Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will create a transitional benefit to help workers who exhaust emergency pandemic aid and don’t qualify for employment insurance.
The $80-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit is set to wind down over the coming weeks, with those who are EI-eligible to move onto that separate program.
Speaking this morning, Trudeau says many people who don’t qualify for the program, such as gig or contract workers, will gain access to a transitional, parallel benefit that is similar to EI.
It will also include access to training, and the ability to work more hours without having as steep a clawback in benefit payments, Trudeau says.
He says more details will be unveiled at a later date.
The most recent figures on the CERB show that as of July 26, the government had paid out $62.75 billion in benefits to 8.46 million unique applicants since its launch.
The government also announced on Friday that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program has been extended once again, and will now cover a portion of August’s rent for businesses that qualify.
To get the rent assistance, businesses will not have to prove a 70% decline in sales for July or August, but will have to show a 70% revenue shortfall that qualified them for CECRA in April, May and June.
The program’s low adoption rate was previously criticized by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which cited the onus on landlords and stringent requirements.
But on Friday, the government said that thousands of new applications are being regularly submitted, “demonstrating a strong interest in CECRA from property owners and small business tenants.”
About $613 million has been paid out to 63,000 tenants as of Thursday, the government said.