CERB eligibility extended for another eight weeks

Published On June 16, 2020 | By Rachael Dyal | COVID-19, News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen here at a COVID-19 news conference on June 16 at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, announced today the extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program for two more months. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)
Rachael Dyal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today the government will extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for another eight weeks.

Trudeau said eligibility for the CERB will be extended until Aug. 29 as part of the government’s continuation of support as people continue to face financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past few months, Canadians have been able to count on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help them get through a tough time,” Trudeau said. “The reality is that even as we start to reopen, a lot of people need the support to pay their bills while they look for work.

“Our goal here is to make sure the CERB is working for you in the best way possible,” he said.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that despite the economy slowly reopening, some sectors will get back into the swing of things faster than others. Last week, a draft bill that would have allowed the government to levy hefty fines and jail time against people who claimed CERB benefits but were ineligible was tabled. The legislation did not pass.

Ethan Han, a financial planner at the Bank of Montreal (BMO), said he can’t comment on what students should consider when applying for CERB, but he is concerned about how the CERB extension will affect the province’s economy.

“The (Ontario) government is already in a deficit. I’m concerned that, as a taxpayer, in the future this means heavier tax burdens,” he said.

“The government is giving money during the pandemic, the CERB and some other money to different people…in the future, the money is going to have to be paid back by existing taxpayers,” Han said.

However, Han acknowledged that different areas in each province are handling the pandemic differently, and understands why people in populated cities like Toronto or Montreal would need more financial support during this time.

The government started accepting CERB applications in early April for workers affected by COVID-19. Eligible applicants can claim up to $2,000 per month.

People were only allowed to claim CERB payments for up to 16 weeks before the extension, which will now end in August.

The CERB is not the only benefit people can claim during the crisis. The following infographic outlines the different federal benefits people can apply for and their eligibility requirements.

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