Committee of the whole sitting of the House of Commons COVID-19: Government Response

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Bill C-13, An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 (COVID19 Emergency Response Act)

In this section
  1. Part 1 – Finance Tax
  2. Part 2 – Finance Tax
  3. Part 3 – ESDC
  4. Part 4 – Finance FPRSP
  5. Part 5 – Finance FSP
  6. Part 6 – Finance FSP
  7. Part 7 – Finance ITF
  8. Part 8 – Finance FPRSP
  9. Part 9 – Finance FSP
  10. Part 10 – Health Canada
  11. Part 11 – ESDC
  12. Part 12 – Finance FSP
  13. Part 13 – Finance EDCF
  14. Part 14 – ESDC
  15. Part 15 – Finance EDCF
  16. Part 16 – ESDC
  17. Part 17 – Finance EDCF
  18. Part 18 – ESDC
  19. Part 19 – TBS
  20. Part 20 – ESDC

Part 1 – Finance Tax

Income Tax Act and Income Tax Regulations

  • Goods and Services Tax Credit
  • Additional Canada Child Benefit
  • Minimal withdrawals from registered retirement income funds (RRIF)
  • Temporary Wage Subsidy

Part 2 – Finance Tax

Regulation-Making Authority in Respect of Tax

  • Providing the Governor in Council with a Temporary Authority to Amend Tax Statutes by Regulation

Part 3 – ESDC

Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act

  • COVID-19 Canada Emergency Response Benefit

Part 4 – Finance FPRSP

Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act

  • Public Health Event of National Concern

Part 5 – Finance FSP

Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act

  • Providing the Minister of Finance with Flexibility to Increase the Statutory Deposit Insurance Coverage Limit

Part 6 – Finance FSP

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act

  • Payments to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Part 7 – Finance ITF

Export Development Act

  • Providing the Minister of Finance with Flexibility to Set Export Development Canada’s Capital Limit and Contingent Liability Limit
  • Providing the Minister of Finance with Flexibility to Set the Statutory Limit on Canada Account
  • Increasing Export Development Canada’s Ability to Engage in Domestic Financial Transactions

Part 8 – Finance FPRSP

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act

  • Payments to Provinces and Territories

Part 9 – Finance FSP

Financial Administration Act

  • Providing the Minister of Finance with Flexibility to Exercise Certain powers

Part 10 – Health Canada

Food and Drugs Act

  • Preventing Drug Shortages

Part 11 – ESDC

Canada Labour Code

  • Entitlement to Leave from Employment
  • Removal of Requirement for Medical Certificates

Part 12 – Finance FSP

National Housing Act

  • Increasing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s insurance-in-force and securities-in-force limits

Part 13 – Finance EDCF

Patent Act

  • Preventing Shortages of Patented Drugs or Medical Devices

Part 14 – ESDC

Canada Student Loans Act

  • Suspension of Interest and Payments

Part 15 – Finance EDCF

Farm Credit Canada Act

  • Payments to Farm Credit Canada

Part 16 – ESDC

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act

  • Suspension of Interest and Payments

Part 17 – Finance EDCF

Business Development of Canada Act

  • Providing the Minister of Finance with flexibility to set the paid-in-capital of the Business Development Bank of Canada

Part 18 – ESDC

Apprentice Loans Act

  • Suspension of Interest and Payments

Part 19 – TBS

An act to amend the Financial Administration Act (Special Warrant)

  • Change the Date for Special Warrants from June 24, 2020 to September 30, 2020

Part 20 – ESDC

Employment Insurance Act

Special Authority to Charge the Consolidated Revenue Fund for COVID-19 Response Measures


The government has introduced An Act to authorize the making of payments in relation to a public health event of national concern (or, the Public Health Event of National Concern Payments Act).

Key facts

  • This legislation allows the government to make urgently needed expenditures in relation to a public health event of national concern, such as the current COVID-19 crisis.
  • With the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, any Minister will be able to make statutory payments to undertake any COVID-19 response measures that fall within their legal mandate.


  • With the legislative package being considered today, the Government is introducing the Public Health Event of National Concern Payments Act.
  • This legislation will allow the government to make urgently needed expenditures to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis and other similar public health events, should they arise in the future.
  • Putting public funds to work and quickly delivering the help that Canadians urgently need - these are of paramount importance to the Government. This legislation will help us to achieve these goals.
  • I will work closely with my Cabinet colleagues, particularly the Minister of Finance, to ensure due diligence in the use of this authority.


