March 16, 2020

Canada’s House Of Commons Passes UMSCA; Trudeau Outlines Stimulus Plans

Less than a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his spouse was diagnosed with COVID-19, the Canadian Parliament’s House of Commons suspended operations until April 20. As part of that motion, however, lawmakers also approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), bringing the trade deal one step closer to implementation. Parliament’s upper chamber approved the agreement just hours later.

The only remaining step in Canada’s ratification is formal approval by the Governor-General, the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada’s head of state, which is simply a formality. The USMCA then will enter into force on the first day of the third month following notification so there still is no specific date for entry into force.

As The Hill explained, “Canadian approval kicks off a three-month period for all three signatory countries to agree on implementation regulations, including naming each country’s representatives for the conflict resolution mechanism.”

Trudeau’s cabinet also has delayed the release of its budget outline, which had been set to be released on March 30, but he and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, and Superintendent of Financial Institutions Jeremy Rudin, have announced the broad outline of a fiscal stimulus package to help individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19. While more detail will be filled in over the coming days, the package likely will provide $10 billion in stimulus through the Bank of Canada.