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

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

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Maria Lewis president of the Prince Rupert Royal Canadian Legion accepts a $5,000 donation gifted via an artillery shell from Shawn MacDonald governor of the Prince Rupert Loyal Order of the Moose 1051 on Nov. 13.
Major donation overwhelms Prince Rupert Legion

Prince Rupert Moose Lodge 1051 donates $5,000 to local veterans organization

Air Canada /Jazz flight AC8280 on Nov. 16 from Vancouver to Prince Rupert had a confirmed case of COVID-19, said Air Canada on Nov. 20. (File photo)
Flight into city had confirmed case of COVID-19

Nov. 16 flight from Vancouver to Prince Rupert affected by coronavirus

Prince Rupert carving artist Henry Kelly is having his work installed on Nov. 20, as a permanent art exhibit at the Prince Rupert Regional Airport. The traditional cedar canoe is a welcome symbol to those arriving at YPR. (Photo: supplied)
Art unveiling ceremonies at YPR cancelled due to new pandemic restrictions

Coast Tsimshian Cultural Exhibit at Prince Rupert Regional Airport features local carvers

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read