“Where human lives are concerned, time is always short, yet the world has witnessed the vast resources that governments can draw upon to rescue financial institutions deemed ‘too big to fail.’” –Pope Benedict XVI
Marjorie Carnaje said there were “tears of joy” when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced their government would commit up to CA$82 billion to help their citizens get through the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19.
“Nagtulo gid ang luha ko (I really shed tears),” the Toronto-based registered nurse said. “Prime Minister Trudeau is really supportive of all Canadians.”
Health authorities estimate the novel coronavirus could overwhelm Canada’s hospitals if spread freely. Most people will suffer relatively manageable symptoms, such as a fever and cough, but a small percentage will need intensive care, sometimes for weeks.
As of this writing, over 200,000 people around the world have tested positive for the virus and 8,300 are known to have died.
Carnaje said there are currently 611 confirmed cases in Canada, including nine deaths.
She arrived back from a vacation in Cabatuan, Iloilo just before Canada banned all non-citizens and permanent residents from entering due to the virus.
After previously working in Singapore and Saudi Arabia, Carnaje became a Canadian citizen after working 10 years at a private hospital in Brampton.
“In these extraordinary times, our government is taking extraordinary measures,” the prime minister stated. “Public health should never hinge on financial considerations.”
The package was reportedly sought to ensure people can do what they need in order to protect their health and others without fear of not being able to feed their families or pay their rent or mortgage.
Carnaje said the assistance will help healthcare workers like her.
‘It’s great to be a Canadian in the times of coronavirus’
The stimulus will also reportedly beef up Canada’s child benefit payments and goods and services tax (GST) in order to provide a wage subsidy for small businesses to help them keep staff on payroll during the slowdown, pause Canada Student Loan payments for six months, and establish emergency benefits for people who don’t qualify for employment insurance.
There will also be support for shelters to house the homeless and people fleeing gender-based violence.
A separate fund will also help First Nation, Inuit, and Metis communities respond to the virus.
The single biggest item that Carnaje likes most is the deferment of tax payments until August, which is projected to account for CA$55 billion. This means, Canadians who owe taxes after today will be able to put off payment until after August.
The government will reportedly move the tax-filing deadline to June 1. However, they are encouraging those who receive GST credits or the child benefit to file as soon as possible in order to access additional funds available under the programs.
Last week, the Trudeau administration announced a CA$1 billion fund to help Canada respond to the virus, including funds for the healthcare system.
“It’s great to be a Canadian in the times of coronavirus,” Carnaje declared.
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Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