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COVID-19 aid bill, Tory leader O'Toole's speech headline Parliament's first full week

Last Updated Sep 28, 2020 at 11:40 am EDT

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois chief Yves-Francois Blanchet are expected to take their seats in the House of Commons this week after being benched due to COVID-19.

The two opposition leaders were absent from the Commons last week as both were in isolation after contracting COVID-19.

Their formal replies to the Liberals’ speech from the throne will come as Parliament is set to debate new COVID-19 relief measures over the coming days and potentially pass them into law.

The government plans to set up a new pandemic-benefits regime under the umbrella of the existing employment insurance system and also create paid sick leave for those who can’t work due to COVID-19.

The NDP had made paid sick leave and a new benefits program as generous as the old one conditions for supporting for the Liberals’ throne speech.

So, while the Tories and Bloc Quebecois have said they’ll vote against the speech, the NDP’s support is expected to keep the minority Liberals in power.