A look at what’s in the federal COVID-19 aid legislation


OTTAWA — Parliament has passed sweeping legislation designed to blunt the economic impact COVID-19.

Here’s a look at what’s in the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act:

— A new Canada Emergency Response Benefit that will provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

— a one-time additional payment under the GST/HST tax credit.

— a top up to the Canada Child Benefit.

— a reduction to required minimal withdrawals from registered retirement income funds by 25 per cent for 2020.

— a temporary wage subsidy for eligible small employers for a period of three months.

— authorization for the government to pay whatever is required in relation to “public health events of national concern,” including by making additional payments to the provinces, until Sept. 30.

—  authorization for the federal finance minister to increase the limit on insurance coverage for bank deposits until Sept. 30.

— authorization for the finance minister to increase capital available to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

— an expansion of the purposes and powers of Export Development Canada.

— authorization for the federal finance minister, until Sept. 30, to borrow money without going to cabinet, with a requirement that the minister report back on how that money has been spent.

— authorization for cabinet to make regulations under the Food and Drugs Act to require people to provide information to the federal health minister, prevent shortages of therapeutic products in Canada or alleviate those shortages or their effects, in order to protect human health.

— amends the Canada Labour Code to provide leave related to COVID-19 of up to 16 weeks and to provide for a quarantine leave under the medical leave regime.

— amends the National Housing Act to increase, for a period of five years, the maximum total for the outstanding insured amounts of all insured loans.

— amends the Patent Act to allow the government to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to a public health emergency that is a matter of national concern.

— amends the Canada Student Loans Act and the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act so that from March 30 to Sept. 30 there’s a freeze on requiring student loan repayments. There is also a freeze for the same period under the Apprentice Loans Act.

— amends the Farm Credit Canada Act to the give the federal finance minister the ability to increase how much it can lend.

— amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to give the finance minister the power to determine the limit on the aggregate of the paid-in capital — and any related contributed surplus — of the Business Development Bank and any proceeds prescribed as equity.

— amends the Employment Insurance Act to give the employment minister the power to make interim orders for the purpose of mitigating the economic effects of COVID-19.

— changes the Employment Insurance Act and related regulations to remove the requirement for a doctor’s note to access EI benefits.


  1. Be careful what you wish for people.. the virus isn’t a hoax, but ‘they’ may be playing with the numbers.


    As the prevention and control of COVID-19continues to advance, the active nucleic acid test screening in the close contacts of the patients has been carrying out in many parts of China. However, the false-positive rate of positive results in the screening has not been reported up to now. But to clearify the false-positive rate during screening is important in COVID-19 control and prevention.

    Point values and reasonable ranges of the indicators which impact the false-positive rate of positive results were estimated based on the information available to us at present. The false-positive rate of positive results in the active screening was deduced, and univariate and multivariate-probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to understand the robustness of the findings.

    When the infection rate of the close contacts and the sensitivity and specificity of reported results were taken as the point estimates, the positive predictive value of the active screening was only 19.67%, in contrast, the false-positive rate of positive results was 80.33%. The multivariate-probabilistic sensitivity analysis results supported the base-case findings, with a 75% probability for the false-positive rate of positive results over 47%.

    In the close contacts of COVID-19 patients, nearly half or even more of the ‘asymptomatic infected individuals’ reported in the active nucleic acid test screening might be false positives.

    Strange daze indeed..

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