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Senators call for changes to COVID-19 aid and more transparency on spending

Last Updated Jul 14, 2020 at 10:08 am EDT

The Senate of Canada building and Senate Chamber are pictured in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2019. CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The Senate’s finance committee says the Trudeau Liberals need to tell people very soon what they will do for those who max out a key federal COVID-19 benefit in the fall without jobs to go back to.

The $500-a-week Canada Emergency Response Benefit is set to run out in September for millions of workers who have seen their incomes shrink or dry up entirely.

The committee’s report recommends the government provide declining CERB payments as incomes rise, rather than applying the current strict cut-off.

Senators are also calling on the Liberals to consider a guaranteed income program to make sure all Canadians have the means to meet their basic needs.

The recommendations are among several the committee makes in its review out today of the Liberals’ emergency aid programs.

Underlying many of the recommendations is a concern from the committee about what it says is a need to address a “lack of accountability and transparency” in federal spending.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press