The Bill (as it was then) was sponsored by the Minister of Finance and was introduced in the House of Commons on March 24. It was then considered both in the Commons and the Senate and passed in the Senate without amendments on March 25.
Summary of the Act
Part 1 implements, as part of the response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), certain income tax measures by
(a) introducing a one-time additional payment under the GST/HST tax credit;
(b) providing temporary additional amounts under the Canada Child Benefit;
(c) reducing required minimal withdrawals from registered retirement income funds by 25% for 2020; and
(d) providing eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months.
Part 2 enacts the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Act to authorize the making of income support payments to workers who suffer a loss of income for reasons related to the coronavirus disease 2019.
Part 3 enacts the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act, which authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to public health events of national concern. It also provides for the repeal of the Act on September 30, 2020.
Part 4 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to allow the Minister of Finance to increase the deposit insurance coverage limit until September 30, 2020.
Part 5 amends the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act to authorize the Minister of Finance, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to make payments to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose of increasing the Corporation’s capital.
Part 6 amends the Export Development Act to broaden the purposes for which Export Development Canada is established and to permit the Minister of Finance, until September 30, 2020, to determine the amount of Export Development Canada’s authorized capital as well as the amount of certain limits applicable to Export Development Canada. It broadens the transactions for which the Minister of International Trade, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, may grant an authorization. It also provides for the suspension of certain provisions of the Export Development Canada Exercise of Certain Powers Regulations.
Part 7 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to authorize additional payments to the provinces and territories for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2019.
Part 8 amends Part IV of the Financial Administration Act to authorize the Minister of Finance, until September 30, 2020, to borrow money under that Act for certain payments without the authorization of the Governor in Council, and it also amends that Part to extend the time for the tabling of the report on that Minister’s plans in relation to the management of the public debt.
It also amends Part IV.1 of that Act to authorize that Minister to make payments to an entity and to procure the incorporation of a corporation or establish an entity, other than a corporation, for the purposes of promoting the stability or maintaining the efficiency of the financial system in Canada. Finally, it makes related amendments to the Borrowing Authority Act and a consequential amendment to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act.
Part 9 amends the Food and Drugs Act to, among other things, authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations
(a) requiring persons to provide information to the Minister of Health; and
(b) preventing shortages of therapeutic products in Canada or alleviating those shortages or their effects, in order to protect human health.
Part 10 amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things, create a regime which provides for a leave related to COVID-19 of up to 16 weeks. It also amends that Act to provide for the repeal of that regime and to provide for a quarantine leave under the medical leave regime.
Part 11 amends the National Housing Act to increase, for a period of five years, the maximum total for the outstanding insured amounts of all insured loans.
Part 12 amends the Patent Act to, among other things, provide that the Commissioner must, on the application of the Minister of Health, authorize the Government of Canada and any person specified in the application to make, construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to a public health emergency that is a matter of national concern.
Part 13 amends the Canada Student Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on March 30, 2020 and ends on September 30, 2020, no interest is payable by a borrower on a guaranteed student loan and no amount on account of principal or interest is required to be paid by the borrower.
Part 14 amends the Farm Credit Canada Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to determine the limit on the amounts that the Minister of Finance may pay to Farm Credit Canada out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Part 15 amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to provide that, during the period that begins on March 30, 2020 and ends on September 30, 2020, no interest is payable by a borrower on a student loan and no amount on account of principal or interest is required to be paid by the borrower.
Part 16 amends the Business Development Bank of Canada Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to determine the limit on the aggregate of the paid-in capital — and any related contributed surplus — of the Business Development Bank and any proceeds prescribed as equity.
Part 17 amends the Apprentice Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on March 30, 2020 and ends on September 30, 2020, no interest is payable by a borrower on an apprentice loan and no amount on account of principal or interest is required to be paid by a borrower.
Division 1 of Part 18 amends the Employment Insurance Act to give the Minister of Employment and Social Development the power to make interim orders for the purpose of mitigating the economic effects of COVID-19.
Division 2 of Part 18 provides that every reference in any provision of the Employment Insurance Act and of regulations made under it to a certificate issued by a medical doctor or other medical professional or medical practitioner or by a nurse practitioner is deemed to be of no effect and that any benefit that would have been payable to a claimant had such a certificate been issued is payable to the claimant if the Canada Employment Insurance Commission is satisfied that the claimant is entitled to the benefit.