The current COVID-19 crisis fits the Act’s definition of a public health event of national concern. It is an extraordinary event that constitutes a public health threat to Canadians through the spread of an infectious disease. In order to prevent or to control this disease, the government must engage in a significant and coordinated national or international response.

The sudden and intense onset of the COVID-19 crisis late in a fiscal year highlighted the Government’s need to have a spending mechanism with much more flexibility than what is available in the standard Estimates process and the Parliamentary business of supply.

Officials of the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board Secretariat are setting out a coordinated process, which will allow Ministers to quickly access funds to extend their programs and services in ways that will address the most pressing needs.

This cooperation of Finance and the Treasury Board will also allow us to track the use of this authority and, when the crisis has passed, report to Parliament and to Canadians.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan


The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Key facts

  • On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period.
  • These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.


  • This wide-ranging support will help ensure Canadians can pay for rent and groceries, and help businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this time of uncertainty.
  • These measures will also help Indigenous communities across the country, support young people in the repayment of their student loans, and protect people experiencing homelessness or fleeing intimate partner violence.
  • The quick passage of this legislation is important to ensure Canadians have the financial support needed during this crisis.
  • Canadians should not make health decisions based on their financial needs. As the situation continues to evolve, further measures will be announced to support Canadians, stimulate the economy, and protect peoples’ jobs and livelihoods.


On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Economic response plan – Cost and implementation
Measure 2020-2021 Cost/Impact Implementation
Emergency Care Benefit Up to $10 billion Early April
*requires Royal Assent
Emergency Support Benefit Up to $5 billion Early April
*requires Royal Assent
GST Credit $5.5 billion By Early May
*requires Royal Assent
Enhanced Canada Child Benefit $1.9 billion May
* requires Royal Assent
Temporary Business Wage Subsidy $3.8 billion Immediately
Supporting legislation to follow
Canada Student Loan Payments $190 million Early April
* requires Royal Assent
Support for Indigenous Communities $305 million April
*requires Royal Assent
Support for people experiencing homelessness (through Reaching Home) $157.5 million April
*requires Royal Assent
Support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres including on reserve $50 million April
*requires Royal Assent
Lower Registered Retirement Income Fund Minimum Withdrawal Amounts $495 million Immediately
Supporting legislation to follow
Total $27.4 billion N/A
Other supports
Flexibility for individual and corporate taxpayers (tax payment deferral until September) $55 billion Immediately
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) through BDC and EDC $10 billion + Immediately
Credit and liquidity support through financial Crown corporations, Bank of Canada, OSFI, CMHC and commercial lenders (e.g., Domestic Stability Buffer, Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, Banker’s Acceptance Purchase Facility) In the range of $500 billion Immediately

Supply Chains/Transportation and COVID-19


What is the Government of Canada doing to leverage private sector resources to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic?


  • The Government of Canada is mobilizing Canadian businesses and manufacturers to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Canadians.
  • We are supporting businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
  • These products include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, testing materials, and disease tracking technology.
  • The Government remains focused on domestic capacity building, innovative solutions, and procurement of essential supplies.

If pressed on what else the government is doing to secure emergency materials:

  • The Government of Canada is fully leveraging all existing supply arrangements and is assessing thousands of proposals that have been submitted by industry.
  • From a procurement perspective, we are leaving no stone unturned.
  • We have also reached out to universities and colleges to identify stocks of personal protective equipment from their laboratories that might be available for procurement by the Government.
  • This could include items that are essential to our healthcare providers such as gloves, masks and surgical gowns, sanitizers, wipes, ventilators, and other medical equipment and supplies.

If pressed on progress the government has made over the past few days:

  • We’re continuously working to expedite private sector partnerships and prioritizing work that can move quickly.
  • We are engaging with:
    • Thornhill Medical for high-quality ventilators;
    • Medicom for medical equipment such as masks and gowns; and
    • Spartan for innovative COVID-19 testing equipment.
  • We are also pleased to see automotive parts manufacturers partnering with medical device companies to manufacture medical parts; other manufacturers shifting production to make containers for sanitizers; and still other manufacturers reviewing the specifications for ventilators in anticipation of ramping up production.
  • We are pleased to see industry associations and companies across Canada, including those in construction and manufacturing, offering to send supplies such as masks and face shields to the Public Health Agency of Canada. These offers of support are being welcomed.

Canada’s regional development agencies (RDA) are aware of the impacts of COVID-19 on your business. We understand that, in these exceptional circumstances, we need to adapt our support to fit your reality.

We are taking action.

