COVID-19: Ottawa enhances Canada Emergency Response Benefit eligibility
Adjustments to new federal relief programs designed to help support Canadians impacted by COVID-19 continues. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday announced a much-anticipated expansion of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which faced heavy criticism due to eligibility rules that disqualified large swaths of the population. The government has since acted to close many of those gaps.
“We will do whatever we can to help you do your job and support you through this time,” Trudeau told Canadians in his daily televised address from Rideau Cottage.
Under the relaxed eligibility rules, Canadians may earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB. Regular or seasonal workers that have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits and are “unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19” will now also qualify. The changes will be retroactive to March 15th, 2020.
In addition, the government announced plans for a new temporary transfer program to the provinces designed to share the costs of topping up salaries of essential workers, such as frontline hospital and nursing home employees, who earn less than $2,500 per month. Ottawa is currently working with the provinces and territories to finalize details of the new initiative.
Further relief measures for post-secondary students and businesses concerned about paying commercial rent are also in the works, according to the government.
Today’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit changes are in addition to program details we outlined in a previous blog. As always, if you have questions about this or any other government relief program, please contact a member of our team.
Armando Iannuzzi, Co-Managing Partner