Antivaxxers denied Canada’s new COVID-19 worker benefit

Canada is cutting the worker pandemic benefit by 40%, but workers who refuse to get vaccinated may not be able to get it.

Last week, Canada’s finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, announced that the federal government is replacing the Canada Recovery Benefit with the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit.

The Canada Recovery Benefit itself replaced the original Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which was introduced in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

Under both the CERB and the CRB, workers were eligible for up to $2,000 a month if they were unemployed because of the pandemic. the new benefit—the CWLB—cuts that maximum by 40% to $1,200 a month.

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Originally, when the Liberal government announced it last summer, the CRB was supposed to be only $1,600 a month.

Plus, the CERB and the CRB were both taxable, which means that the federal government held back a portion of it for income tax, so recipients never actually received $2,000 a month, even if they qualified for it.

Prior to last week’s announcement, workers were eligible for the CRB if they weren’t employed or self-employed for reasons related to COVID-19, or their income was at least 50% less than it was the previous year.

The CWLB, on the other hand, is restricted specifically to workers who can’t work directly because of a government-imposed public health lockdown.

There was no mention in the government’s announcement on whether the CWLB will be taxable.

One other thing it did mention, however, is that some workers wouldn’t qualify for it, if they are out of work because they refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine when their workplace requires it.

The CWLB came into effect yesterday.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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