Trudeau, G20 leaders confer on international response to COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is speaking with other leaders of the world’s biggest economies today about the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for a co-ordinated approach to flatten the global curve of the coronavirus.

In a video conference with G20 leaders, Trudeau will take part in talks about “tangible actions” to protect jobs and the global economy, according to a government official.

He’s also expected to highlight the $107-billion package of measures the federal government is providing to help Canadians and businesses weather the crisis during his daily briefing outside his residence at Rideau Cottage.

CBC News will have special coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET. You can watch it here.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos and Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough will also hold a news conference scheduled for noon ET.

Legislation enacting $52 billion worth of financial aid and another $55 billion in tax deferrals was approved by Parliament Wednesday.

The government plans to open applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide $2,000 per month for up to four months for anyone left without income due to the pandemic, in early April. Payments are expected to flow about 10 days later.

Other measures, like a temporary boost to the Canada Child Benefit, are expected to take until May to reach Canadians’ pockets.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to help stranded Canadians get home continue.

According to Global Affairs Canada (GAC), there are now more than 419,400 Canadians registered who are abroad. Registering is voluntary, so the figure doesn’t give a total snapshot of those actually outside the country.

GAC’s emergency call centre responded to 3,226 calls and 5,355 emails from Canadians on Tuesday alone.

There has been a two-stage departure of non-essential Canadian staff and their family members from missions abroad. GAC is also requiring some diplomatic staff and their families to return to Canada based on risk assessments.

Diplomatic missions and consulates abroad are taking measures to stop the spread of the virus and protect the safety of staff and visitors, GAC said in a news release.


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