At a press conference in Ottawa, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said CERB was introduced quickly at a time when most of the economy was at a standstill. As the country enters economic recovery mode, the government is in a better position to provide financial support in a more sophisticated way, she said.
“I think we have created, in Bill C-2, a much more elegant balance between the need not to discourage work, but also to support people who, regardless of the effort, are still not working or dramatically reduced their hours, ”she told me.
Qualtrough said the past few months have revealed shortcomings in the EI system, which is why the government wants to modernize it to better reflect Canada’s current job market.
The measures in the current legislation provide greater flexibility in the hours of work required for EI benefits, making it easier for people to qualify for a period of one year.
Expansion of EI, new “recovery” benefits
Canadians who were already eligible for EI will switch to this program when CERB ends this weekend, while those who do not qualify will be able to apply for new “recovery” benefits.
Self-employed or on-demand workers, for example, can receive up to $ 500 per week (up from $ 400, as originally advertised) for 26 weeks if they have stopped working or lost income in the process. due to COVID-19.
Under the new regime, these workers can continue to earn money while receiving this benefit, but will have to repay 50 cents for every dollar earned above $ 38,000.
A second new benefit will provide 10 days of paid sick leave to any worker in Canada who becomes ill or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. This benefit is worth $ 500 per week. No one can claim this benefit and another sick leave payment at the same time.
This sick leave program was negotiated with the provinces and territories as part of an agreement to safely boost the national economy.
Qualtrough urges opposition to support bill
A third benefit will help Canadians who have to stay home to care for a child under 12 or other dependent because their school, daycare or other day care facility has been closed in due to COVID. People who choose to keep their children at home even when these facilities are open will not be eligible unless they provide proof of a medical reason to do so, such as an immunodeficiency disorder.
The benefits of clawback require parliamentary approval, but the government aims to open applications in October, with benefits leaking in three to five days.
Qualtrough stressed the “urgency” of securing the benefits for Canadians in need, and said she hopes MPs from all parties will pass the bill quickly.
Watch / Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough on the new benefits of COVID-19:
“I will leave the House’s strategy to the experts on this point, but I can assure you that I am doing my part, working with my colleagues across the way to make sure this is brought forward collaboratively and supported by everyone.” She said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also urged the opposition not to block the bill.
“Failure to extend the legislation we are proposing today could disrupt these payments, with very damaging consequences for the lives of people, for families and for businesses across the country,” she said. .
Conservative employment critic Peter Kent accused the Liberals of trying to ‘force’ the bill to distract from a throne speech that did not meet the needs of millions of Canadians .
“Millions of Canadians are still unemployed and eager to return to work. Businesses want to reopen and welcome back staff and customers. But instead of showing leadership and showing Canadians a clear path through the pandemic, Trudeau’s Liberals continue to fail Canadians. He said in a statement, promising that the Conservatives will come up with a plan that will keep Canadians safe, protect jobs and get the country back on track.