Combating COVID-19: Canada’s Response

As Canada’s response to the COVID 19 global pandemic rapidly changes each day, it continues to have a significant impact on the daily lives of Canadians and citizens around the world. It is essential that we do our part to ensure that we stop the spread as soon as possible. We must employ preventative measures including avoiding large groups, practicing social distancing, washing our hands consistently, avoiding all non –essential travel, and where appropriate self-isolating for 14 days.

In these challenging times we must also think beyond just physical health and recognize the other ways that people in our community are feeling strained. While a great number of people have lost their jobs and worry about putting food on their table, others on the front lines in hospitals, grocery stores and emergency services are being asked to do more at greater personal risk. The bright spots are the many stories of our community coming together to check in on our neighbors, picking up groceries for our elderly and those most vulnerable, being respectful and only buying what we need and thanking and supporting those on the front lines to let them know they are appreciated.

As your Member of Parliament and Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs, my office will be closed for in-person visits, but we are pleased to provide assistance by phone at 905-773-8358 or by email at Leona.Alleslev@parl.gc.ca.

Health Information

The health and safety of all Canadians must and continues to be of the upmost importance. Every day there are new developments announced by all levels of government regarding the resources available to Canadians and the actions we all must take to keep safe. For additional information regarding general updates on COVID 19, I encourage you to visit my website at: LeonaAlleslevmp.ca or Canada.ca/coronavirus

Financial Information

The measures that Canada is taking to stop the spread of COVID 19 are also having a dramatic effect on our economy. The government has announced an $82 billion dollar stimulus plan with a number of financial measures for individuals, including waiving the waiting period to claim Employment Insurance (EI), introducing an Emergency Support Benefit for those not covered by EI and an Emergency Care Benefit for those caring for someone who is sick or someone who is unable to work because they are quarantined, and increasing the Canada Child Benefit. For businesses, the federal government has introduced measures such as increased access to credit, and subsidizing wages so that employers can keep employees longer. Additionally, income tax filing has been postponed to June 1, 2020. For the full list visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Travel & Canadians Stranded Abroad

Canada has closed its borders and only Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents with some exceptions will be allowed into Canada. Almost 3 million Canadians are travelling out of the country at any given time and as a result when countries started to close their borders and suspend international flights to stop the spread of COVID 19 many Canadians were stranded. As Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs I am in regular contact with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to understand the changing nature of the situation and to advocate for support for Canadians abroad. It is important that every Canadian abroad register with Global Affairs Canada at: travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration.

Global Affairs Canada has recently announced that they will be working to make commercial flights available for as many Canadians as possible. The first flight was from Morocco this past weekend and more flights from Spain, Peru and other locations will be coming in the near future. Canadians abroad are also being advised to prepare to stay in place as it may not be possible to arrange flights for all Canadians. The Government of Canada is providing a $5,000 loan to support Canadians abroad, for more information visit: https://www.international.gc.ca/covid-19-loan-pret/form-formulaire.aspx?lang=eng or email: CAN.finances.CV19@international.gc.ca. For more information contact Global Affairs Canada directly at 613-996-8885 or by email at sos@international.gc.ca.
From our family to yours we wish you good health during these difficult times. A sincere thanks to all those on the front lines and to each of you who are doing what you can to support others and to stop the spread of COVID 19. Finally, to those of you in need, never hesitate to reach out – we are here for each other and together we will endure and be stronger for it.

Originally Published in The Auroran Newspaper