Ottawa Phases Out COVID-19 Benefit That Paid Canadians $2,000 A Month

The federal government is phasing out at the end of August the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) that has paid people $2,000 a month during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that CERB recipients will be moved into an expanded employment insurance system going forward. Trudeau added that people who don’t immediately qualify for employment benefits will receive a stipend while the government reworks the country’s employment system.

The end of CERB is part of an effort by the federal government to wean Canadians off the monthly aid and get them back into the workforce. Pushing people off too quickly could come at a political cost and hamper the economic recovery. Moving too slowly could be just as risky, giving people a disincentive to return to work.

About 8.5 million Canadians, more than 40% of Canada’s labor force, received at least one CERB payment. The program had delivered $63 billion in benefits as of August 1.