Canada has learned.

Parliament will reconvene briefly next week to approve the funding, which is intended to offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measures focus on improving access to employment insurance and increasing the Canada Child Benefit.

The proposed aid package includes:

  • A temporary boost to Canada Child Benefit payments, delivering about $2 billion in extra support.
  • A new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly, up to 15 weeks, to provide income support to workers, including the self-employed, who have to stay home and don't qualify for paid sick leave or employment insurance. The measure could disburse up to $10 billion.
  • A new Emergency Support Benefit to provide up to $5 billion in support to workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.  
  • A six-month, interest-free reprieve on student loan payments.
  • Doubling the homeless care program. 
  • Extending the tax filing deadline to June 1.
  • Allowing taxpayers to defer until after Aug. 31 tax payments that are due after today and before September.
  • $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities.

It is believed MPs across party lines will move quickly to adopt the measures.

The Senate will be called back Wednesday to pass the bill. Royal Assent is expected the same day.

To respect social distancing guidelines, a limited number of MPs will be present in the chamber. 

Just over 30 MPs are expected to sit, including 14-15 Liberals, 11 Conservatives, three members of the Bloc Quebecois, three New Democrats and one member of the Green Party.

There will be no formal question period, but the opposition parties will have time for a right of reply and will be able to direct questions about the measures to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

With files from Radio-Canada's Christian Noël and Philippe-Vincent Foisy


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