Liberal ministers to announce new supports for laid-off workers as CERB winds down

Liberal ministers to announce new supports for laid-off workers as CERB winds down-Milenio Stadium-Canada
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough, left, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland are expected to announce Thursday support for laid-off workers whose CERB benefits will run out in August but who won’t be able to transition to employment insurance. (Sean Kilpatrick, Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)


The federal government will announce new measures Thursday to help Canadians thrown out of work because of the global pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. ET in Ottawa to outline financial supports for those who don’t qualify for employment insurance (EI) when the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) runs out.

CERB provides $2,000 a month for up to six months.

According to the government, four million people are currently on CERB, and many have already received their last payment. Others will exhaust the benefit on Aug. 29.

The government is announcing Thursday that it expects nearly three million of those Canadians will be able to transition to EI.

Freeland and Qualtrough are expected to outline a plan to help those who don’t qualify, such as gig economy or contract workers.

It’s not clear yet how the changes will be implemented given that Parliament is shut down until Sept. 23.

Last month, the government said those who qualify for EI will be transitioned when the CERB program winds down and promised a parallel, transitional benefit for those who weren’t eligible under existing rules.

It will include access to training and the ability to work more hours without having as steep a clawback in benefit payments, Qualtrough said at the time.

The government also promised to relax EI eligibility rules, such as the number of hours required to receive support payments.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the goal is to move everyone receiving CERB to EI and cover anyone looking for work “with a better, 21st-century EI system.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh issued a statement Wednesday urging the government to extend CERB through September.

“Millions of people across the country are stressed about how they’re going to make ends meet when the Liberals cancel the CERB at the end of the month,” he said.

“Instead of reassuring people and giving them answers, Justin Trudeau shut down Parliament and raised even more uncertainty about what happens next.”


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