Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations that see a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the government’s 75 per cent wage subsidy program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.
The number of employees will not be a factor in eligibility for the subsidy, Trudeau said at his daily media briefing outside his Rideau Cottage residence.
That reassurance came after Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, urged Canadians over the weekend to “stay strong” and not let up on measures like physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, saying it will be a critical week in the fight against COVID-19’s spread.
In eastern Ontario, meanwhile, nine residents of a long-term care facility have died of COVID-19 complications since early last week, and the facility’s medical director said Monday they are all believed to be linked to the virus.
Nearly three dozen staff members at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
Across Canada, a domestic travel ban for those showing symptoms went into effect at noon ET Monday.
Abroad, the federal government says it has arranged for Canadians to fly home from several countries, including Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. It has also arranged flights for Canadians in Sudan, Ghana and Cameroon, who will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday to catch an overnight flight to Toronto.
Global Affairs Canada says more Canadians will come home from Spain, Ecuador, Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Hungary and Senegal in the coming days.
At sea, a cruise ship carrying nearly 250 Canadians is on the move after being stranded off the coast of Panama.
The MS Zaandam has passed through the Panama Canal after being anchored on its west side with four dead and nearly 200 passengers and crew showing flu-like symptoms. Holland America says several people onboard have tested positive for the coronavirus. It has been joined, and is being assisted, by its sister ship the Rotterdam.
Meanwhile, Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 15,000 unionized workers beginning this week. The company says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers.
In Ontario, the government on Monday evening extended the state of emergency by two weeks, maintaining the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. It also added an order to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately.
British Columbia’s health officer says the province is at a critical period in the pandemic. “We are not through the storm yet,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
Henry says the next two weeks mark a second incubation period for the disease as is urging people to follow public health advice because the number of cases hasn’t peaked yet. She says there are also 13 long-term care homes or assisted-living facilities with outbreaks, all in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas.