Liberals survive confidence vote as COVID-19 aid bill passes unanimously

September 30, 2020
Liberals survive confidence vote as COVID-19 aid bill passes unanimously

Parliament has unanimously passed Bill C-4 — legislation authorizing new benefits for workers left jobless or underemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vote, which was considered a confidence measure, earned the support of the more adversarial parties, the Bloc Quebecois and the Conservatives — passing 306-0.

The bill is intended to replace the now-defunct $500 per-week Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which came to an end last weekend after helping almost 9 million Canadians weather the pandemic’s impact.

Earlier Tuesday, Liberal House Leader Pablo Rodriguez said in a tweet that because the creation of the benefits is central to the government’s response plan to the second wave of the pandemic, it would be made a confidence vote.

The bill introduces a series of new COVID-19 benefits for Canadians to ease their transition away from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

“We are in the [second] wave of #COVID-19, but we have a plan. Our bill on sick leave and support to families is at the core of it. We will consider the vote on the legislation as a matter of confidence,” Rodriguez tweeted.

“Canadians can’t wait. We need to move forward. Together.”

The bill sets up three new benefits for Canadians who won’t qualify for EI but are still affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

They include the Canada Recovery Benefit for self-employed and gig workers, expanded sick leave and a caregiver benefit for workers who must stay home to care for a child or another dependent because their school, daycare or other day program facility has been shut down due to COVID.

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