Trudeau announces expanded eligibility for emergency benefit


By NS Desk 16-Apr-2020

Ottawa, April 16 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announce expanded eligibility rules for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) so that part-time and seasonal workers can claim the CERB.

Part-time and seasonal workers, who are earning less than 1,000 Canadian dollars (about $710) a month, such as contract or gig economy workers, or who have seasonal employment and cannot find a job due to COVID-19, as well as who are running out of employment insurance, can now apply for the 2,000 Canadian dollars of the CERB, Xinhua reported.

"Maybe you're a volunteer firefighter, or a contractor who can pick up some shifts, or you have a part-time job in a grocery store. Even if you're still working, or you want to start working again, you probably need help making ends meet," Trudeau said on Wednesday at a press conference against the COVID-19 crisis.

The announcement came after critics pointed out the initial rules of the CERB excluded too many people, including those working reduced hours.

Besides expansion to the CERB that 6 million Canadians have already applied for, Trudeau added that he is also working with the provinces to boost wages for essential front-line staff to keep them on the job.

He said wages are going to be boosted for essential workers who are making less than 2,500 Canadian dollars a month as quickly as possible.

Trudeau said that the essential front-line staff in hospitals, seniors' homes and long-term care facilities are doing "some of the toughest jobs in the country."

"As we face an unprecedented threat to public health, you are our most important line of defence. We will do whatever we can to help you do your job and support you through this," Trudeau said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained health systems, caused deadly outbreaks at long-term care homes and sparked strict public health measures aimed at slowing the coronavirus spread in the country.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 28,206 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,007 deaths across the country.



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