Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listed a series of spending initiatives aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in his morning address Saturday, May 9.
His Saturday press conference came after a week filled with new announcements of efforts that aim to help the government buffer the blow for Canadians, about two million of whom lost their jobs in April while a further million lost their jobs in March. The result of those job losses is a 13% unemployment rate.
Trudeau said that his government is concluding an agreement with the provinces and territories to increase the wages of essential workers. It is also providing more money to the agricultural sector.
The government has provided $5 billion in lending capacity to the agricultural sector and provided a total investment of $510 million to support food security, Trudeau said May 9.
"To come out of this stronger than ever, we also have to think long term," he said. "We need to lay the groundwork now so our economy can come roaring back. That’s what we’re doing with measures like the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy."
More than 500,000 businesses have so far received a loan through the government's CEBA program.
That $25 billion program provides interest-free loans up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit corporations, to help them cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.