Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the launch of supports for Canadian businesses and an agreement to secure doses of a COVID-19 treatment from AbCellera Biologics. Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled that the province has acquired new rapid tests for COVID-19 and a pilot project for rapid testing in workplaces.
Support for Canadian Businesses
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), launched yesterday, will support up to 65 per cent of eligible expenses for tenants and property owners. An additional up to 25 per cent support will be provided to qualifying organizations under lockdown orders, meaning that up to 90 per cent of expenses may be covered by the federal government.
Additionally, Trudeau announced that the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been extended to June 2021. The deadline to apply is whichever is sooner of January 31, 2021 or 180 days after the end of the claim period.
The Prime Minister also announced today that the federal government has secured 26,000 doses of a therapeutic drug from AbCellera Biologics that treats COVID-19. Manufactured by Eli Lilly and developed in Vancouver, the agreement also allows for the option of “thousands more” doses, according to Trudeau.
Rapid Tests in Ontario
Ontario has acquired 1.2 million Panbio rapid antigen tests and approximately 98,000 ID NOW tests to screen for COVID-19. Both of these rapid tests are being deployed on the frontlines for COVID-19, with Panbio supporting a screening program for long-term care homes and other workplaces and ID NOW being used in hospitals and assessment centres in rural and remote communities, according to the news release.
Panbio tests will also be used to facilitate an eight-week pilot for participating employers in the private, public and not-profit settings with a priority for healthcare, essential frontline, and congregate settings. This pilot will help inform the value of the antigen screening for asymptomatic workers and, according the release, will “inform future decisions about safety and fully reopening the economy.”