The RDAs can help their clients by:

  • Deferring scheduled payments until July 1, 2020
  • Confirming eligibility for additional funding and/or flexible arrangements
  • Providing information about federal programs and services

Here is how you can get in touch with us:

Contact your RDA by email:

Contact your RDA by phone:

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

  • 1-800-561-7862

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)

  • 1-888-338-WEST (9378)


  • 1-877-333-6673

Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

  • 1-855-897-2667


  • 1-866-593-5505

Canadian Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

  • 1-800-561-0633

Key messages

March 23, 2020

RDA actions - COVID-19 impacts on clients

General lines:
  • Canada’s six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are closely monitoring the COVID-19 global challenge and the impacts it is having on businesses and respective regional economies.
  • The six RDAs understand that in these exceptional circumstances, they need to adapt their support to fit the current business realities.
  • RDAs are very familiar with their regions’ economic realities and are often the first point of contact federally for people at the local level.
  • All of Canada’s RDAs are taking action by:
    • Deferring scheduled payments until July 1, 2020;
    • Confirming eligibility for additional funding or flexible funding arrangements; and
    • Providing up-to-the-minute information through calls and e-mails on available federal programs and services.
  • Businesses in receipt of RDA funding that are impacted by sudden shifts in the economy are strongly encouraged to get in touch with RDA officials.
  • Business officials should speak with their RDA advisor, project officer or account manager, or they can call or e-mail their local office:
  • RDAs can explore flexible arrangements on a case-by-case basis for businesses trying to meet payment obligations to their respective RDA.
RDA payment deferrals
  • Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are adjusting certain criteria for their regular programs in response to the exceptional circumstances that businesses are facing.
  • On March 14, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that all RDAs will apply a deferral of three months on all payments due to the government, as of April 1, 2020.
  • This moratorium will defer payments and related interest charges to relieve some of the pressure businesses may be facing.
  • Your RDA advisor, project officer or account managers will work with businesses to formalize these deferrals into an amended repayment schedule to give businesses more certainty with respect to their payment obligations.
Investing in innovative solutions
  • On March 23, 2020, the Government of Canada announced support to quickly mobilize Canadian researchers working on countermeasures to combat COVID-19, including potential vaccines and treatments.
  • This $275 million for coronavirus research and medical countermeasures is part of the Government of Canada’s more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund.
  • The funding will be used to advance projects that are already underway by university, public-and private-sector researchers and others to respond to COVID-19.
Western Canada investments
  • In Western Canada, two world-class organizations will step up COVID-19 vaccine research with help from the Government of Canada.
  • A total of $23 million in funding is being provided for the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), one of the largest and most advanced infectious disease research facilities in the world.
  • With $11 million in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, VIDO-InterVac will be able to strengthen its existing expertise in coronavirus research and to help develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
  • An additional $12 million is being provided from Western Economic Diversification’s Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program which will help VIDO-InterVac expand its bio-manufacturing capacity to support clinical trials.
  • Additionally, Vancouver-based AbCellera has built the world’s leading technology for antibody discovery. Clinical trials of an antibody-based drug to treat and prevent COVID-19 could begin as early as July 2020.
  • AbCellera will access funding under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream designed to support Canada’s researchers do critical work to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and people around the world during this pandemic.
Other investments
  • In southern Ontario, BlueDot, a Toronto-based digital health firm with a first-of-its-kind global early warning technology for infectious diseases, will also be supported with this Government of Canada funding.
  • BlueDot was one of the first in the world to identify the spread of COVID-19. The Government of Canada, through the Public Health Agency of Canada, will use its disease analytics platform to support modelling and monitoring of the spread of COVID 19, and to inform government decision-making as the situation evolves.
  • In Québec, Medicago, a Quebec City-based company with 20 years of experience in plant-based vaccines and therapeutics, has identified a viable plant-based vaccine candidate currently at the pre-clinical testing phase.
  • Government of Canada funding will enable Medicago to rapidly move forward on clinical trials and then quickly shift to scaling up production for pandemic response.
Overarching Economic Assistance
  • On March 18, 2020 the Prime Minister also announced a series of measures to assist workers.
  • For example:
    • Waiving, for a minimum of six months, the waiting period for employment insurance (EI) for workers in imposed quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate, as announced on March 11.
    • Providing up to $5 billion through the Emergency Support Benefit for workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment.
    • Helping Canadians to keep their jobs through a 10 percent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
  • The Prime Minister also announced measures to help businesses:
    • More than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.
    • An increase in credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada.
    • Launch of the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
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