Liberals enrich some COVID-19 benefits in new bill, urge all MPs to support it

The federal authorities tabled laws in the present day to present what it’s calling a “protected bridge” for Canadians who’re nonetheless experiencing misplaced revenue due to COVID-19.

The proposed new suite of measures goals to transition folks from the Canada emergency response profit (CERB) to an employment insurance coverage program with expanded eligibility, or to certainly one of three new restoration benefits.

Bill C-2 additionally offers for a 10-day sick depart profit — one thing the NDP had demanded.

During a information convention in Ottawa, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough mentioned the CERB was launched shortly at a time when many of the economic system was at a standstill. As the nation strikes into financial restoration mode, the federal government is best positioned to ship monetary support in a extra subtle means, she mentioned.

“I feel we have created, in Bill C-2, a way more elegant steadiness between the necessity to not disincentivize work, but additionally support individuals who, no matter effort, nonetheless aren’t working or have considerably decreased hours,” she mentioned.

Qualtrough mentioned the previous few months have uncovered gaps in the EI system, which is why the federal government desires to modernize it to higher mirror Canada’s present labour market.

Measures in in the present day’s laws supply higher flexibility on the work hours required for the EI profit, making it simpler for folks to qualify for a one-year interval.

Expanded EI, new ‘restoration’ benefits

Canadians who already have been eligible for EI will transition to that program when CERB winds down this weekend, whereas those that do not qualify can apply for new “restoration” benefits.

Self-employed or gig staff, for instance, can obtain up to $500 per week (up from $400, as it was initially introduced) for up to 26 weeks if they’ve stopped working or misplaced revenue due to COVID-19.

The Conservatives have mentioned they will not support yesterday’s throne speech, whereas the Bloc Québécois has mentioned it will not support it until the federal government boosts well being care transfers to the provinces with no strings hooked up.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh mentioned he needed to see the federal government observe by way of on its promise to present a 10-day nationwide sick depart profit and make sure that nobody loses out throughout the transition from CERB to EI, or to different restoration profit packages.

Speaking to reporters after query interval in the present day, Singh known as the enhance to $500 per week from the proposed $400 a “main victory” for Canadians however added he nonetheless has issues about how accessible the paid sick depart will probably be. He refused to clarify in element what he’s asking for, saying that negotiations with the federal government are ongoing and these talks may have an effect on your entire invoice.

Singh additionally declined to say if the NDP would support the throne speech. The authorities wants the NDP’s support to survive a confidence vote and keep away from an early election.

“We’re very optimistic in regards to the consequence of those negotiations. Things are trying good. If they work out, we will probably be ready to vote for this proposal, this laws, then we are going to advise you as the following votes come up. We will let about these votes,” he mentioned.

Under the new regime, these staff can proceed to earn money whereas receiving this profit however will probably be required to repay 50 cents of each greenback earned above $38,000.

A second new profit will present 10 days of paid sick depart to any employee in Canada who falls in poor health or has to self-isolate due to COVID-19. That profit is price $500 per week. No one can declare this profit and one other sick depart fee on the identical time.

That sick depart program was negotiated with the provinces and territories beneath an settlement to restart the nationwide economic system safely.

Qualtrough urges opposition to support invoice

A 3rd profit will support Canadians who should keep house to care for a kid beneath 12 or one other dependent as a result of their faculty, daycare or different day program facility has been shut down due to COVID. People who select to preserve their youngsters house even when these amenities are open won’t qualify until they supply proof of a medical cause to achieve this, reminiscent of an immunodeficiency dysfunction. 

The restoration benefits require parliamentary approval, however the authorities goals to open purposes in October, with benefits flowing in three to 5 days.

Qualtrough burdened the “urgency” of getting the benefits to Canadians in want, and mentioned she hopes MPs from all events will swiftly cross the invoice. 

Watch / Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough on new COVID-19 benefits:

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough stresses the consultations she has made along with her opposition critics in an effort to get their support for her invoice. 0:31

“I’ll depart the House technique to the consultants on that, however I can guarantee you I’m doing my half, working with my colleagues throughout the aisle to make certain that is collaboratively introduced ahead and supported by everybody,” she mentioned.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland additionally urged the opposition not to stall the invoice.

“Failure to prolong the laws we’re placing ahead in the present day may disrupt these funds, with very dangerous penalties for folks’s lives, for households and for companies throughout the nation,” she mentioned.

Conservative employment critic Peter Kent accused the Liberals of making an attempt to “ram by way of” the laws to distract from a throne speech that did not deal with the wants of thousands and thousands of Canadians.

“Millions of Canadians are nonetheless unemployed and keen to return to work. Businesses need to reopen and welcome again employees and prospects. But as an alternative of displaying management and presenting Canadians with a transparent path ahead by way of the pandemic, the Trudeau Liberals proceed to let Canadians down,” he mentioned in a press release, vowing that the Conservatives will current a plan that can preserve Canadians protected, defend jobs and get the nation again on observe.

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