Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday April 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Nearly 5.4 million Canadians receiving emergency federal aid as requests climb

Government has received 5.97 million claims for financial help since the crisis began about one month ago

The federal government says nearly 5.4 million Canadians are now receiving emergency aid to replace incomes lost due to COVID-19.

The figures this morning show 5.38 million applications have been processed since March 15, a figure that includes people who were previously on employment insurance before being moved over to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

During the first week it was available, there were just under 3.5 million claims for the $2,000-a-month benefit, including nearly 172,000 over the past two days.

In all, the government has received 5.97 million claims for financial help since the crisis began about one month ago.

More help is to arrive next week in the form of a new loan program to help eligible small businesses cover costs.

And more federal aid from a 75-per-cent wage subsidy program, approved by Parliament on Saturday, will be available by early May.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre is calling on the government to rejig the credit program that runs through banks and credit unions to increase the value of loans and allow small businesses to use it to pay wages.

He says that would help companies pay workers now instead of waiting a few weeks for the wage-subsidy program to pay out.

When the government is able to pay the subsidy to eligible businesses, Poilievre is proposing that companies take the first tranche to pay off the increased loans.

The Opposition Conservatives are also calling on the Trudeau Liberals to come up with a plan specifically to help the nation’s restaurant, hospitality and tourism sectors.

Many of those businesses were either among the first to close due to public health concerns related to COVID-19, or have seen dramatic declines as consumer spending drops.

A handful of Conservative critics say in a statement this morning that the government must give these businesses the tools to open their doors again, and to retain workers through the pandemic, especially in areas with historically high unemployment.

Among the ideas being proposed are temporarily allowing owner-operators to qualify for the federal wage-subsidy program as well as refunding a year’s worth of GST remittances to small businesses.

A report last week by the parliamentary budget officer estimated that refunding federal sales tax to small businesses would cost Ottawa’s coffers about $12.9 billion.

READ MORE: As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit on opening day, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

READ MORE: In a pandemic, those on the front lines face unique mental health challenges

READ MORE: Normal life won’t fully return until COVID-19 vaccine developed, Trudeau says

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

THIS IS OUR HOMETOWN: Marty Lauren buidling generations in construction

Some of the places they built in Williams Lake were City Hall and the Twin Ice Arena.

LCSS grad commencement will now be held in school commons area

Four separate ceremonies will see 50 students individually cross the stage to receive diplomas

Indigenous student eyes veterinary school

Alicia William would be the first veterinary for the Tsilhqot’in Nation

First Nation community signs enforcement agreement with Conservation Officer Service

This is the fourth such agreement in the Cariboo Chilcotin

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read