CERB unlikely to be extended again despite increasing calls for Canada to do so
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was recently extended to six months, but Canadians can still only claim a maximum of 16 weeks of funding during that time period.
Right now, the CERB provides more than eight million Canadians with $2,000 a month, and the benefit is available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020.
For many Canadians that began claiming benefits in March, that timeline expires on July 15 — but people are hoping to extend it.
Reminder! Born in January, February or March? You can now apply for the third period of the #CERB (May 10th to June 6th). If you qualify for the first or second period, but haven’t applied yet, you can still apply. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/AtuX7OZ6Rg— Canada Revenue Agency (@CanRevAgency) May 11, 2020
People have been asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to extend the CERB since early May, but their voices are growing louder as the July deadline looms.
"Canadian individuals and families continue to need support," one person wrote. "Not everyone is back to work."
Curious to know if the #CERB will be extended like the #CEWS.— Candies Kotchapaw (@CandiesKotchap1) May 28, 2020
Canadian individuals and families continue to need support through #COVID-19 and are just as important as businesses.
Not everyone is back to work - #extendCERB@TOAdamVaughan @HonAhmedHussen @JustinTrudeau
The Canadian Actors' Equity Association has even put out a statement encouraging people to lobby their local MPs to extend the benefit beyond 16 weeks.
"It is clear that the live performance sector is going to be one of the very last sectors to reopen," their website reads. "This prolonged closure seriously restricts Equity members' access to work opportunities and ability to earn income."
It's 2AM. I can't sleep b/c my anxiety is bubbling up worrying about if #CERB will be extended past the four month eligibility. I am an actor who would love to return to work but live theatre/film sets aren't safe to open yet. I don't want to be living off of this, but need to.1/— ashley comeau (@ashleycomeau) May 26, 2020
And it's not just actors; the arts industry in general is reporting the second highest number of layoffs throughout the pandemic.
Travel agents, flight attendants, pilots, cruise ship entertainers, and Canadians in any form of recreational activity have also taken a huge financial hit as a result of the pandemic.
We desperately need the cerb extended longer for seasonal restaurant workers! Our work season is half over and with the lack of tourists there is no way we will survive the winter! Please, please help!#coronavirus— Jamie Stradeski (@StradeskiJamie) May 26, 2020
Seasonal contract workers and freelancers are also particularly vulnerable to the financial impact of the lockdown.
The government previously extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until August 29, tacking an additional 12 weeks onto the program, and many Canadians are hoping that the CERB will follow suit.
CERB needs to be extended to August as the wage subsidy. Most independent contractors, freelancers are supporting clients, staying on touch, working but not having actual contracts and pay. @JustinTrudeau please extend equally to wage subsidy. TY.— Under the Radar (@retail_recruit) May 27, 2020
Trudeau has yet to say definitively whether or not the CERB will be extended, but he said that some of the aid programs will have to be tweaked in the coming weeks.
Others will have to end entirely.
"We are still very much in the emergency phase, in the crisis phase of this, even as we're seeing careful reopenings," he said on Wednesday, per Investment Executive.
"We will, however, look very carefully at how we end certain programs, how we modify others in order to get our economy going again to where it was before."
BREAKING: Prime Minister doesn't say CERB will be extended. Says all programs eventually have to come to an end.— Jessy Bains (@jessysbains) May 27, 2020
With provinces in Canada slowly reopening their economies, the government is focusing their efforts primarily on getting Canadians back to work now.
"Maintaining the connection between employer and employee is key not just to helping people get back on their feet, but to keeping our economy strong," Trudeau said, speaking about the CEWS on Wednesday.
"That's why it's so important that employers take advantage of this program and rehire their workers."
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