Father Mark Goring, pastor at St. Mary’s Parish Catholic church, celebrates the Eucharist in front of the iPhone broadcasting the Easter Vigil mass live on Youtube, as houses of worship remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canadians mark Easter as COVID-19 continues to cause pain, grief for many

Easter Sunday arrived with desperately needed aid for Canadian businesses and workers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other leaders across the country are taking a rare day off from updating the nation on the COVID-19 crisis as Canadians celebrate Easter Sunday.

Yet even as people gather with their families both physically and virtually for the holiday, the pandemic continues to cause pain and grief for many Canadians whose health and livelihoods have been devastated by the illness.

Ontario reported 401 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as well as 21 deaths, bringing the national total to 23,719 confirmed and presumptive cases and 674 deaths. The federal government and other provinces were expected to release more numbers throughout the day.

In a message marking Easter, nearly one month after the country started locking down to slow the spread of COVID-19, Trudeau commemorated the personal sacrifice and compassion that many Canadians have exhibited during the pandemic.

“This year, as we celebrate differently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Easter’s themes of hope, understanding, and renewal are more relevant than ever,” the prime minister said in a written statement.

“We are seeing great displays of personal sacrifice and compassion during this pandemic. Canadians are protecting their friends and families by staying home. Others are donating to food banks, picking up groceries for friends and loved ones, and going to their jobs so we can continue to get the essential goods and services we need. By doing this, Canadians are showing the true meaning of loving our neighbours as ourselves.”

Aside from chocolate eggs, Easter Sunday also arrived with desperately needed aid for businesses and workers after Parliament approved a massive $73-billion wage subsidy program aimed at helping them survive the economic ravages of the pandemic.

The legislation received royal assent on Saturday night, paving the way for Ottawa to start paying companies 75 per cent of the first $58,700 earned by each employee — up to $847 per week for up to 12 weeks.

READ MORE: Weddings cancelled, postponed and altered due to COVID-19

READ MORE: Despite long-weekend travellers, B.C. has no plans to implement restrictions

The economic program, which Trudeau has described as the most significant since the Second World War, is retroactive to March 15 and available to companies that lost 15 per cent of their revenue in March or lose 30 per cent in April or May.

Trudeau wasn’t the only political leader taking Sunday off after nearly a month of daily briefings and public appearances in response to COVID-19. Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were also expected to remain quiet.

The day off followed news of a police investigation at a private long-term care facility in western Montreal where Legault said 31 people have died since March 13.

The virus has hit long-term care facilities across the country especially hard, causing enormous suffering among patients, their families and care home personnel.

Legault told reporters Saturday that at least five people at the Residence Herron in Dorval, Que., which is now under government trusteeship, died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Regional health authorities investigated Residence Herron on March 29, three days after word of the first death, and found most of the staff had walked off the job, leaving the facility “deserted” and residents in dire need of care.

Most of the care workers at a group home for adults with disabilities in Markham, Ont., just north of Toronto, also walked off the job after hearing that 10 residents and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 last week, Participation House’s executive director said.

Federal politicians and public health officials are promising new measures to further protect care home residents.

— with files from Salmaan Farooqui in Toronto.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dead salmon fry found in Terrace stream prompts response from City

Public Works crews are marking storm drains to raise awareness of salmon habitat vulnerability

RCMP bust five impaired drivers in one day in Terrace and Kitimat

Police were doing road checks as part of distracted driving, seatbelt enforcement campaign

Horgan makes campaign stop in Terrace and Kitimat

BC NDP leader met with local First Nations leaders, reiterated campaign promises

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

151,000 salmon detected this year north of site

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Most Read