Canadian government acts on Coronavirus

Published in the March 2020 issue of North American Government News

On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Canadian government acted quickly to approve multiple measures before suspending Parliament in response to the Coronavirus. In short order they delayed the federal budget, imposed restrictions on international travel, coordinated with the Bank of Canada who cut interest rates and promised a future stimulus package. Spending bills were also passed to keep the government operating and before shutting down, MPs and Senators passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

All five major parties agreed to adjourn the House of Commons until April 20. The suspension could be extended if necessary and they could be called back if needed.

Finance Minister Morneau provided C$10 billion in available credit for businesses through two business development agencies. Also announced were changes that will effectively add more than C$300 billion in lending capacity for major banks.

Canada has also announced the closure of the borders to anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident. The closure does not apply to U.S. citizens, for now, or shipments of goods.