Feds receive more than 4M applications for financial aid since March 15
OTTAWA -- The government has received more than four million applications for financial aid since March 15.
That’s a jump from yesterday, when a little over 3.6 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. Yesterday there were 788,000 applications from Canadians born between January and March, and today an additional 537,000 Canadians applied who were born between April and June.
According to Liberal MP Jean-Yves Duclos, president of the Treasury Board, the onslaught 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 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 today proposing the government give funds directly to all Canadians in a bid to ensure no one gets missed.
"I want to again encourage you to move away from the complicated means-based system and implement the universal direct payment we have proposed," the letter read.
"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."
However, when CTV Power Play Host Evan Solomon asked Industry Minister Navdeep Bains whether the government was considering a universal basic income, Bains said the government is ensuring they help anyone who isn't covered by current financial aid measures.
"We have different measures to target Canadians to make sure that they have income. If there are Canadians that are falling through the gaps, so to speak, or are unable to get the cash that they need, we will indentify those gaps and try to address those gaps," Bains said.
Canadians looking to apply for the benefit can visit this link or call 1-800-959-2041.
With files from CTV's Michel Boyer and CTV's Mackenzie Gray