Ottawa is Extending COVID-19 Benefits

The Federal Government will be extending COVID-19 benefits, including the Canadian Recovery benefit and Canada Sickness Benefit.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the crisis isn’t over and neither is the government’s support.  Trudeau states the Federal Government is extending the Canada Recovery Benefit and Canada Recovery Care-giving Benefit by 12 weeks.  Meaning the new maximum will be 38 weeks in total.  “If you need support while you look for a job, or if you have to stay home to take care of your family, these benefits will continue to be there for you.”  The Prime Minister says the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will also be extended from 2 weeks to 4 weeks, adding “no one should be going to work sick right now.”

The Federal government will also increase the help available under regular employment insurance claims to 50 weeks in total.  That means Canadians will have 24 more weeks of EI available if needed.


Vaccine Ramp-Up Phase

Trudeau says Canada is now in the ramp-up phase of vaccination after receiving its largest shipment of Pfizer vaccines on Wednesday.  On Thursday night the Federal Government shared an updated vaccine delivery schedule with provinces and territories, so they are ready to roll-out almost a million and a half doses over the next three weeks.  Trudeau says vaccines are his top priority and he knows premiers feel the same.  The Prime Minster says by March, the country is on track to receive 6 million total vaccine doses, and by September there will be at least 84 million doses available.

Trudeau also announced another $75 million will go towards the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, bringing Canada’s total investment to $940 million.


Rapid Testing

The Prime Minister says the government is seeing results from a partnership with the CDL rapid screening consortium.

Justin Trudeau says there have been 26 pilot sites, 12 employers and more than 5000 screening tests involved in rapid testing workplaces in Canada.  “Already they’ve caught positive cases, that means people that otherwise might not have known, were able to take the right steps to protect themselves, their families and co-workers.  We have to use every tool in the toolbox to keep people safe.”  Trudeau says while cases, hospitalizations are down, variants are real and we’re not out of the woods yet.  Even with vaccines, Trudeau says we have to do everything we can to protect vulnerable populations or we could potentially see a third wave that is worse than the first two.

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