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HomeNews"We want people working," Federal Employment Minister talks CERB transition, disability benefits

“We want people working,” Federal Employment Minister talks CERB transition, disability benefits

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) has been extended until September 27th, however, the million-dollar question that is on the minds of Northern BC residents is what the transition will look like.

Over 8.5 million Canadians have collected 2-thousand dollars a month through the CERB since April.

In an exclusive interview with Vista Radio, Federal Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough touched on several new benefits including a revamped Employment Insurance System.

She mentioned Canadians are still facing quite a few uncertainties ranging from availability to work, job loss, daycare, or school.

The M-P stated Ottawa is trying to create more of a buffer.

“While at the same time we are trying to signal that there are jobs available, we do want people working, we want you to go to work if you can and if you have the opportunity. We have learned from the CERB and we have learned from the challenges we faced in getting everybody into EI and I think we have come up with the right balance of support.”

In addition, there will be a lowering of the minimum hours required to receive E-I benefits and a special credit of hours for parents of school-aged children.

Three new benefits for those still out of work due to the pandemic will also include two weeks of paid sick leave for those not receiving such benefits from their employer.

In total, the entire program is expected to cost 37-billion dollars.and a package of legislation will be presented to Parliament after it resumes on September 23rd.

Many people in the political world including former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall are of the opinion the transition from CERB should focus on entrepreneurship and training as there might be some jobs that never return once the pandemic concludes.

This is a stance Qualtrough agrees with.

“I think that is a really key part to any successful economic recovery from the pandemic. One of the benefits in getting people into the EI system is that there is access to training and we’re going to enhance that for people and provide training to people on the recovery benefit who aren’t on EI.”

“We work really closely with the provinces and BC is a really good example of that relationship, we fund the provincial government, which provides training to people on EI and then so again, it’s one of the best systems we have right now.”

Supporting those with disabilities also remains a top priority for Qualtrough.

After some tense moments last month, a one-time, non-refundable tax credit of $600 is available for those considered more vulnerable.

Qualtrough added they wanted to help those who were facing additional costs because of COVID-19.

“Whether you get the Disability Tax Credit or you are CPP disability or are on Veteran receiving disability benefits, if you are in one of these federal programs, you’ll receive a one-time payment.”

“And we’re in the process of giving people more time to apply for the Disability Tax Credit, one of the things people were worried about was that because of low income and other reasons they weren’t part of those three other groups even though they had some form of disability.”

Anyone who wishes to apply for the credit must do so by September 25th.

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