A $37-billion plan was unveiled by the Trudeau government for workers that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, reports Global News. The plan was released just weeks before the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is set to come to an end.
Included in the new measures are changes to the current Employment Insurance program as well as three additional benefit programs.
Those eligible for EI benefits will be able to receive the same minimum for no less than 26 weeks and are required to have accumulated 120 working hours to qualify—far below the current EI requirements.
Ottawa also plans on stretching the CERB program for an additional four weeks. It will be replaced by a new benefit that provides $400 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks for people who are not eligible for EI.
One of the new benefits is a caregiving benefit that provides $550 per week. According to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, the benefit helps people who are forced to stay home because of an illness or because daycare or school is closed.
During a press conference on Thursday, Qualtrough added that she believes the benefit will be a large help to women as they are often caretakers.
A third benefit will give $500 per week for a maximum of two weeks to workers without access to other sick leave benefits.
There are also changes coming that will enable workers to retain more of their benefits while working.
Senior officials say that most of the changes will take place on Sept. 27 and stay in place for one year. The one-month CERB extension is expected to cost taxpayers $8 billion and the planned EI modifications are expected to cost $7 billion. Officials say the new benefit programs will cost $22 billion.
About four million Canadians are still currently receiving CERB and three million of those Canadians are expected to make the transition to EI. One million people are expected to move on to other benefits.