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Canada government proposes three new coronavirus benefits, could help with confidence vote

Kitco News

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s government on Thursday formally proposed creating three new benefits to help people cope with coronavirus epidemic, a move that could help the ruling Liberals win a confidence vote and avoid an election.

“The urgency of this cannot be overstated,” Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough told a news conference, saying Ottawa would also move to provide paid sick leave for federally-regulated employees.

She made the announcement less than 24 hours after the opposition New Democrats criticized the minority Liberal government for spending too little on aid and suggested they might bring down Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a confidence vote next month.

The chief spokesman for Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democrats, was not immediately available for comment. The other two parties in the House of Commons have already made clear they will vote against Trudeau.

The three new aid programs are:

* A Canada Recovery Benefit of C$500 ($374.30) per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for employment insurance

* A Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit of C$500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19

* A Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit of C$500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household, for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a young child or family member because schools or day-cares are closed due to COVID-19.

($1=1.3358 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Julie Gordon; Editing by David Gregorio

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