Public can apply for COVID-19 benefits program starting Monday, based on birth month

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau updated Canadians on Sunday about applying for the federal government’s soon-to-launch COVID-19 emergency benefits program  — while adding that the government is still working on solutions for part-time employees, temporary foreign workers and students.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers income support for up to 16 weeks for those who have stopped working due to the pandemic. Canadians, who already have applied for employment insurance and whose application has not yet been processed, will not need to reapply.

The public can start signing up for the program on Monday, but Canadians are being asked to apply based on their birth month.

Those born in January through March can apply on April 6, the first day the portal opens. People born in April through June can apply April 7, those born in July through September on April 8 and Canadians with birth months October through December can sign up on April 9.

Canadians can expect to receive payments — totalling about $2,000 a month — within three to five days via direct deposit, or within 10 days for those choosing to receive the benefit by mail.

New supplies set to arrive Monday

On Saturday, Trudeau announced that “millions” of surgical masks and other supplies are due to arrive in Canada Monday on a chartered cargo plane from China. 

His announcement came as Minnesota-based manufacturing company 3M revealed that because of U.S. President Donald Trump invoking the Defense Production Act — which allows Washington to boost industrial production of critically needed goods — the company is under orders not to send American-made N95 masks to other countries, including Canada. 

The prime minister said Saturday that he would not be seeking retaliatory measures or “measures that are punitive” against the United States.

 “We know that it is in both of our interests to continue to work collaboratively and co-operatively,” Trudeau said, adding that he would soon be speaking with Trump again.

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