CERB payments extended for 8 more weeks
The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) is being extended by two more months, even as the government encourages people to look for jobs and to go back to work when it’s possible to do so.
CERB has provided taxable payments of $2,000 for up to four months to Canadians who lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CBC reports that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the financial supports will be extended for eight weeks for those who still can’t work as provinces and territories gradually reopen their economies.
“The reality is that there are three million people out of work who are looking for work, and even as our economy is reopening, there are many, many more people out of work, willing to work, than there are jobs available,” he said.
A draft bill placed conditions on CERB payments requiring recipients to actively look for work and not turn down reasonable work opportunities. That legislation did not pass, but Trudeau said the government will find ways to encourage people to work when they are able.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said CERB recipients for the new phase will be required to sign an attestation acknowledging the government is encouraging them to look for work and to consult with the governments job bank.
“We know that Canadians are eager and ready to do their part. We expect that workers will be seeking work opportunities or returning to work when their employer reaches out to them, provided they are able and it is reasonable for them to do so,” she said.
The attestation will be in place on July 5, according to her office.
The government has been encouraging employers to apply for the wage subsidy program, which covers 75% of an employees pay, up to $847 a week. More than 223,000 employers have applied for the Canada emergency wage subsidy to cover 2.6 million employees across the country, Qualtrough said.
“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,” she said. “We are moving from a phase in the pandemic where we were asking everyone to stay home, to a phase where workers are going back to work when it is safe and possible for them to do so.”
The student emergency benefit, which gives eligible students $1,250 a month – or $2,000 if they have a dependent – requires recipients to attest they are “actively looking for a job.”
“The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may ask you to provide information later to verify that you have been looking for work during the eligibility period(s) that you have applied for, so it is important to keep track of your ongoing job search activities,” the website reads.