Canada unveils new financial assistance plan for economic recovery

The Canadian government has announced a new financial assistance plan for the recovery of the country’s coronavirus-hit economy.

At a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, along with Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, announced the new plan for the next phase of economic recovery when Canada continues to face the worst economic downturn in history, reports Xinhua news agency.

The new plan includes the extended Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the creation of three new benefit programs.

The CERB will be extended by another four weeks to September, and a new benefit that pays C$400 ($303) for up to 26 weeks will replace it for those ineligible for employment insurance.

Anyone eligible for employment insurance will get the same minimum for at least 26 weeks and will need to have worked 120 hours to qualify, well below current employment insurance requirements, since many Canadians have been unable to work to the pandemic.

The second new benefit is a caregiving benefit of C$500 a week. This is meant to help anyone who has to stay home because school or daycare is closed.

The third new benefit will provide C$500 for up to two weeks for those who don’t have paid sick leave and become sick or must self-isolate due to reasons linked to COVID-19.

The CERB, which has already paid out more than C$69 billion to more than 8.6 million recipients, will be in place until September 27.

The CERB pays people C$2,000 a month.

Applications for the new benefits are scheduled to open in October.

However, the new benefits require parliamentary approval.

The Canadian Parliament is currently suspended until September when the House of Commons will begin a new session.