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COVID-19: 29 cases in the Haut-Saint-Laurent, and more good news for students and businesses

A map released by the Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie on Friday showed 5,230 cases in the Montérégie region, including 29 cases in the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent, 109 cases in the MRC des Jardins de Napierville, 292 cases in the MRC de Beauharnois-Salaberry, 492 cases in the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, and 530 cases in the MRC de Roussillon.  

As of May 15, there were 42,483 confirmed cases in Quebec, a 24-hour increase of 763 cases. There are now 1,763 people being treated in hospital, including 179 in intensive care. 82 new deaths were announced Thursday in relation to COVID-19, bringing the total to 3,483.

While these numbers are demonstrating a decrease in daily numbers province- and country-wide, cases of COVID-19 among food inspectors have been steadily rising since mid-April, a new report shows. More than 40 inspectors have been infected to date, putting a huge strain on the food-supply system, which had already been significantly affected: a number of employees have resisted reassignment as food inspectors, a position which is mandatory for all Canadian meat factories and is becoming increasingly vacant. “Getting that balance right is extremely important. We need to ensure that essential services like the food supply continue to flow to Canadians, but we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep workers safe,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a recent press conference.

Help for the future of scientific research

Also on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $450 million to help research institutions affected by the pandemic, and to provide temporary wage support. “Science and research are our door to a brighter future and that has never been clearer,” said Trudeau. He went on to explain that this money will be delivered through federal grant agencies and will be disseminated as quickly as possible. Canadian researchers are playing a substantial part in the global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, with several of the small handful of labs currently at the animal-testing phase of a potential vaccine situated in Canada.

Students to begin receiving aid and help for businesses to be extended

As of Friday, students can begin to apply for the Emergency Student Benefit, where they can receive up to $1,250 per month from May to August. This will allow students who did not qualify for CERB or have lost an opportunity for employment this summer to continue to get the money they need to support themselves in preparation for the next school year. In order to increase such opportunities, the federal government has helped finance more than 10,000 new summer jobs with the Canada Summer Jobs program. Students or recent graduates can see the list of available jobs online at

Small businesses also received good news on Friday as it was announced that the federal government will be extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for another three months, until the end of August. This program helps businesses cover up to 75% of employee wages by offering employers as much as $847 per week per employee. Trudeau added that they would be broadening eligibility for CEWS by working directly with affected businesses and reconsidering the 30%-decline-in-revenue threshold normally needed to qualify. As businesses start up, needing a decline should not be a barrier for growth,” insisted Trudeau.

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