PM Trudeau to unveil expansion of eligibility for emergency benefits: sources

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OTTAWA –
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to roll out a planned extension of eligibility for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit on Wednesday.

The program update that millions of Canadians have already requested will cover part-time workers who have lost one or more of their jobs due to COVID-19 and who earn less than $ 1,000 per month, sources tell CTV News.

In addition, CERB will be extended to seasonal workers who lack employment insurance and who cannot find work due to COVID-19.

Closing some of the gaps identified with the emergency assistance program has been a commitment by the government, stating that its initial objective would be to provide money for as many people as possible and to refine the criteria later.

Among those who are currently unable to qualify for the $ 2,000 a month for four months are workers in economics or contract labor, as well as those who work but earn less than they would only do so if they received CERB, such as long-term care workers. The Liberals have said they are looking for ways to keep these and other workers who are essential to the job with additional income.

As the program currently stands, to be eligible, applicants must have earned at least $ 5,000 in the past 12 months or in 2019 as a whole, and must be unemployed for reasons directly related to the COVID pandemic- 19.

In agreement reached with opposition parties over the weekend to speed up passage of the $ 73 billion wage subsidy law, the Liberals agreed to implement new support measures for groups who found themselves between the cracks of existing emergency benefits.

Trudeau said Tuesday he expects more announcements this week to help students, essential workers, business rents and particularly affected industries.

The government has also promised more mental health supports to Canadians, many of whom feel more stressed, anxious or overwhelmed by the current crisis and the lonely nature of staying at home.

Meanwhile, with mid-March agreement to resume regular sitting of the House of Commons on the table on Monday, talks are underway between the parties on how Parliament could proceed amid the pandemic without resigning 338 deputies in the chamber.

With files by Michel Boyer from CTV News



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