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New law allows Canadian gov’t to declare ‘lockdown regions’ citizens can’t leave

by Anthony Murdoch

The government says the purpose of the new law, entitled  “An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19,” is to provide aid to businesses and people who have been targeted by a closure order.

“The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, may, for the purposes of this Act, designate by order, for the period set out in the order, any region in Canada as a lockdown region,” reads Part 1, Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, of Bill C-2.

The Bill defines a “lockdown order” as “an order, regulation or other instrument made by a competent authority” to allow the Minister, “for reasons related to COVID-19,” to declare any region in Canada a “lockdown region.”

Bil C-2 enacts the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit Act to authorize the payment of the “Canada worker lockdown benefit of $300 a week in regions where a lockdown is imposed for reasons related to COVID-19.”

According to the text of the bill, the “Minister may make a recommendation only if the Minister is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so and that measures referred to in subparagraphs (a)(i) and (ii) of the definition lockdown order in section 2 that are set out in one or more lockdown orders apply in respect of a region for a period of at least 14 consecutive days or, if a lower number of days is fixed by regulation, that lower number of consecutive days.”

Within these regions, it must first be specified “that persons stay at home except for reasons that are essential to preserving life, health, public safety or basic societal functioning,” before any benefit is paid out.

Non-compliance with the order “is an offence or may result in the imposition of a sanction, including an administrative monetary penalty.”

In essence, people who live in regions forced into lockdown will be paid by the government a  small amount but only if they stay “at home.”

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