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Manitoba Program Paying People to Return to Work, Drop CERB

June 23, 2020 11:52 AM | News

Brian Pallister

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister speaks during question period at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government wants people impacted by COVID-19 to get back to work and stop collecting federal wage subsidies.

Premier Brian Pallister on Tuesday announced the Manitoba Job Restart program, providing $2,000 over six weeks to help qualified people return to work.

“The federal government is currently subsidizing the wages of more than eight million workers in Canada through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB),” Pallister said.

“While these programs have helped Canadians through financial challenges caused by the pandemic, CERB has become a barrier preventing some from returning to work.”

Through the new program, qualified Manitobans will receive one initial payment of $500 plus three additional bi-weekly payments for $500 each, for a total of $2,000 over six weeks. Program participants must voluntarily stop collecting CERB or CESB support from the federal government.

The program is being funded by the province and no employers are being asked for contributions.

Who can qualify?

To qualify, Manitobans must actively return to work with at least 30 hours per week to be eligible for the first $500 payment. They must also complete a declaration for each of the following weeks to certify they are still working at least 30 hours weekly.

The main qualification is to no longer receive CERB, CESB or similar COVID-19 related support from the federal government. Applicants must also continue to permanently reside in Manitoba and be legally entitled to work in Canada.

Applications for the Manitoba Job Restart program will open June 26 and closed July 31.

Participation in the program is voluntary and benefits will be taxable. The province says there is no obligation for Manitobans to stop receiving CERB or CESB benefits if they choose not to participate.