“This is a major win,” the NDP leader told reporters in Ottawa Thursday, hours after Liberals tabled legislation to increase the value of proposed new benefits for unemployed workers to $500 a week.
That’s the same level of support the CERB, which expires Sept. 27, gave to nearly nine million Canadians during the COVID-19 crisis, at a cost of $78 billion.
Watch: Singh touts ‘major victory for people’
Last month, Liberals said their replacement plan for the CERB — an expanded employment insurance program and three new benefits — would pay out at $400 per week. The NDP blasted the government for seeking to cut help for those in need, and called on the government to extend CERB until a benefit of equal value was in place.
“We fought back and we forced the government to continue that support of $2,000 (per month), which is a big victory for Canadians,” Singh said.
The government’s Bill C-2 seeks to provide:
- A Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI, such as contract workers;
- A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) of $500 for up to two weeks for workers who fall ill or must self-isolate because of COVID-19;
- A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) of $500 per week, up to 26 weeks, for Canadians who can’t work because they must care for a child or other dependent due to pandemic-induced closure of schools, daycares or other care facilities.
Though the proposed CRSB would appear to meet NDP demands for paid sick leave in the face of a second wave of COVID-19 cases, Singh said New Democrats are still “negotiating” with Liberals over that measure.
Singh said he is optimistic his party will reach an agreement with Liberals on sick leave. “Things are...