Feds extend CERB eight more weeks

CERB previously set to end first week of July

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | Government of Canada

Workers left out of a job due to the pandemic will be getting a few more weeks of relief.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday (June 16) the federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) eight weeks.

The 16-week program was due to end the first week of July.

The extension means the $2,000 monthly payments are now set to conclude after the last full week of August.

The prime minister did not offer a cost estimate of the extension when asked.

Instead, he said the hope is that fewer Canadians will need to tap the CERB as the economy opens up across the nation.

The federal Liberals proposed a bill last week that would call for CERB recipients to certify they are actively searching for work while accepting benefits.

The legislation also proposed fines for those who fraudulently applied for the benefit.

The bill fell apart when it was not able to find support within the minority Parliament.

Trudeau said his government was extending the CERB out of concerns that economic renewal for the country won’t come fast enough for Canadians who still find themselves out of work.

One bid to boost the economy — at least for select regions — has been undertaken by provinces to offer either Vancouver, Edmonton or Toronto as hub cities for the resumption of the NHL season.

The efforts have garnered the support of the government in Victoria as well as B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry.

“Obviously the decision needs to be made by the NHL, and the cities and the provinces in the jurisdiction but Canada is open to it as long as it is OK by the local authorities,” Trudeau said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also confirmed during his media briefing that Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across the border 30 days to July 31.

Trudeau said the measures were being undertaken to keep residents on both sides of the border safe during the pandemic.

While B.C. COVID-19 cases numbers have been flattening in recent weeks, neighbouring Washington state has 25,171 confirmed cases compared with B.C.’s 2,745 cases.

As if June 15, 2,395 COVID-19 patients in B.C. have recovered.