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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has outlined Canada’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, by establishing a more than $1-billion COVID-19 Response Fund.

In addition to continuing work to ensure a coordinated response across the country, the Government of Canada is proposing new investments to respond in Canada and around the world. Among these is support for workers in quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate. The new measure waives the mandatory one-week waiting period for those claiming Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. Additional measures are also being explored, including income support for those who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.

Measures also include enhancements to the Work-Sharing program to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19. These enhancements will double the length of time employers and workers are eligible to use work-share from 38 to 76 weeks and streamline processes so help can be accessed as soon as possible. Work-sharing helps keep workers employed and able to receive income support even as their hours of work may be reduced.

The government has also indicated it will act swiftly to stimulate the economy should it experience tightening credit conditions by strengthening investment in federal lending agencies such as the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

“Our message to Canadians is clear: to every worker and business, in every province and territory, we have your back and we will get through this together,” says Trudeau.

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