Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday that the government has reached an agreement with the opposition party on an $82 billion dollar financial aid package.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will give $2,000 a month for four months to people who are off work and without an income because of the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). What’s unique about this package is that in addition to including wage earners, is its specific reference to full time and part time contractors and self-employed Canadians who don’t normally qualify for employment insurance.
“If you lost your job because of COVID-19 but are full-time, contract or self-employed, this new benefit will be there for you,” Trudeau said.
This appears to be a bright light for the travel industry, though the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is working through the details to advise the travel agency community how this benefit applies to them, and how agency owners, their employees and independent contracts can take advantage of it.
ACTA had asked all members and their teams to write their Federal MPs, COVID-19 Parliament Committee members, the Prime Minister, and Provincial MPP/MLA to raise awareness for the agency community as talks were ongoing. ACTA promises to have an update about how exactly MERP impacts agencies as soon as possible.
The aid will take 10 days to receive the funds after the initial application, starting early April. According to Trudeau they are working feverishly to make up for a backlog, and hope to redeploy 1300 federal workers in order to process aid.
To date over one million Canadians have applied for employment insurance.