FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

Up to $5,000 will come through Global Affairs

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said new measures to help Canadian residents and businesses will come this week, as he addressed the nation from Rideau Cottage Tuesday.

The Prime Minister’s announcement comes as Canada has 433 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The majority of those are in Ontario with 185 cases and in B.C. with 103. The country has seen four deaths due to the virus, all at a care home in B.C. Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, is herself self-isolating along with the Prime Minister at Rideau Cottage.

Trudeau had announced Monday that Canada would be closing its borders to all foreigners, except for Americans.

Trudeau said Global Affairs will offer up to a $5,000 loan to Canadians stuck abroad. He urged them to come home before more borders are closed and to email sos@gc.ca for aid.

However, he acknowledged that with about 3 million Canadians abroad at any time, that may not be possible.

”It is just realistic to know that some of them will not be coming home in the coming weeks,” he said.

Trudeau also asked Canadians to remain isolated and lighten the load on health care professionals.

“Stay home. Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to. Things will get better,” Trudeau said.

Responding to questions about whether Canada will declare a state of emergency, he said Ottawa was looking to see if the country could get similar benefits without utilizing the Emergency Act.

Trudeau also announced Parks Canada will suspend service at its national parks and historic sites on Wednesday.

“Pretty much everything with a door will be closed.”

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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