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Feds receive 4.75M applications for financial aid since March 15
OTTAWA -- The government has received 4.75 million applications for financial aid since March 15.
That's a jump from yesterday, when a little over 4 million Canadians applied for financial assistance through either Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Canadians have only been able to apply for the CERB since Monday, and the application has been staggered by birth month. On Monday there were 788,000 applications from Canadians born between January and March, and on Tuesday an additional 537,000 Canadians applied who were born between April and June.
On Wednesday, that number jumped up by another 491,322 applications -- bringing the total new applications for financial assistance from this week to a whopping 2.21 million.
According to Liberal MP Jean-Yves Duclos, president of the Treasury Board, the wave of applications for government assistance is blowing averages out of the water. He said the 2.5 million applications for EI that the government had received by Monday morning was more than the government usually receives in a year -- and now that number has almost doubled.
"Yesterday we received over 966,000 applications for [financial assistance]. This is one day the equivalent of what we typically receive over 6 months," Duclos said during his Tuesday press conference around noon EDT.
At the time, he also confirmed that the government had received 3.6 million applications for emergency benefits -- a number that has now jumped to more than 4.7 million.
"Over 3 million of these applications have already been processed," Duclos said.
The new benefit will provide successful applicants with $2,000 a month for four months. However, not everyone is eligible. In order to be eligible, applicants must have earned at least $5,000 in the past 12 months or in 2019 as a whole, and must be out of work for reasons directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those who are able to successfully apply, Trudeau said those availing themselves of the direct deposit option will receive money in three to five days. Cheques by mail will take a little bit longer, with an anticipated 10 days delivery time.
However, there are concerns from opposition parties that some Canadians might fall through the cracks. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh sent a letter to Trudeau on Tuesday proposing the government give funds directly to all Canadians in a bid to ensure no one gets missed
"Unfortunately, your CERB -- even with changes you’ve been making to it -- has proven to be complicated and leaves out many Canadians who need support. In fact, one study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that one third of Canadians in need are not eligible for the benefit at all," Singh wrote in the letter.
However, when pressed on the proposal during his press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doubled down on his assertion that the government will be able to fill any gaps that remain in the financial aid package.
"We recognize that anytime you put out large measures quickly and in a way that is solid enough to be certain that it's going to work through the machine, there are going to be gaps. And what we've talked about over these past days is ways of filling those gaps and making sure that more people who are in exceptional or different circumstances are able to access the help we need and we will continue to have more to say on that in the coming days," Trudeau said.
Canadians looking to apply for the benefit can visit this link or call 1-800-959-2041.