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May 26, 2020 – With re-opening strategies differing across the country, regional and industry variations need to be considered to create better-tailored income supports, says the C.D. Howe Institute’s Crisis Working Group on Household Income and Credit Support.

At their recent meeting, working group members discussed the need to apply a risk management lens to the re-opening of the economy and the need to shift away from a national one-size-fits-all income support plan. The group also considered policy options for modifying the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) while maintaining support for families and low-wage earners, and explored longer-term income support plans.

The group recommends:

  • A more targeted income support approach to account for regional and sector differences while addressing specific needs, such as childcare;
  • The federal government consider extending CERB eligibility beyond the July cutoff with an income-tested clawback and temporary working bonus to encourage a return to work;
  • Increased transparency from Ottawa around details affecting implementation of future income support plans, including administrative challenges;
  • New income supports be designed to allow parents to share childcare responsibilities when no childcare option is available; and
  • Longer-term policy options to support Canadians during the pandemic and recovery should include investments in retraining, reskilling, and upskilling to address long-term displacements and structural unemployment. 

The group of economists and business leaders is co-chaired by Michael Horgan, Senior Advisor at Bennett Jones LLP and former Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of Canada; and Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board at Royal Bank of Canada.

For more information, please contact: Parisa Mahboubi, Senior Policy Analyst, C.D. Howe Institute; or Nancy Schlömer, Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, phone 416-865-1904 ext. 0247, email: nschlomer@cdhowe.org

Full Communiqué: CWGR_2020_0526.pdf