Trudeau says program extension delayed some CERB payments

Trudeau says program extension delayed some CERB payments

OTTAWA — There have been some delays getting some emergency pandemic benefit cheques out the door this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged Thursday.

“We’re working through some of the challenges because there was an extension,” Trudeau said in an interview with Paddy Daly of radio station VOCM in St. John’s, N.L.

“There might be a couple little hiccups, but we have said from the beginning we’d be there for Canadians and we will continue to be there for them.”

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, paying up to $500 a week to people whose jobs or hours were cut in the COVID-19 pandemic, was due to expire at the end of August. On Aug. 20, the Liberals extended it by four weeks as they promised a transition to a revised program.

However some people who applied for the benefit for September did not receive it yet as expected.

Trudeau’s virtual visit to Atlantic Canada followed a day of digital touring around British Columbia Wednesday. Trudeau met online with Premier John Horgan and consulted with B.C. business and environmental leaders about how to ensure a green economic recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Trudeau is planning to unveil what he promises will be a bold economic recovery plan in a throne speech on Sept. 23. The speech will be put to a confidence vote, which could potentially result in the defeat of the minority Liberal government.

With the possibility of a fall election in mind, the Atlantic tour had a political flavour. Liberal MPs accompanied the prime minister on virtual visits to businesses that have used various federal emergency aid programs to stay afloat during the health crisis.

Trudeau also spoke with Newfoundland and Labrador’s new Liberal premier, Andrew Furey. Following that meeting, Furey and Trudeau announced that Newfoundland would start using the federal COVID alert app.

Trudeau then met online with the owner and employees of Louisbourg Seafoods in Nova Scotia, which used the emergency wage subsidy to continue operations during the pandemic.

He also had an online stop at Distillerie Fils du Roy in New Brunswick, an Acadian company that switched from producing spirits to hand sanitizer during the pandemic to supply governments and essential workers, with the help of a federal emergency loan program.

Trudeau was also to have a meeting at Tronosjet Maintenance Inc., a Prince Edward Island aerospace company that has been producing disposable 3D printed protective caps for ear thermometers to address shortages at a local hospital and is hoping to develop additional testing equipment.

Trudeau normally uses the summer to travel the country and engage in outreach with community leaders and voters outside the Ottawa bubble but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a severe crimp in his usual cross-country travels.

Like other political leaders, Trudeau has been forced to find other ways to conduct regional outreach.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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