Ottawa to give monthly $2000 payout to workers affected by COVID-19

Nellie Chapman
March 26, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced changes to his government's plans to financially support Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis. Our govt is doing whatever it takes to help.

New benefits for workers who can't be paid because of COVID-19, whether it's because they have to stay home to self-isolate or look after someone else, or because the business can't afford to pay them, will flow likely by April 6, said Morneau.

The Prime Minister adds anyone who returns from overseas must isolate at home for 14-days.

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide workers who have lost their incomes due to the coronavirus with $2,000 a month for the next four months, and will replace the two financial measures - the emergency care and emergency support benefits - announced last week, said Trudeau.

At a news conference, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said his party supports the Can$82 billion (US$57 billion) in aid to help Canadians through this pandemic - including almost one million who have been laid off following temporary closure orders given to many businesses. Canadians should be able to apply for the financial aid in early April and receive money in 10 days.

"Canadians can rest assured that the government stands ready to take any and all necessary actions as we continue to confront these challenging times together", says Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance.

The Star is offering free digital access on select COVID-19 stories.

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Morneau said more than 2,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers are being redeployed to help get the employment benefits flowing.

Morneau answered questions in the Senate, painting a grim picture of the state of the Canadian economy, the CBC's John Paul Tasker reported. He said everyone wants to know the depth of the economic hurt, how long it will last and whether it will come in waves.

"We don't know any of these things", he said.

The House of Commons approved the stimulus package in the early hours of Wednesday and the Senate is expected to approve the bill by this afternoon. "There is nothing regular about what we are facing".

The minister said Ottawa has been in daily contact with provincial governments to discuss those issues and how it is impacting provincial revenues.

"When we agreed to the extraordinary suspension of Parliament, Conservatives insisted that the government be subject to substantial accountability measures including that the Auditor General would audit any new spending, that parliamentary committees would be able to review all of that spending when Parliament resumes, that parliamentary committees could be recalled at any time, and that the government must immediately inform the Opposition of any spending and make it public within seven days".

Reid was not present during the overnight voting session, but one of his Conservative colleagues - rural Ontario MP Michael Chong - voiced opposition of his own, citing a clause that he said allows the employment minister to amend a law with only Morneau's approval needed.

Backing from the Bloc Quebecois assures the government bill's passage.

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