With CERB winding down, Ottawa starts tinkering with an engine of the economic recovery
Loss of CERB could deal a blow to people’s livelihoods and keep them from spending
If the federal government isn’t careful, its decision to wind down the Canada Emergency Response Benefit could deal a blow to people’s livelihoods and blunt the country’s economic rebound from the COVID-19-caused downturn.
The $2,000-a-month CERB — which, on Sept. 27, Ottawa will start transitioning recipients away from, bringing in a “simplified” Employment Insurance program and other temporary benefits instead — has helped millions of people who had to stop working because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In doing so, the benefit has acted as a lifeline for the Canadian economy, helping to keep consumers spending and solvent, as well as businesses operating. The Bank of Nova Scotia estimates the economy is growing at an annual rate of close to 50 per cent so far this quarter, which would undo much of the damage that occurred in the second quarter, when gross domestic product decelerated at a rate of about 40 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
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