Liberals unveil $37B for CERB transition to new benefits, EI changes

Just a few weeks ahead of the expected end of the Canada Emergency Recovery Benefit, the Trudeau government announced on Thursday $37-billion in fresh spending on new and revamped federal income support programs for workers affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The new measures include broad, if temporary, changes to the Employment Insurance program and the creation of three new benefit programs for workers who do not qualify for EI. In addition, Ottawa plans to extend the current CERB program by another four weeks for a maximum of 28 weeks worth of emergency benefits.

Read more: What we know so far about the CERB to EI transition

Most of the EI changes and the three new benefits will kick off on Sept. 27 and remain in force for one year, according to senior government officials. The expected cost to taxpayers will be of $8 billion for the one-month extension of CERB, $7 billion for the planned modifications to the EI program and $22 billion for the new benefit programs, the officials said.

There are currently around four million Canadians still receiving CERB. Of those, around three million are expected to transition to EI and one million to the other benefits, the government said.

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