OTTAWA – At a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the need to get money into the hands of Canadians impacted by COVID-19 faster.
Trudeau says the two benefit programs announced last week have now been merged into one program – the CERB – that he hopes will streamline the process. The program will pay $2,000 a month for four months to workers whose income drops to zero because of the pandemic, including those furloughed by their employers but technically still have jobs.
When asked about a timeline, Trudeau says he knows how much pressure there is to help people as soon as possible and the government “needs to establish quick and reliable systems to achieve that.” The government hopes to have the system online by April 6 and has redeployed thousands of civil servants to work on the benefits package so the funds can flow to people as soon as possible.
Trudeau says he hopes they can start accepting applications before April 6 and that direct deposits will be “flowing days after that.” But, he acknowledges there are people who have been off work for two weeks now and he says they’re looking at measures to help them.
The government is also looking to other countries for more direct ways to help businesses. More details on this are expected to come out later this week, with Trudeau noting today the government “worked very quickly to make credit available for businesses during the crisis.”