The Canadian government is going to merge two previously-announced employment insurance benefits for Canadians who are without an income because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new benefit combines the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit into one program called the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
This benefit will pay $2,000 a month for four months for people who are out of work or unable to work as a result of COVID-19, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday (March 25th)
“If you lost your job because of COVID-19, whether you're full time contract or self-employed, this new benefit will be there for you,” Trudeau told reporters from his home in Ottawa. “If you're sick or quarantined looking after someone sick, or at home taking care of your kids. It's there for you. And even if you're still employed but not receiving income because of this crisis, the CERB is there for you.”
The financial assistance will kick in about 10 days after applying, Trudeau said, noting that nearly one million Canadians applied for employment insurance in the last week.
“Far too many Canadians are having these tough conversations about finances and their future…The hard truth is that people are out of work because of this crisis and worried about what comes next,” said Trudeau.
The Prime Minister confirmed that more financial assistance is coming as COVID-19 continues to impact communities countrywide.
After select Canadian MPs returned to Ottawa this week, the House of Commons passed emergency legislation on Wednesday to free up $82 billion to help Canadians during the coronavirus crisis.
That bill is now up to the Senate to approve, reports say.
10,000 daily tests
Trudeau is nearing the end of his own 14-day self-isolation at Rideau Cottage, where he lives in Ottawa. The Prime Minister went into self-isolation after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for COVID-19 weeks back.
Trudeau said Sophie feels “much better,” noting that he himself has not experienced any symptoms of COVID-19.
The PM said that roughly 10,000 people are getting tested for COVID-19 each day in Canada.
Worldwide, more than 425,000 people have been infected by the virus and nearly 19,000 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University case tracker.
As of Monday morning, there were 2,892 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 28 deaths and 186 cases listed by provinces as recovered or resolved.
There has also been one COVID-19 related death of a Canadian reported abroad.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's top public health officer, said a passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died in Japan, CBC News reports.