As the Canada Recovery Benefit’s expiration looms, future of the COVID aid program is doubtful

DM

Ask around Parliament Hill what the future has in store for the government’s now $1,200-per-month Canada Recovery Benefit, and you’re likely to get no more than a shrug and maybe a sigh. Although the pandemic aid program is set to end on Oct. 23, the reality is that politics in the newest (but eerily similar) version of the Liberal minority government and the evolution of the fourth wave of the pandemic will decide if the CRB lives to see another day. The CRB is one of three programs (alongside the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit) that replaced the initial $2,000-per-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) back in September 2020. The CRB began just as generous as CERB, but eventually dropped to $600 every two weeks after July 17, 2021. As of Sept. 26, the program paid out just over $26 billion to nearly 2.1 million Canadians. Applications for the final two-week payment period is Oct. 23, meaning that if the program isn’t extended to Nov. 20 (which is a possibility included in Budget 2021), it will come to an end by mid-November. […] Within Liberal ranks, there seems to be little to no appetite for extending the costly program.

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