Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and associate finance minister Mona Fortier was in Kelowna, virtually, on May 25 to hear from business owners and residents.
Hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Okanagan School of Business, the minister answered questions on the measures the government brought forward to help Canadians during the pandemic.
Fortier emphasized that for the whole country to come out of the pandemic strong, cooperation between provinces and territories is key.
“We’ve been listening to Canadians more than ever, and working with provinces and territories… we’ll have a stronger country that way,” she said.
“We know that due to the severe impacts of this pandemic, more than ever, businesses need help to keep more workers employed so that Canadians don’t have to choose between paying their bills or keeping food on the table.”
She said the measures have been designed to respond to Canadians’ needs now, as well as responding to the needs of businesses, non-profits, and charities across the country.
“We are working to find solutions for all Canadians. And we know that every sector of the economy has been impacted by COVID-19, which is why we have worked as quickly as possible to help as many Canadians as possible.”
Throughout the discussion, Fortier made clear the goal of the government is to support Canadians to the best of its ability by adapting as much as possible to the circumstances. Fortier said that means looking at the situation in each province and territory, and considering those realities when looking at the next phase of decision-making.
Fortier said it’s a little early to solidly speak on what recovery could look like.
“With measures like Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the wage subsidy, what we put forward is that Canadians are getting the help they need today to help the economy come back strong when the time is right,” she said.
“We have listened closely to business owners and chambers of commerce throughout this crisis and have responded to their feedback to ensure that programs… are supporting as many businesses as possible.”
“As the current situation becomes more stable, we will update Canadians on the next steps. I want to stress the fact that we have really been addressing the current emergency needs and we will be looking at the next steps hopefully sooner rather than later but at this time, we’re focusing on what Canadians need.”
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