Dan Albas

Dan Albas

COLUMN: Questions remain about benefit packages

Students confused and frustrated as they try to determine if they qualify

This week, not unlike last week, and the week before, the government has announced another “Emergency Assistance” program.

This latest program is the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and is intended to provide supports for those students who do not qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

The formal details of this new program have not yet been released, and will require legislation, however the general guidelines of the program are as follows:

Eligibility for this CESB program is said to apply to “post-secondary (college and university) students who are currently in school, are planning to start school in September 2020, or graduated from school in December 2019, if they have lost work or cannot find work due to the pandemic.”

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Ongoing changes to federal assistance

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Local journalism more important than ever before

It is also open to working students “earning less than $1,000 per month who also able to apply for the benefit if their hours have been cut due to COVID-19.”

This benefit will provide monthly support payments of $1,250 from May 1 until August of 2020.

This amount can be increased to $1,750 monthly for those students who are caring for someone with a disability.

There will also be other measures ranging from increased student grants and financial assistance to enhanced scholarships and other initiatives.

As this program will require an in person sitting of parliament to be implemented, the exact details will become further defined.

In my view this new program will definitely be of benefit for many students who clearly did not qualify for the CERB program and had fallen through the cracks.

The reason why I referenced “clearly” in the context of not qualifying for the CERB program is for good reason.

Some students have expressed both confusion and even frustration trying to determine if they are eligible for the CERB benefit or not.

The confusion is related to recent comments the Prime Minister made in the House of Commons in Question Period stating that “students who had a job last summer or who worked during the school year are eligible for the CERB if they earned over $5,000. Many students are eligible.”

In fact, the actual legislation has additional requirements including, that aside from earning over $5,000, the benefit questions and answers specifically states “If you are a student who had a job last year and were planning on working this summer you do not qualify for the benefit.”

As the opposition, we continue to push the Liberal government for clarification on this as many students, based on hearing the Prime Minister’s comments, applied for the CERB benefit in good faith.

Unfortunately, as the Liberal government, Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Green Party all voted to have only one question period per week, there are fewer opportunities to raise important issues like this one in parliament.

At this point in time a virtual Parliament has been reported by the non partisan Clerk of the House of Commons as not feasible at this time.

By comparison the British parliament will sit with reduced numbers for three days a week, along with virtual option for those not in person.

My question this week relates to the House of Commons: Do you support the decision for the House to sit with reduced numbers only one day per week?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ColumnistCoronavirusHouse of Commons

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton fire crews quickly put out a small blaze at a home on Duncan Ave. E Monday night. (Mike Biden photo)
House fire in Penticton Monday night

The small fire on Duncan Ave. E was quickly put out, cause is unknown at this time

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Head Brewer Kody Rosentreter, owner Wes Greve and taproom manager Lisa Deleo celebrated North Basin Brewing’s grand opening Jan. 22 and 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Osoyoos’ first microbrewery celebrates grand opening

The brewery hopes to show that the Okanagan is more than just wine country

Once complete, the Ambrosia in Keremeos will house more than 100 seniors, families and those on disability. (LSCSS photo)
Keremeos affordable housing suites coming along

Once complete, Ambrosia will house more than 100 people

Penticton Search and Rescue completed two rescues in succession of each other Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 afternoon. (PENSAR / Facebook)
Penticton Search and Rescue members execute back-to-back rescues

PENSAR had barely completed their first rescue of the day when they received a second call

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Heather Barker. (File)
Manslaughter charge laid in Vernon woman’s 2018 death

Shaun Ross Wiebe, 43, faces manslaughter and assault charges related to the death of Heather Barker

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

Protesting farmers and their families gather around a bonfire to mark the harvest festival, which is called Lohri, on a blocked highway in protest against new farm laws on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Changes in India’s farm laws could potentially open up one of the world’s most populous markets and are being closely watched by Canada’s agricultural and economic sectors, say experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Altaf Qadri
UBCO students asking for support in raising funds for Indian farmers

UBCO’s Bhangra Club and Punjabi Student Association are raising funds for Khalsa Aid

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

The City of Vernon is sending a letter to the provincial government to request that church be deemed an essential service amid the pandemic. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon mayor scolded for revealing stance on making church essential

Coun. Scott Anderson calls Cummings’ actions ‘arrogant’

The scene of a serious crash on Highway 33 in Kelowna that killed one and severely injured two others on June 20, 2018. (File)
Driver found guilty of causing death, injury in 2018 Kelowna crash

Travis Ryan Hennessy will face sentencing at a later date

(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News staff)
Downtown stairwell fire suspicious, Kelowna RCMP say

Crews were called to Gotham Nightclub for a report of a stairwell fire

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Most Read