Trudeau promises more Canadians will be covered by COVID-19 emergency allowance

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded today to criticisms that many Canadians are missing COVID-19 emergency benefits, promising more help along the way for students, people working reduced hours in because of the pandemic and struggling businesses.

During his daily briefing on Monday, Trudeau said that 240,000 people had already successfully applied for the Canadian Emergency Response Allowance (CERB), which opened at 6 a.m.ET today, apparently without a hitch .

Trudeau said there will be adjustments to the program to include people such as concert workers, contractors or volunteer firefighters who work 10 hours or less a week.

The office of Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough said on Monday that everything seemed to be going well in the opening hours of the CERB portal, which is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Hundreds of thousands of applications are expected to flood the system in the coming week, and the system is ready to handle millions of claims.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gives a daily briefing at 11:15 a.m.ET today. Watch it here.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said at a news conference in Regina on Monday that the government must find ways to break down barriers for some people, including those who do not qualify because they work even a small number. hours per week.

“We need an assistance program that will allow workers to meet the needs of the market,” he said.

Current eligibility criteria require that a beneficiary has lost all of their income for at least 14 consecutive days in the past month. After the first month, they should have no source of income.

This means that someone who works even considerably reduced hours each week is not eligible.

To be eligible, a person must also have worked and had to stop because of COVID-19, which means that full-time students are not eligible. Trudeau said on Sunday that the government was looking for ways to fix the problem, including possible direct income support.

Wage Subsidy Program Worries

The Conservatives have also heard complaints about the proposed wage subsidy program, said Scheer, which will give employers up to 75 percent to cover an employee’s salary. It should be operational in three to six weeks, but Scheer said it was too long for companies on the borderline.

The government has said it will remember that Parliament will soon pass wage subsidy legislation. Scheer said he had not yet heard when this would happen, but suggested that the House of Commons should hold regular sittings with a reduced number of members to hold the government to account.

By covering up to $ 847 per week per employee, the goal of this program is to keep people on the payroll to facilitate a quick rebound when the pandemic subsides.

But a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found that many members are skeptical about their ability to retain their staff.

Of the 8,892 members who responded to the online questionnaire, 29% said it would help, 37% said it would not and 21% said they were unsure.

The CFIB is calling on the government to repeal a requirement that businesses post a 30% drop in revenue compared to the same month last year, and to put in place a system that includes new and rapidly growing businesses.

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