OTTAWA – The federal government intends the newly proposed lockdown benefits to apply only to individuals whose work has been disrupted by the complete COVID-19 lockdown in their area.

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In an interview on Granthshala’s Question Hour, which aired on Sunday, Carla Qualtro, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, said details of the new Canada Worker Lockdown benefits were still being worked out, and that they would be imposed by provinces and territories. Will also depend on public health restrictions. .

When asked whether a worker would have to live in an area with complete lockdown to be eligible for benefits or where there is only capacity restriction, Qualtro said, “The thinking is a complete lockdown.”

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“It will be driven by how a province or a region, of course, is characterized by a lockdown.”

This benefit, which replaces the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), is available retroactively through May 7, 2022, until October 24 and provides $300 per week to eligible applicants. It is open to workers ineligible for employment insurance (EI), and who are eligible for EI, as long as they are paid benefits for the same application period.

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A government website states that it will “provide income support to workers whose employment is constrained by specific government-imposed public health lockdown scenarios and who are unable to work due to such restrictions.”

It also notes that individuals who are out of work or are losing income due to refusal to comply with a vaccine mandate will not qualify.

The Canada worker lockdown benefit was announced last week along with a suite of other updates to the COVID-19 assistance programs, which all come with a price tag of $7.4 billion.

The government has been able to extend the aid through regulatory powers until November 20, but it would be required by law to extend them to their new expiration date.

In the new minority parliament that resumes on November 22, liberals will seek the support of opposition members to vote to pass the bills.

Qualtro said he is confident his team will be able to work closely with their partners across the corridor.

“We’ve put a lot of practice into doing this. We’ve worked closely with opposition parties over the past 20 months to make sure Canadians get the benefits. There was no disruption,” she said.

“The Prime Minister is in talks with the opposition leaders. I’m really reaching out to my critics and I think we can do that.

In a separate interview on Granthshala’s Question Hour, NDP MP Peter Julian criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for delaying the reopening of parliament after the election, when Canadians are still battling a fourth wave of the pandemic.

“Canadian families, who relied on CRB, were arbitrarily cut off with only a few hours notice. This is a very cruel and harsh act,” he said in a separate interview on Granthshala’s Question Hour.

“What the Liberals are proposing is number one has to come to parliament, but number two, the so-called labor lock-down benefit, with no sector yet eligible for it, which means 880,000 people can’t wait for the means to keep food on the table. left without.”

Julian would not say whether the NDP would vote in favor of the new measures, but noted that the party has never “blindly” supported the Liberals.

Conservative MP Tim Uppal expressed a similar sentiment, noting that lawmakers need to be in the House of Commons to debate income and business support changes.

“We should be there, we should debate this law, look into it, investigate it in committee. It’s a lot of money,” he said.

“For Canadians, we should go with a fine-toothed comb to make sure we’re getting the most value for this money.”

He said the party agreed to abolish the CRB, but he had concerns about other aspects of the announced proposals.