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Prime Minister announces expanded access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit and support for essential workers

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No Canadian should have to choose between protecting their health, putting food on the table, paying for their medication or caring for a family member. This is why the government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a taxable benefit of $2,000 every four weeks for up to four months for eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is stepping up to better support those who need help but don't qualify for the CERB, and Canadians working in essential jobs who make less than they would if they received the benefit.

To help more Canadians benefit from the CERB, the government will be changing the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their usual seasonal work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed particular demands on low-income workers in certain sectors, including those on the front-line in hospitals and nursing homes, those ensuring the integrity of the food supply, or providing essential retail services to Canadians.

In recognition that these essential workers’ salaries are often less or similar than what they would receive from the CERB, the government will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top-up to the salaries of workers deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19, who make less than $2,500 a month. Details as to the application and delivery of this measure will be released shortly following further work with provinces and territories. This measure could help several million workers currently involved in the COVID-19 response. The government will continue to look for ways to better help all Canadians during this difficult time.

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