Government promises move on hybrid Senate sittings to move worker aid bill

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The government's representative in the Senate is promising to introduce tomorrow a motion to hold hybrid sittings of the upper house during the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
Sen. Marc Gold's promise clears the way for the Senate to deal swiftly with a bill authorizing new benefits for workers left jobless or underemployed by the health crisis.
     
Frustration over the Senate's failure to find a way to resume full operations in the midst of the pandemic prompted some senators Wednesday to block Gold's attempt to speed Bill C-4 through the chamber.
     
The bill replaces the now-defunct Canada Emergency Response Benefit with a more expansive employment insurance regime and three new benefits for those who don't qualify for EI, fall sick or have to stay home to care for a dependent.
     
It was passed unanimously in the House of Commons in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
     
The Senate has sat only occasionally and briefly since mid-March to pass emergency aid legislation; many senators want to adopt a format similar to that now being used in the Commons, with members able to participate in all proceedings, including votes, either in person or virtually.