For those who have claimed CERB payments since the beginning, this is the halfway mark. As the end date for the benefit looms closer, many Canadians are wondering what will happen next. However, the Treasury Board President has promised that no matter what, the government “will continue to be there for Canadians.”

Back in March, the federal government launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, otherwise known as CERB.

The $2,000 per month cash is available to Canadian workers who have been laid off due to the pandemic, and those who are working heavily reduced hours.

The benefit is available from March 15, 2020 to October 3, 2020, but can only be claimed for a maximum of 16 weeks. 

This means that those who have been claiming the money since mid-March, are now reaching the halfway point, and will only be able to claim the funding until the beginning of July.

For those who may not be able to return to work before their benefits are cancelled, the federal government has promised to have their back.

This week, Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos was asked if they’d consider extending the benefit, to help those whose payments are coming to an end.

While Duclos didn't commit to an extension, he didn’t rule it out either.

"We obviously knew from the start that we needed to implement the Canada Emergency Response Benefit quickly in order to make sure that Canadians could stay healthy while being able to put food on the table,” he said.

“7.5 million Canadians have received support from the CERB and we’ll continue to be there for Canadians," Duclos added.

As of May 5, more than $28 billion had been paid out through the program.

Earlier this week, Concervative leader Andrew Scheer called for a gradual decrease in CERB payments, in order to encourage Canadians to return to the workforce.

Speaking in an address on Monday, Scheer explained, “it’s always better off for Canadians to work.”

Conversely, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has called on the federal government to make the CERB universal, so that anybody that needs to can access it.

For now, the federal government hasn't confirmed any official changes to the benefit, and are yet to discuss an extension of the payment.

Canadians claiming the benefit must reapply every month to continue receiving money.

It's also worth remembering that all CERB payments are taxable.

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