Canada Recovery Benefit ends, leaving 880,000 without income support

The Canada Recovery Benefit ends today, and is being replaced with the $300/week Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit. But as Kier Junos reports, over 880,000 Canadian workers who made use of the CRB can’t immediately switch over.

By Aly Laube

The Canada Recovery Benefit comes to an end on Oct. 23, leaving over 880,000 people without income support starting Sunday, one report says.

Applicants have been getting $600 to $1,000 every two weeks since Sept. 27, 2020.

“This is a very callous and cruel decision by the Trudeau government,” says Peter Julian, NDP MP-Elect for New Westminster-Burnaby.

“With the ending of the CRB – and this was arbitrary, this was done with 48 hours notice – we’re going to see many more homeless across this country, and we’re going to see many more families struggling to put food on the table,” he said.

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The federal government aims to replace the CRB with the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which would provide $300 per week — only if their work is interrupted by specific government-imposed public health lockdowns.

At the moment, there are varying levels of public health restrictions in Canada, which complicates that requirement for accessing the Worker Lockdown Benefit.

“The so-called Lockdown Benefit actually doesn’t apply in any region in Canada which means there are 880,000 people that lose the benefit, and absolutely no one that can transfer to the lockdown benefit,” said Julian.

Food banks saw an increase in demand, and some people ended up homeless after the CERB ended last September — something Julian anticipates will happen again.

That said, a report from the Angus Reid Institute says the majority of Canadians are ready to see the benefit end before the end of next year, saying the rising cost in living is a greater concern than job or income security.

Some businesses hampered by staff shortages have seen the CRB as a disincentive for people to seek out work.

“There were labour market problems before COVID, there will be labour market problems that need to be resolved, but that is separate from having the wherewithal for families to put food on the table,” said Julian.

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says an additional 641,000 jobs may be at risk, as up to 50,000 businesses will lose the wage subsidy and rent subsidy benefits.

Unlike individuals, hard-hit businesses may see their benefits replaced with the new tourism and hospitality recovery program, which the federal government is trying to extend to July 2 next year.

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