Financial support available Monday; Ottawa considers direct help for students

Canada-U.S.-3M dispute over respirator masks continues

On Monday starting at 3 a.m., Canadians will be able to apply for financial support from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program by logging onto Canada.ca

The first payment will be received in three to five days for those requesting direct deposit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his daily COVID-19 press conference on Sunday.

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Those receiving CERB support by mail can expect to wait 10 days. Trudeau also said that the government is working to ensure that the Canada Revenue Agency’s online system isn’t overloaded in the coming days as Canadians apply for benefits.

Trudeau addressed the question of how employees being paid less than $2,000 per month would be motivated to keep going to work if they could stay at home and collect CERB and receive $2,000 a month. He said his government was looking to address this.

“We recognize anytime we’re doing big measures like this there will be unforeseen consequences.”

Trudeau said the government is developing other programs to encourage essential workers to continue to work instead of taking the CERB benefits. Truedau said these programs will be announced in the coming days.

He thanked businesses who were helping to supply Canada’s front-line workers, and called on those with specialized skills to add their names to a list of volunteers to help provinces and territories with everything from tracking and tracing COVID-19 cases to collecting and reporting data. Applications can be made online and will be open to April 24.

In an update to the U.S.-Canada 3M dispute over President Donald Trump’s attempt to stop N95 respirator masks from being exported to Canada, Trudeau said he expects Canada will have domestic mask production capacity needed to meet this country’s needs within the coming weeks. 

Trudeau added that his government is in talks with the U.S. and is working to resolve the issue. He said both sides of the border benefit from the trade of essential services and said he is making that point to the Trump administration.

In response to media questions, Trudeau highlighted the role temporary foreign workers play within Canada’s food supply chain, saying those workers would be allowed to work in Canada’s agriculture and fishing industries after being subject to a 14-day quarantine. He also suggested that summer students looking for work could also provide needed support. 

In response to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix’s calls for increased screening at the border, Trudeau said that there will be fewer people arriving to Canada in the coming weeks as most Canadians have already returned home and reiterated the importance of following public health guidelines of quarantining for 14 days.

Trudeau added that the government is looking at programs to help students who will have a hard time finding a summer job to pay for next year’s tuition in light of COVID-19. He said his government is considering support measures for students, from modifications to the Canada Summer Job Program to direct financial support.

The federal government is also offering full-time jobs to all Canadian Armed Forces reservists, offering the same pay and benefits of regular service members. Trudeau said this is being done to bolster the military and help the economy during COVID-19.

 

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