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Payments for CERB top $40 billion as feds open doors for commercial rent help


May 25, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians from outside his home, Rideau Cottage, in Ottawa. Photo: Screen Grab/PMO

A key federal benefit for Canadians out of work, or seeing large drops in their earnings, in the COVID-19 pandemic has paid out over $40 billion in emergency aid.

Federal figures posted Monday show payments from Canada Emergency Response Benefit now total $40.33 billion to 8.21 million separate applicants, pushing the program further beyond its $35-billion budget.

However, billions could be clawed back next year when the government taxes the earnings and recoups improperly paid benefits.

The details came out the same day the federal government opened applications for a commercial rent assistance program, which saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeat a plea for landlords to apply for the aid.

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Landlords with up to 10 eligible tenants located in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, Alberta or Quebec could apply online Monday.

Applications for landlords in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and the territories will open Tuesday, while landlords with more than ten tenants can apply later this week.