OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is looking at extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and is promising an update by the end of the week. Trudeau announced yesterday that because so many are still struggling, the government is “working on a solution to extend the benefit for people who can’t return to work yet.”
“For now, all I can say is that we will continue to be there to support Canadians,” Trudeau said.
By the first week of July and through the summer, millions of Canadians will come to the end of their 16-week eligibility period to claim CERB, which has prompted questions about what will happen to those who have been on the program since it first launched and have already accessed the full $8,000 available, but are still out of a job and without income due to COVID-19.
The first application period opened in early April, and Canadians are able to claim the benefit for a maximum of 16 weeks between March 15 and October 3, meaning there will still be Canadians receiving funding for weeks to come, but others are soon going to run out.
As of June 4, the federal government has spent a total of $43.5 billion sending more than 8.4-million Canadians the $2,000 monthly payments. An extension — as the NDP have called for — would amount to approximately $17 billion each month the program remains in place under the current parameters.
“Whether it’s to cover the bills, to keep people on the payroll, or to make rent on a storefront, many Canadians need a hand right now,” Trudeau said.