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Summary of the Prime Minister's news conference April 6

6 April 2020
CEO, Elizabeth Mulholland summarizes government measures being taken in response to COVID-19 to support people living on low-incomes and those that serve them. Read the latest update from the Prime Minister's Office, April 6.

  • Reminder that as we face a challenge unlike any other, we lean on our friends and family. And we let them know that they can lean on us, too.
  • Weeks and months ahead won’t be easy, but we’ll get through this, together.
  • Acknowledged the Queen’s address yesterday and underscored her message of unity and resolve.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) open for applications
  • Over the past few weeks, government has brought in many new measures to help Canadians, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for people who’ve lost their paycheque.
  • The CERB is now available, starting today. If you’re born in January, February or March, you can go to and apply online.
  • For everyone else, you’ll be able to apply another day this week, depending on your birth month.
  • If you can’t apply online, don’t worry. You can call 1-800-959-2041.
  • Since applications opened this morning, 240,000 people have already successfully applied.
  • If you’re using direct deposit, you’ll receive money 3-5 days after you apply.
Addressing gaps in CERB coverage
  • The CERB is meant to help all Canadians who need it, but some people don’t yet qualify who need help.
  • If you’re working reduced hours, down to 10 hours a week or less, we will soon announce how you will be able to qualify for the CERB.
  • This is to help you if you’re a gig worker, a contract worker or a volunteer firefighter.
  • We’ll also have more to say for those working but making less than they would with the benefit – e.g. homecare workers or long-term care workers looking after vulnerable seniors.
  • Work is also underway to get support to university/college students who will have trouble finding work this summer.
Update on 75% wage subsidy
  • Earlier, the federal government announced a new 75% wage subsidy to help Canadians keep their jobs and employers to keep employees on the payroll.
  • Currently drafting legislation and talking to other parties about bringing Parliament back to put the wage subsidy in place as quickly as possible. Minister of finance Bill Morneau will have more updates soon.
Reduced credit card rates
  • Six major banks and certain credit unions have cut credit card interest rates almost in half for people in financial difficulty because of the pandemic. Thanks to Minister Morneau for his leadership on this.
  • We need to see even more action like this, because this is a time to think about each other, not about the bottom line.
Canadian Business Resilience Network
  • Federal government and Canadian Chamber of Commerce have partnered to launch the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help businesses of all sizes get through the crisis and drive our economic recovery.
Call on Canadians to do their part
  • To keep loved ones and frontline workers safe, we all need to do our part. Because people who have to go to work— lab technicians, healthcare workers, truckers and farm workers—are doing more than their share to allow the rest of us to stay safe at home.
  • The best way to thank them is to follow public-health guidelines to protect our own health and their health as well.