FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau says Parliament needs to pass more COVID-19 benefits, CERB details announced

Wage subsidy program has been greatly expanded since it was first approved

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday (April 1) he is asking other federal party leaders to recall Parliament, as he seeks to pass perhaps the biggest aid package in Canada’s history. While Parliament has already approved the $2,000 wage benefit for laid-off workers, the Liberals have greatly expanded the 75 per cent wage subsidy since its approval.

Last Friday (March 27), Trudeau said the wage subsidy program would provide 75 per cent of wages for small business. That was already an update from the aid package passed by Parliament, which promised just 10 per cent of wages for small businesses.

On Monday (March 30), Trudeau said the program would expand to all businesses whose revenues have dropped by at least 30 per cent.

At a press conference following Trudeau’s, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said it is “right and proper” to take the expanded plan to Parliament and allow the opposition to debate it. Freeland said she hoped opposition parties would understand that “now is not the time for partisanship.”

While the Liberals have delayed releasing details and costs from the plan, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to announced details later on Wednesday.

TD Economics has previously estimated that the enhanced subsidy would cost about $25 billion, while RBC separately estimated its value at $28 billion.

The government is also expected to provide more details today on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a taxable benefit that is to provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income due to COVID-19.

Trudeau confirmed Wednesday that people cannot apply for the CERB if their employer receives the 75 per cent wage subsidy.

Applying for the CERB

For the CERB, people born in January, February and March are asked to apply April 6. Those born in April, May and June are asked to apply April 7, those born in July, August and September are asked to apply April 8 and those born October, November and December are asked to apply April 9.

Eligibility requirements for the emergency benefit include:

  • 15 years old or above
  • Stopped working due to COVID-19, or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to applying

  • Who are, or expect to be without employment or self-employment for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period

READ MORE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

READ MORE: Canada to spend $192M to find vaccine for COVID-19, Trudeau says

READ MORE: Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs

– With files from The Canadian Press


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