(Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won parliamentary support for his C$82 billion ($57 billion) stimulus package to bolster an economy ravaged by the coronavirus.
The plan received approval from the House of Commons in the early hours Wednesday morning after tense negotiations with opposition lawmakers over how much emergency spending powers the governing Liberals should be given to tackle the crisis. The bill now needs Senate approval before becoming law.
The legislative passage of the stimulus plan means the government will be able to pump money into the economy quickly as much of the country shuts down to halt the spread of the deadly virus. Almost one million Canadians filed for jobless claims last week, with growing evidence the damage from the sudden halt of economic activity is only going to worsen.
Trudeau’s package includes C$27 billion in direct support for individuals and companies and C$55 billion in temporary tax deferrals for households and businesses. They include steps to bolster child-benefit payments, a C$10 billion emergency care program to workers who stay home and don’t have access to paid sick leave, and a 10% wage subsidy to eligible small businesses for the next 90 days. The bulk of the support is a plan to allow taxpayers to defer tax filing until after Aug. 31 -- a temporary liquidity support.
The Liberals lack a majority of seats in the House of Commons and need the support of opposition parties to pass legislation. The main opposition Conservative Party had balked at the government’s bid to give itself free reign on spending and taxation through the end of 2021 to manage the crisis. The Liberals agreed to rein in demands for extraordinary powers to six months, according to Conservative lawmakers.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said at a press conference Tuesday that Trudeau had told him checks for laid-off workers would be available April 6.
There are 1,959 confirmed cases across the country, according to Health Canada statistics as of 6 p.m. Tuesday. Of those, 27 people have died.
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