Government extends CERB payments

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Government will extend CERB payments for two months

Government will extend CERB payments by two more months to encourage people to look for jobs and go back to work whenever possible. Up until now, the Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) has provided payments of $2000 for up to four months. The CERB aims to support Canadians who lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This news is sure to come as relief for many who are still struggling with finding new work. Many will also look to CERB payments for reopening their businesses.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today reiterated the government’s commitment to financial support. The government will extend CERB for eight weeks in provinces and territories gradually reopening. Finding work and opening businesses will become easier in the coming months. He stated: ‘The reality is that there are three million people out of work who are looking for work’. ‘Even as our economy is reopening, there are many more people out of work, willing to work, than there are jobs available’.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough also confirmed CERB recipients will need to sign a new attestation. This is to acknowledge the government is encouraging them to look for work and consult with the job’s bank. ‘We know that Canadians are eager and ready to do their part’, said Qualtrough. ‘We expect that workers will be seeking work opportunities or returning to work when their employer reaches out to them. This, provided they are able and it is reasonable for them to do so’.

The wage subsidy program covers as of today up to 75% of an employee’s pay ($847 a week). Qualtrough continues: ‘While the CERB has been helping millions of Canadian workers get through this difficult time, we know that this benefit is not a long-term solution’.

What are the possible long term solutions to implement?

Not everyone is happy with the new extension. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had previously called the government to extend CERB by at least four months. He stated: ‘Millions of Canadians have been worried about how they will pay their bills this summer. The government can’t put people in this situation again come August. Over the weeks ahead, we need a long-term plan to repair EI so that it is finally designed to continue to support workers that can’t go back to work and still need help.’

Conservative employment critic MP Dan Albas also called for a reformation of CERB. According to Albas, those who are especially penalised are workers earning more than $1000 a month. That is because employees who make more than $1000 a month are no longer eligible for CERB.