The Gleaner
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COVID-19 – May 25: Testing goal reached; Trudeau pushes for paid sick leave

Megan L’Heureux

After a beautiful sunny weekend, along with the greenlight from the Quebec government to hold outdoor gatherings with a maximum of ten people from three different households, further announcements were made Monday concerning the deconfinement process. During his daily press conference this afternoon, Premier François Legault announced that Quebec has surpassed its goal of performing 14,000 tests per day. Monday also saw the reopening of Montreal’s retail stores with direct access, and an announcement that shopping malls outside the greater Montreal area will be allowed to reopen June 1.

As of today, there are 47,984 confirmed cases in Quebec, a 24-hour increase of 573 cases. There are now 1,425 people being treated in hospital, including 179 in intensive care. An additional 85 deaths related to COVID-19 were reported, bringing the total to 4,069. In the Montérégie area, 6,093 cases have been confirmed and a total of 343 individuals in the region have lost their lives. There are 38 cases in the Haut-Saint-Laurent local health network (LHN), 351 cases in the Suroît LHN, 568 in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges LHN, and 764 confirmed cases in the Jardins-Roussillon LHN.

Paid sick leave program

During this morning’s daily COVID-19 update, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canadian government is committed to pushing provinces and territories to give every worker access to 10 days of paid sick leave per year, as the country begins to slowly reopen the economy. He pointed out the importance of ensuring workers can comfortably take time off if they exhibit symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. Having a paid sick leave program “will be essential in our recovery if we are to control the spread of the virus,” Trudeau said, voicing a concern that people may be tempted to hide their symptoms and continue to work if they cannot afford to take time off. The prime minister emphasized the need for a short-term support mechanism for workers who need several days to monitor their symptoms, get tested, or be treated. A paid sick leave program will ensure no one has to choose between going to work sick and sitting at home unpaid, allowing workers to respect their own health, as well as the health of others.

The application portal for the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CECRA), aimed at providing relief for small businesses that are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 opened early this morning. Commercial property owners in Quebec with up to 10 tenants who are eligible for the program were able to apply today; all other eligible landlords in Quebec will be able to apply Thursday. To register online, landlords can visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca, and for general program inquiries, they can call 1-800-668-2642.

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