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Canada Revenue Agency is now taking applications from Canadians for the new federal emergency aid benefit for those who lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CTV News.
The application periods are broken up by birth month. Applications this week are open for Canadians born in the first three months of the year, those born in the months following will be able to apply as the week goes on.
The agency is splitting applicants into groups so not to overwhelm their online systems and telephone service. Over two million Canadians have lost their jobs in the last two weeks alone due to businesses being forced to close, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Others have been forced to self-isolate at home or must stay home to care for their children as schools and daycares are temporarily on hold.
For those with birthdays in April, May and June, applications will open on Tuesday. Wednesday will be for those born July, August, September. Thursday will open for those born in October, November and December. For those who have yet to apply by the end of the week, Saturday and Sunday will be open for anyone.
The wage benefit is expected to cost the government a total of $24 billion, according to Finance Minister, Bill Morneau.
Canadians who sign up for direct deposit can expect their payments as early as the end of this week announced Prime Minister Trudeau on Sunday. Direct deposit applicants are expected to receive the money within three to five days whereas applicants who chose printed cheques will likely have to wait closer to 10 days.
"While we still have a lot of work to do, we're making good progress on getting you the support you need as quickly as possible," said Trudeau.
Pierre Poilievre has been critical of the aid package, claiming it leaves certain people who are in much need, completely out of the offer. Poilievre said the plan has, "serious design and delivery flaws" that need to be fixed.
The benefit requires that the employment income of the applicants must be $5,000 to qualify, however some small business owners won't meet that because they have been paying themselves in dividends, according to Poilievre. He also said that a worker who has lost the majority of their income but still retains some contracts or a handful of clients won't qualify either because applicants aren't eligible if they are receiving any current income.
"They are effectively banned from doing any amount of work that might help keep their business open," said Poilievre.
Poilievre is calling for all small business owners to be viewed as employees for the duration of the pandemic and receive the emergency benefit the way any employee would.
Peter Julian and Gord Johns, both MP's for the NDP asked Morneau to make some changes as well, asking him to address the fact that the benefit also gives applicants an incentive not to work at all.
Those who have lost the majority of their shifts, or lost one of their two part-time jobs, "are living on significantly reduced incomes" yet still won't qualify for the aid.
"The consequences are that they are now asking to be laid off or furloughed so that they can access the CERB," they wrote. "This is causing significant disruptions to normal business, to essential services, and to community contributions on local economies."
In order to be eligible for the benefit, applicant's must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to applying. The benefit will be the same for everyone regardless of their income before applying. The full information on the roll-out and how to apply is available on Canada.ca.