In a media briefing late this morning from Rideau Cottage, Prime Minister Trudeau unveiled some tweaks to the financial support programs put in place to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Trudeau said those who applied for emergency benefits and made less than 75,000$ in taxable income will not have to pay interest on 2020 tax debt until 2022. As well, those who applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit based on their gross income (not their net income) won’t have to pay that benefit back, as long as they are otherwise eligible to receive the payment.

You may recall that in 2020, thousands of Canadians were notified by the federal government that they would have to pay back what they received in CERB benefits because the way the applicants had calculated their income made them ineligible. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this addresses that issue.

The prime minister Trudeau also spoke about a border issue. Trudeau said as of Feb. 15, anyone appearing at a Canadian land border from non-essential travel will have to produce a negative PCR COVID-19 test not older than seventy two hours.

However, as was previously announced, non-essential travellers who cannot show a negative test will have to pay a stiff penalty & a fine, and be isolated while awaiting test results.

In terms of vaccines, Trudeau said tens of thousands of Pfizer doses are arriving this week and Canada “is still very much on track for tens of millions of doses into the spring.”

He said doses will continue to arrive and at a faster pace as production ramps up. The prime minister Trudeau said Canada is expecting a “major” increase in vaccine shipments starting next week, with “hundreds of thousands of more doses arriving each week and that’s just from Pfizer.”

He touched on the fact other COVID-19 vaccines are working their way through the approval process with Health Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau also touched on testing and how important rapid testing is and will continue to be

“Testing widely and often reduces transmission.” he said, adding so far, the federal government has forwarded 19.6 million rapid tests to the provinces “with more to come.”


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