As provinces across Canada are gradually beginning to reopen, one Canadian politician has concerns that the CERB could discourage people from returning to work. In a statement on Monday, Andrew Scheer called for reductions to the CERB. He suggested gradually decreasing the funding, so that it’s “always better for Canadians to work.”

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

The purpose of the $2,000 per month funding is to support those who have lost work due to COVID-19, and those who have been working seriously reduced hours.

While the response to the CERB has been generally positive, with many Canadians receiving support within days, some leading politicians are now concerned about the future of the benefit.

On Monday, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer spoke about changes that could be made to the CERB, in order to ensure it isn’t discouraging Canadians from returning to work.

Responding to a question about the funding, Scheer explained, “We’re calling on the government to have a more progressive approach to the CERB…”

He suggested a “gradual type of reduction of the benefit,” so that “it’s always better off for Canadians to work.”

To explain his position, Scheer said, “We believe that there will be many scenarios where somebody could earn $1,200 or $1,300 in a month, but will be faced with a very difficult decision as to whether or not they should forgo the entire ($2,000) benefit.”

Scheer described their suggestion as “a gradual phase-out of the benefit, as people earn more and more.”

This, the Conservative leader argued, would "encourage and incentivize" people to return to the workforce, as well as help small businesses to access labour.

Scheer isn’t the first politician to express concerns about the future of the monthly payment.

Last week, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King also urged Trudeau to reconsider the funding, suggesting that the $2,000 monthly payment would prevent some people from returning to the workforce.

King also called for changes to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), suggesting that this cash should be reallocated to funding positions for student employment instead.

On the other hand, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is calling for universal funding during COVID-19, so that everyone can access the CERB if they need it.

Despite these concerns, Trudeau has not announced any related changes to either benefit.

What should be made clear, is that the CERB will have to be paid back if you’re choosing not to work

The federal government has made it clear that if you’re continuing to claim the benefits while turning down work for no reason, you’ll eventually be required to return the money.

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