Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen as he delivers a commencement speech in Ottawa on Wednesday June 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Feds working on a way to extend CERB payments, Trudeau says

Details are to be announced later this week

The federal government is “working on a solution” to extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The CERB pays out $500 per week (or $2,000 per month) for people who have lost their job or earn no more than $1,000 per four-week period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The benefit currently maxes out at 16 weeks and began on March 15, meaning it will run out for many on July 15.

Trudeau said the details will be announced later this week.

“I will be making an announcement in the coming days… but for now, all I can say is that we will continue to be there to support Canadians,” Trudeau said.

The Parliamentary Budget Office last week predicted that extending the emergency benefit would cost the federal treasury an additional $64 billion.

Discussion on extending the CERB come as Liberals and other federal parties spar over bringing in fines for people who fraudulently claimed the benefit.

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the government was investigating 1,300 tips as of June 7, while nearly 190,000 people had repaid the benefit voluntarily.

More than 8.41 million people have applied for the CERB, with $43.51 billion in payments made as of June 4.

READ MORE: Fines, punishment for CERB ‘fraudsters’, not people who made mistakes: Trudeau

READ MORE: Greens call CERB fraud bill ‘wrong-headed’ as it fails to get support

READ MORE: Extending CERB for months could double $60-billion budget, PBO report suggests


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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