Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau speaks to the Canadian Club of Canada in Toronto, Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the Canadian economy is strong enough to weather the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus.
He says the federal government has enough wiggle room in its finances to help individuals and businesses deal with the fallout.
But he is still not sharing any details of those plans or the date when the federal budget will be released.
He also would not reveal whether he expects the deficit to be bigger than previously projected, given the sharp decline in oil prices and the hit the markets are taking today.
In an appearance on Parliament Hill, Morneau says the federal government is in a position to respond to challenges like COVID-19 as they come, and the budget is only part of that.
The Trudeau Liberals are being urged to ease access to federal sick leave benefits, along with tax credits and other breaks, to help workers who feel they can't afford to stay home when sick, as well as to help small businesses that might not have the cash flow to manage the effects of the outbreak.
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