WINNIPEG -- Scared. That’s how mom Sara Kasian feels with the daycare shut down due to COVID-19.

“How we’re going to make our bills this month and obviously I can’t go to work with no child care,” said Kasian.

To help people and businesses cope financially, Ottawa unveiled an $82 billion stimulus package.

“As Minister of Finance, my only job is to make sure that Canadians can keep food in the fridge,” said Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

It includes increased child care benefits, wage subsidies for small businesses, and help for people who are sick, in isolation and don’t normally qualify for EI.

“This will apply to people who are self-employed and have to close up shop because of the virus,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the EI provisions are positive.

But Manitoba director Jonathan Alward says a measure to give small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy per employee falls short.

“There’s not enough help on the table to have employers keeping all their employees on board throughout this,” said Alward.

With many not earning a full salary for the foreseeable future, finance and tax expert Evelyn Jacks says there are ways to stretch your budget.

“What we have is a little bit of breathing room to stick to a plan, not to do anything too knee jerk,” said Jacks.

Jacks says take care of essentials before anything else.

After that Jacks offers several tips:

  • Check your bank balance and any emergency funds.
  • If you don’t have an emergency fund start one if you can
  • It might be time to borrow, take advantage of low-interest rates.
  • Pay off high-interest debt first
  • Make sure you take all the stimulus money offered if eligible.
  • Consult with a financial adviser.
  • File your income taxes now, despite an announced extension to June 1st.

“Don’t delay getting in there, especially if the government owes you money,” said Jacks.