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Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit is about to include a lot more people

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The list of who is eligible to apply for Canada’s Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is about to include a lot more people, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today.

Trudeau said today that the benefit will soon be updated to include students, gig workers, contractors, volunteer firefighters and anyone who’s had their working hours reduced (10 hours a week or less).

It will also become available for “those who are working, but making less then they would with the benefit,” said Trudeau. 

“I’m thinking in particular homecare workers or long-term care workers looking after vulnerable seniors,” he added.

The benefit allocates $2,000 a month for up to 16 weeks to almost anyone facing financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of job loss.

The plan — which was unveiled on April 1 by the Canadian government — was criticized for being too restrictive but a growing movement demanding that recent graduates and graduate students be included in the benefit appears to be having an effect.

“There are also lots of university and college students wondering what kind of job you’ll get this summer. You need support now, and work is underway to get it to you as soon as possible,” Trudeau said today.

The CREB opened this morning at 6 a.m. and initially received over 240,000 applications, while the federal government says they’re prepared to handle millions more.


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