UPDATE: New Federal COVID-19 financial supports kick in today
Canadians who have missed work because of COVID-19 can start applying for new financial supports from the federal government today.
The new benefits come into effect as concerns rise about increasing job losses with Ontario and Quebec imposing targeted restrictions on restaurants, bars and fitness centres to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Applications for the new Canada Recovery Benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency.
A new caregiver benefit also comes into effect today, after numerous calls since the start of the pandemic for added support for parents and others who are forced to miss work to care for a dependent due to COVID-19.
Women have seen a disproportionate impact on their careers and earnings because of the pandemic because they have largely shouldered the burden of child care and home schooling.
The caregiver benefit applies to people who miss work because of school or daycare closures, and whose children who miss school or daycare because they have contracted the virus or may have been exposed.
It also applies to people forced to miss work to care for family members who need specialized care that is unavailable to them due to COVID-19.
The federal government anticipates 700,000 Canadians will apply for the caregiver benefit.
The government is also creating a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people who can't work because they contracted COVID-19 or must self-isolate because of the virus.
The multibillion-dollar suite of new benefits take affect following an acrimonious political battle in Parliament that ultimately saw all parties vote in favour of them, but not before the airing of widespread concern that the Liberal government was rushing them through.
But some NEWSTALK 1010 listeners telling us Monday morning, that when they try to apply for the new benefit, they are getting an error message.
The message and code reportedly telling them they cannot apply because they have already applied for all eligible periods,which are every second Monday.
One listener told us, the Federal government didn't do a good job of setting today as the start date, given it's a Holiday Monday with no staffing available to deal with the issues, because all government offices are closed.
with files from NEWSTALK 1010