The federal government is extending several benefits intended to support Canadians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), would be extended by 12 weeks.
The new maximum that can be claimed is now 38 weeks. Eligible individuals can receive $1,000 for each two-week period.
The CRB provides support to individuals who are unable to work because they have been “directly affected” by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance.
The CRBC supports those who can’t work because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or another family member who needs supervised care.
“These benefits will continue to be there for you,” Trudeau said.
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As well, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will be extended from two weeks to four.
The program provides support for those who can not work because they are sick, need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
Those who are eligible can receive $500 each for a one-week period.
“No one should be going to work sick right now. It’s that simple,” the Prime Minister said.
Trudeau also announced that Employment Insurance (EI) could be claimed for an additional 24 weeks, up to 50.
The benefits are available to Canadians who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Under the program, individuals can receive a maximum of $595 per week, although the amount varies from person to person.
“This crisis isn’t over,” Trudeau said. “Neither is our support for everyone.”
Earlier on Friday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer released updated COVID-19 modelling data, which shows that the country could see up to 878,850 cases and 22,420 virus-related deaths by February 28.
While Dr. Theresa Tam said the short-term forecast predicts that the pandemic will slow, the long-term outlook shows virus variants could spur a strong resurgence if public health measures are lifted.
Based on the data, Canada could see 20,000 new cases per day by early March if restrictions are eased. According to Tam, enhanced public health measures are needed to bring the pandemic under control.
“With highly contagious variants in our midst, the threat of uncontrolled epidemic growth is significantly elevated,” Tam said.
To date, Canada has seen 837,497 COVID-19 cases and 21,498 virus-related deaths.