Dan Albas

COLUMN: Transitioning our economy back to work

There have been reports that the government may change some of the requirements to remain on CERB

This week the government announced that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit will be extended by a further eight weeks, which means the benefits will no longer end this July for the earliest applicants.

There have also been reports that the government may change some of the requirements to remain on CERB, although at this time these changes have yet to be confirmed.

Increasingly we are hearing about other reported challenges created because of the CERB.

Many employers trying to restart businesses have indicated they are often unsuccessful in bringing some employees back, who would prefer to remain on CERB.

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This could be due to childcare or workplace safety issues.

In other situations, a worker may be financially penalized if they earn more than the CERB income threshold and may end up actually having less household income from working, rather than not working and just collecting CERB.

This occurs because a worker may earn up to $1,000 and still collect the full response benefit.

However any amount over $1,000 and the entire CERB benefit is cut off.

For both workers and employers this makes our economic recovery even more difficult.

One possible option is to provide incentives rather than penalties for citizens getting back into the workforce.

For example, instead of clawing back the entire CERB payment if someone makes more than $1,000 a month, perhaps they could be able to keep 50 cents of the CERB payment for every dollar made from working above that threshold.

The need to modify the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit to transition the re-opening of our economy is an important one.

However, we have to remember that workers should not be forced back into the workplace until it is safe to do so.

My question this week: Do you think the CERB benefit should be reworked and if so how is the best way to do so?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

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