Thank you, Chair.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis. More than three million people around the world have been infected, including more than 60,000 in Canada. Sadly, more than 4,000 Canadians have died from this disease. Naturally, the health and safety of all Canadians remain our top priority. We are constantly looking for ways to slow down the spread of this deadly virus. The pandemic affected large and small businesses around the world overnight and continues to have a devastating impact on the global economy.
Fortunately, our government has taken strong action to soften the blow of the crisis on Canadians by providing direct support of more than $140 billion to individuals, families, and businesses. This is one of the most comprehensive plans in the G7.
It has been eight weeks since the Prime Minister gave an overview of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan seeks to limit the spread of the virus in our country and protect citizens, families, businesses and the economy.
Over the past two months, the government has developed and implemented policies that have expanded and enhanced Canada's emergency response plan. No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health and putting food on the table. The government has designed and launched a series of measures, including the Canada emergency response benefit, to provide timely and direct support to Canadians in response to COVID-19. This benefit, which provides $2,000 to individuals who have lost their employment, has supported over 7.5 million Canadians. These measures will help meet the cash needs of Canadian households and help ensure that Canadians can pay for essential needs like housing and groceries during this difficult time.
Mr. Chair, I would like to tell this House and Canadians about some of our key measures.
Families are feeling the social and economic repercussions of COVID-19 on their lives. Parents are concerned about being able to feed their family and they try to find creative ways to play the role of teacher and facilitator to their children. This is a difficult time for many families and we must continue to help parents and invest in our children.
This month, families who receive the Canada child benefit, or the CCB, will receive up to$300 more per child to help relieve some of the extra pressure caused by COVID-19. As you know, the CCB is a monthly non-taxable payment provided to eligible families to help them cover the costs of raising children under 18.
Ever since this benefit was implemented in 2016, it has had a positive impact on family incomes. This assistance measure puts the emphasis on families who need it the most, as low- and middle-income families receive the highest payments. This year, eligible families will automatically receive this one-time additional CCB in their May payment. People already receiving the CCB do not have to file a new claim to get this one-time enhancement.
This measure represents an addition $2 billion in support for families across the country. It will help families deal with the cost of raising their children during this difficult time. It is just one of the countless measures the government has put in place to help families overcome this crisis.
In addition to this one-time CCB increase, we have provided individuals and families of low and modest incomes with a special top-up payment through the goods and services tax credit. This measure has provided, on average, close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. In my riding of Ottawa—Vanier, this has helped families during these very difficult times.
We also understand that Canadians may be challenged in filing their taxes this year. That is why our government has also extended the tax filing deadline for individuals to June 1.
It is one more way that we are easing pressures on Canadians during this pressure-filled time.
We have heard that post-secondary students are feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19. Many students were preparing to start a summer or co-op job in May, and are now worried about how to pay rent and cover basic living expenses. Recent graduates are struggling to find meaningful work. This is a critical point in their lives. We must do everything possible to support the future of the next generation.
In order to ensure that post-secondary students are able to confidently continue their studies in the fall, the government is proposing significant measures to support them. From students who were counting on their summer employment to pay for their tuition, to recent graduates who were planning to start their careers, the government has their back during this challenging time. That is why I was pleased to rise in this House last week to speak to the $9-billion plan to help students and recent graduates get through the next few months.
Because of COVID-19, there aren't as many jobs for students as last year. Without a job, it can be hard to pay for tuition or for day-to-day basics. We have proposed the Canada emergency student benefit, which would give students $1,250 a month from May to August, with additional support for students with dependants or disabilities.
At the same time, we're creating and extending up to 160,000 jobs and other opportunities for young people in sectors that need an extra hand right now or are at the front line of the pandemic. If students prefer to volunteer and help in the fight against COVID-19, they'll be eligible for a $1,000 to $5,000 grant through the new Canada student service grant.
We are also helping businesses pay their employees even though they cannot open their doors. The Canada emergency wage subsidy is a subsidy of 75% of a salary for a maximum of $847 a week, for employers of all sizes and all sectors that have experienced a decline in their gross income of at least 15% in March and 30% in April and May. We created this subsidy to prevent new job losses and to encourage employers to rehire the workers they had to lay off because of COVID-19.
Our action also stands to have far-reaching implications. More workers will keep their jobs and more employers will be in a better position after the crisis, when the economy rebounds.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Every sector of the economy and every region of Canada has suffered the consequences. The government will continue to assess the repercussions of COVID-19. We are prepared to take other measures as needed and we will continue to do so to support Canadians throughout the entire pandemic. We will ensure that our economy remains resilient during this difficult time.
We will get through this together and when this crisis is over, we will be in the best position to bounce back together and continue to build a stronger country, one where everyone can succeed.