Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced an eight-week extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and that border restrictions with the United States that were put in place at the outset of coronavirus-related lockdowns would be extended until at least July 21.
The emergency benefit, known as CERB, allows for citizens who made $5,000 in the last year or in 2019 to receive $2,000 if they lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the coronavirus that has gripped the economy.
The benefit was set to reach an end for millions of Canadians by early July as the 16-week eligibility period concluded. Citizens were able to apply starting in April and were eligible for up for $8,000 over a maximum of 16 weeks between March 15 and Oct. 3.
The government have reported that over a million Canadians have departed the program before maxing out their 16-week eligibility. With provinces opening up after shutdowns aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19, some have returned to work or are covered through the wage subsidy program.
But many, Trudeau said, are still out of a job and are looking to be employed once again.
Canada and the U.S. came to an agreement in March amid rising coronavirus cases across North America to close the border to non-essential travel. The closure was set to expire on Sunday.
“This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe,” Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday morning.
The federal government announced last week it would allow some immediate family members to cross the border. It only applied to foreign nationals who are immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents and who do not have COVID-19 or showing symptoms.
Trudeau also reiterated his support for Canada to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council, a goal for the Liberal prime minister for several years now. A vote that could see Canada return to the top UN decision-making body after a 20-year absence will take place on Wednesday.