Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a statement about the situation in Hong Kong at the start of a news conference in Gatineau, Que., Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Nearly 11M Canadians have received COVID-19 emergency benefit, wage subsidy: Trudeau

Trudeau says cost of doing nothing would be much higher

Nearly 11 million Canadians have received financial support via two COVID-19 benefit programs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a Wednesday (July 8) press briefing on Parliament Hill.

Trudeau acknowledged the high cost of COVID aid programs, but said the “cost of doing nothing would have been far more.”

“When the pandemic first hit, a lot of people lost their jobs overnight,” he said.

Although Ottawa has unveiled a variety of financial top-ups to help amid the pandemic, the two biggest ones have been the Canada Emergency Response Benefit(CERB), which provides $500 a week for out-of-work Canadians until September, and the wage subsidy, which helps employers cover payroll costs.

So far, both programs have paid out funds to nearly 11 million Canadians, mostly through the emergency response benefit.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to provide a fiscal snapshot later on Wednesday. Health officials will also provide an update on the COVID-19 outbreak.


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