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Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer said on Thursday that the CERB has discouraged Canadians from returning to work, with the Conservatives proposing a descending scale of benefits rather than a binary all-or-nothing fund.
"It will remove that barrier to work," said Scheer, according to Blacklocks Reporter. "Canadians want to work. Businesses want to get Canadians back to work. But the government has structured the CERB in such a way that workers are penalized for picking up shifts."
Scheer also criticized Parliament's decision to allow tax filers who earn up to $1,000 a month to qualify for benefits, noting that it was unfair to businesses who are seeking employees. Rather than providing funds based on employment, Scheer said, funding should be phased out by fifty cents per dollar earned through an employer, up to $4,500 a month.
"It will ensure workers are always better off when they work more and they earn more," said Scheer.
"You can imagine a scenario perhaps in the early part of the month where someone has earned just under $1,000 and a small business owner calls them up and offers them a few more shifts," Scheer continued. "They’re now in a very difficult position. If they accept those shifts and the owner of the company cannot continue to offer the same number of hours throughout the remaining weeks in the month, they lose their entire CERB. They could find themselves much worse off."
The Conservatives are not alone in their criticism of the CERB and its $1,000 cap. NDP MP Gord Johns called the system a "big problem," stating: "Part-time workers who have lost two or three of their part-time jobs, they’re down to one, and they’re asking employers to lay them off so they can collect the [CERB.]"
Green Party MP Paul Manley said the CERB regulations are "not helping a long list of people."
Liberal MP Julie Dzerowicz told the House of Commons finance committee on April 2 that those on the CERB should not be dinged for taking on part time work through an employer. "Some of them really want to keep some tiny contracts so when they eventually come out of this crisis they might actually continue to have some business," she said.