Senate adopts emergency COVID-19 bills
The Senate recognized the urgency of the emergency bills, created to help ensure Canadians receive the support they need amid widespread shutdowns and related job losses.
In March 2020, Parliament came to an abrupt halt as part of a pandemic response plan aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Before the break, the Senate had adopted Bill C-12, legislation that gave the Government added flexibility while Parliament was not sitting should funding be required in response to the pandemic. The funding flexibility was limited, however, and any major funding initiatives would still require Parliamentary approval.
The Senate’s Role
The Senate was recalled several times over the course of the pandemic to review emergency legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senators debated the bills and had the opportunity to question relevant ministers about the proposals. These included legislation supporting unemployed Canadians, struggling students, and businesses and industries hit hard by circumstances of the pandemic.
The Senate recognized the urgency of the emergency bills, created to help ensure Canadians received the support they needed amid widespread shutdowns and related job losses. Senator Marc Gold, the Government Representative in the Senate, thanked Senate leadership – and indeed all Senators – for working together in a spirit of collaboration to adopt the following key pieces of legislation without delay:
On March 25, the Senate adopted Bill C-13, the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, to help ensure Canadians get the financial support they need during the pandemic.
On April 11, the Senate adopted Bill C-14, to implement an emergency wage subsidy for businesses, among other measures.
On May 1, the Senate adopted Bill C-15, the Canada Emergency Student Benefit Act, to assist students who lost work and income opportunities due to the virus.
On May 15, the Senate adopted Bill C-16, to give the Canadian dairy sector a financial boost to help weather pandemic-related losses.
On July 27, the Senate adopted Bill C-20, to extend and improve the emergency wage subsidy program, based on consultations with businesses and employers.
On October 2, the Senate adopted Bill C-4, to create three new temporary benefits to help Canadians who are unemployed, underemployed or unable to work.