Trudeau, G20 leaders to confer on international response to COVID-19

Clay Curtis
March 26, 2020

"Far too many Canadians are having these tough conversations about finances and their future", said Trudeau, who emphasized that this new benefit will be there to support those who are now struggling financially.

The portion of benefits to help Canadians and small businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic is nearly double what it was expected to be, the federal finance minister said Wednesday.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) announced will allow applicants to receive $2000 a month for the next four months for those who have lost their income during the coronavirus pandemic.

The CERB would be a simpler and more accessible combination of the previously announced Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit.

"Any conversation about new government powers should not get in the way of passing this much-needed assistance", Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these hard times while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible. It would apply to people who are quarantined, helping a sick family member, have been laid off or have not received payment from their employer.

The online portal to access the new benefit will be available in early April.

"And since last Monday we've already processed 143,000 employment insurance claims".

"We're working to get you the support you need when you need it", the Prime Minister said.

Demand for the new benefit would have overwhelmed the decades-old EI system, the Liberals said Wednesday in a partial explanation for the spending change.

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"We haven't got the (program) money so we don't actually have this cash to operate our businesses (and) until we get that, we're screwed", Cox continued.

The aid will provide out of work Canadians with $2000 per month for four months.

"Help is on the way", Trudeau said.

According to Global Affairs Canada (GAC), there are now more than 419,400 Canadians registered who are overseas.

Trudeau delivers daily briefings outside his Ottawa residence where he remains in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.

Several provinces have also stepped up to help their residents make up for lost wages. However, if their benefits are scheduled to end before October 3, 2020 and they still can't return to work, they can apply for the CERB.

Local governments have been increasing social-distancing measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has led thousands of businesses to close their doors.

"If you are still employed but not receiving income because of this crisis, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is there for you", Trudeau said.

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