CERB to be extended eight weeks: PM

trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government's signature benefit for people whose jobs have vanished amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by eight weeks.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit pays up to $500 a week and was slated to last 16 weeks starting in April, meaning that people who signed up for it immediately would soon run out.

Trudeau says the economy is recovering from the mass closures ordered to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus but there's a long way to go.

He says that the government will look at international best practices to determine what further changes will be needed.

An extension will add to the cost of the benefit, which has already paid out $43.51 billion as of June 4 and carries a budget of $60 billion.

Trudeau didn't provide a figure today, but says the government's hope is that fewer people will need the CERB as restrictions ease and businesses reopen.