Some Canadians have received double the planned monthly payments for the new Canadian emergency response benefit, but federal officials say the multi-billion dollar aid program is working.
The Canada Emergency Response Allowance, or CERB, provides $ 2,000 per month for up to four months to each Canadian who has lost their income due to COVID-19. Applications were opened this week and, in the first two days alone, the government received over 1.7 million applications.
But some Canadians who have already received the money have reported irregularities, including direct deposits of $ 4,000 – double the monthly amount.
According to the President of the Treasury Board, Jean-Yves Duclos, it is because these beneficiaries are paid retroactively for the four-week period that goes back to March 15, the first day that the benefit can be applied, as well as the next period. four weeks beginning April 11.
Duclos said Canadians should be aware of the double payment and the budget accordingly.
“Everyone must manage their budget, it being understood that it is $ 2,000 per month, regardless of when these $ 2,000 are actually deposited into their bank account”, he said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Since March 15, more than 4.26 million people have applied for financial assistance through EI and CERB. To date, 3.8 million CERB applications have been processed.
In total, this benefit is expected to cost the federal government $ 24 billion, according to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
No matter how the money is distributed, officials say follow-up measures are in place to ensure that each claimant receives only the maximum of $ 8,000 to which they are entitled for the 16-week period.
“Our main goal has always been to put money in the pockets of Canadians who need it during this difficult time, and to do it in a timely and accurate manner. As a result, Service Canada and the CRA have worked together to continually verify the accuracy of CERB payments, “said the office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Inclusion. people with disabilities Carla Qualtrough.
Applications for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) were opened on Monday for Canadians born in the first three months of the year, with a limit applying in the hopes of not overloading the system. On Tuesday, Canadians born from April to June were allowed to apply, those born from July to September were allowed Wednesday. Applications will be open Thursday for anyone born from October to December.
Those who sign up for direct deposit should receive money faster, within three to five days, while printed checks take approximately 10 days.
Anyone who became eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15 or later is automatically treated by CERB. Those who were eligible to receive more than $ 500 per week through EI will not be eligible for this higher amount with CERB, but their EI entitlement will not be affected once they have stopped. to receive CERB.
Some provinces have provided additional funding to low-income families, renters or others who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced recently relaxed rules for the wage subsidy program, which provides businesses with a subsidy on 75 percent of employee wages.
Now, companies that registered a 15% drop in March compared to January and February 2020 revenues can apply. Previously, companies were only eligible if they saw a 30% year-over-year decrease.
More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the second half of March due to the pandemic, which forced businesses across the country to close.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 19,000 people in Canada have been infected with the virus and 427 have died.