In today’s national address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension of the Canada – U.S. border and the extension of the CERB benefit. Here is a breakdown for each of the extensions.
U.S. border closure
Trudeau announced today that an agreement between the United States and Canada has been reached, ensuring that the border between the two countries remains closed for all non-essential or “discretionary” travel for one more month.
The extension agreed upon will see the closure remain in place until July 21st as both countries attempt to reopen their economies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When talking about the extension, Trudeau said that “this is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe”.
The border closure will continue to exempt trade and commerce, temporary foreign workers, and health-care workers like nurses from the border restrictions..
This marks the third time the closure between both countries extended, with the one that was put in place before today’s announcement set to expire on June 21.
The extension was also addressed by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has gone on to say that the measures implemented between the U.S. and Canada “apply to all of Canada’s borders”.
“When it comes to the Canada-U.S. border, as the prime minister announced today, we have agreed with our American neighbours to roll over for another 30 days, the measures that we have currently in place… It was based on a mutual recognition that the measures we currently have in place are working very well,” Freeland said.
Border relations between the two countries has been a concern for many Canadians, as American citizens have been travelling to Canada under the premise that they are using Canada as a means to travel to Alaska.
This issue has been brought up to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) as many residents living in Banff have reported that many American tourists have appeared. Freeland has addressed these reports, reiterating that you cannot enter for non-essential reasons.
“Minister Blair has instructed the CBSA to take further care to ensure that the people coming into Canada from the U.S. are truly coming for essential reasons. And let me just add, these measures are put in place for a reason. They are to protect us, and they are to protect our neighbours,” Freeland said.
“As we have heard from our doctors, although we are succeeding in flattening the curve in Canada because of the hard work of every single Canadian, we’re not there yet. And it’s important to continue to be cautious and prudent”.
CERB extension made official
As of today, the CERB benefit that distributes $500 per week for all individuals who’ve signed up is officially extended for another eight weeks.
According to Trudeau, the extension will allow those who are unable to return to work, stay financially stable for the rest of the summer as they continue to look and wait for their work opportunities to return.
“The reality is that even as we start to reopen, a lot of people still need this support to help pay their bills while they look for work,” Trudeau said about the extension.
“Over the next few weeks, our government will look at international best practices, and monitor the economy and the progression of the virus to see what changes – if any – need to be made to the program so that more people are supported”.
The government will continue to emphasize that people should not use CERB as an alternate method of receiving income, and that people should be actively trying to either find new work or regain the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough has gone on to say that the application process for CERB will have stronger language added that will emphasize the importance of looking for work while on CERB.
“We can’t impose an obligation on somebody to take a job, but we are encouraging and saying that through the attestation, that people actively seek work and take it when it’s reasonable in their circumstances to do so,” Qualtrough said
The Employment Minister further added that there will be acceptable reasons for Canadians to remain out of the workplace citing concerns such as not having proper access to childcare services and potentially those who experience COVID-19 symptoms as acceptable reasons.
While it was noted that the extension to the CERB program is not a long-term solution, Trudeau reassured Canadians that the program will remain available in the time being.
“So, if you’ve been getting the CERB and you still can’t work because you are unable to find a job or it’s just not possible, you will keep getting that $2000 a month,” Trudeau said.
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