Canada’s unions welcome the extension to income supports announced by the federal government today as a necessary step towards providing further financial security to those who need it.
The government announced 12-week extensions for both the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), as well as an additional 24 weeks of eligibility for Employment Insurance.
“This will come as very good news for the millions of Canadians who still don’t have a job they can go back to and who were growing concerned about how they would pay their bills once their benefits ended next month,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. “The extension will allow families to continue paying for their basic needs.”
The CRB and CRCB extensions will help thousands of workers who have been unable to return to their jobs get through the next 12 weeks, though there are still concerns about what happens next.
“These COVID benefits have been a lifeline for gig workers who, by the nature of their work, don’t qualify for Employment Insurance,” said Yussuff. “If the goal is to wind down these pandemic programs, the government needs to reform EI to support the realities these workers face.”
The government also announced an additional two weeks for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which helps to protect workers who have to isolate but have no access to paid sick leave.
“It’s good to see the federal government fulfill its promise to take care of workers with these measures, including extending the duration of the federal sickness benefit for those who aren’t covered through their workplace,” said Yussuff. “The provinces must step up and offer workers universal paid sick leave. Experts have repeatedly said such access would help slow the transmission of COVID-19 and keep workers safe. It’s long overdue.”
The federal government has already promised much needed changes to Canada’s EI system. Read CLC’s recommendations for EI reform here.
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