Thursday July 8, 2021 | NATIONAL
by Jalen Codrington | Island Social Trends | Mary P Brooke, Editor
It’s a cut in economic support for struggling self-employed and others not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), that federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls a “cruel cut” that needs to be stopped.
The federal government introduced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in early 2020, as COVID first began to wreak havoc on the economy. CERB payments totalled $2,000 per month for those eligible. The Trudeau government had originally only planned on issuing $1,000 per month to those who could prove need; but through parliamentary pressure, the NDP pushed that figure to $2,000.
As part of phasing out the CERB, the Canada Response Benefit (CRB) was introduced in late 2020 for people who are self-employed or can’t receive EI, such as gig workers and freelancers. CRB payments also amounted to $2,000 per month, but people received the funds biweekly, and had to reapply every two weeks; unlike with the CERB that was issue din full, tax has been deducted from CRB at source (before payments are issued).
Now, the CRB has been cut to biweekly payments of $600, less tax. That means that continuing recipient will receive $1,200 (before tax), generally covering a month, instead of $2,000 per month. This is weaning struggling sectors off very sharply, which could leave some sectors behind.
“People who work in tourism, arts or entertainment and lost their jobs during the pandemic can’t go back to work. They need help to get by and take care of their families,” said Singh.
“But Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are more focused on helping those who profited from the pandemic,” says Singh. “The Liberals are cutting help to people barely getting by while they let rich corporations who got government help and paid their rich shareholders off the hook. This is wrong. It’s clear who’s side Justin Trudeau is on and it’s not yours. Canadians deserve a government on their side. New Democrats will always fight for Canadian families.”
Federal NDP have said to Trudeau’s Liberals that the New Democrats are willing to sit through the summer and help the government pass what is needed in the House of Commons to make sure the $800 cut doesn’t hurt families.
The temporary COVID pandemic income-support programs are slated to vanish completely by the fall. In the 2021 budget, the federal government gave the CRA liberty to extend the CRB into November if needed.
===== Links (articles by Island Social Trends)
Self-employed could see CRB eligibility period extension (June 23, 2021)
NDP fighting to keep CRB intact for self-employed (May 28, 2021)
NDP: small business still needs recovery support during pandemic (January 27, 2021)
CERB being shifted to new process through EI program (August 1, 2020)
CERB gets extended thanks to NDP pressure in minority scenario (June 15, 2020)