At a May 19 press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada/U.S. border will remain closed until June 21–a move he says will protect both Canadians and Americans amid the COVID-19 crisis.
When asked how much longer the border will be closed, Trudeau did not offer a firm date and said that such decisions are being made week by week as the situation continues to evolve.
The prime minister also said that more businesses will be eligible for loans through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)–a $25 billion program that provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits. The loans are meant to help businesses cover their operating costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trudeau said the program is now available to anyone who is the sole owner-operator of a business; anyone who owns a business that relies on contractors (such as a hair salon that rents chairs to stylists); or anyone who owns a family-owned business that pays employees through dividends.
Trudeau also urged employers to take advantage of the wage subsidy program, which will be extended into the summer.
“To employers looking to start up again: please, rehire your workers. Use the wage subsidy for their paycheque. That’s what it’s there for,” Trudeau said.
On the subject of medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), Trudeau said Canada has doubled its inventory of surgical masks and face shields. He also said that this week, hundreds of thousands of gowns, swabs and face shields will be delivered to provinces and territories.
The prime minister also said that Canada is getting ventilators from the US and is increasing its domestic production capacity.