The federal government plans to transition recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to the Employment Insurance (EI) program as the $80-billion coronavirus aid program wraps up this fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
Ottawa will also create a “transitional, parallel benefit” that is similar to EI for people who don’t qualify for the unemployment benefit, such as contract and gig workers.
“We intend to cover every Canadian who is looking for work with a better, 21st-century EI system.”
The last scheduled CERB pay period is set to end on Sept. 26. The taxable, personal income benefit — launched in early April — provides $2,000 every four weeks to eligible applicants who lost work or their jobs due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as of mid-March.
The federal government later extended the duration of the CERB program through the summer. Eligible applicants can claim the benefit for a maximum of six, four-week periods.
According to the government’s website, Ottawa has transferred $62.75 billion to 8.46 million unique applicants as of July 26.
He added that the government will also set up a “sickness and caregivers benefit” for individuals who contract the virus — or have a family member who did — and don’t have coverage through their job.