Following his announcement on Monday that the the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be extended, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed today that the financial aid program will remain in place for another 8 weeks.
During his daily address on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the current benefit for people whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic will be extended for Canadians who continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19.
“We’re beginning to see across the country that we are now in a place where we’re gradually and safely starting to reopen parts of the economy, but I am not going to sugar coat it: we still have a long journey ahead,” said Trudeau.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has been paid out to Canadians in the form of $500 a week, over the duration of the pandemic.
It was originally slated to last 16 weeks.
Initially, applicants received payments backdated to the middle of March, which means that those people who signed up for it immediately would see their benefits run out soon.
“So if you’ve been getting the CERB and you still can’t work because you’ve been unable to find a job or it’s just not possible, you will keep getting that $2,000 per month,” said the Prime Minister.
Trudeau stated that the federal government will be working on assessing the current aid programs in place, to see how the country can adapt to them as the economy moves forward.
“Over the next few weeks, our government will look at international best practices and monitor the economy and the progression of the virus to see what changes, if any, need to be made to the program so that more people are properly supported,” added Trudeau.
Extending the CERB will add to the cost of the benefit, which has already paid out $43.51 billion as of June 4, and carries a total budget of $60 billion.
Though no figure was mentioned in Tuesday’s address, Trudeau says the government hopes that fewer people will need the CERB as restrictions ease and businesses reopen.