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Vancouver RMT signs up for CERB as millions of Canadians wait for financial help
VANCOUVER -- Kaitlyn Inkster is a registered massage therapist, and one of the millions of Canadians unable to work due to COVID-19.
“It was a really tough decision,” she told CTV News in an interview. “Because you’re not making any money if you decide not to work but you could be potentially spreading the virus as well.”
Inkster works at two clinics in north Burnaby, but March 15 was her last day on the job.
“I decided to stop working because it’s not really in line with the code of ethics, if there’s a potential to spread the disease,” she said.
As of Monday morning she’s one of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians to sign up for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.
While it took Inkster three tries to successfully complete the online application, she described the process and smooth and easy.
The CERB is a $2,000 monthly cheque paid out by the government for a four-month timeframe.
“If you’re born January, February or March, you can go to Canada.ca and apply online” said Justin Trudeau in his daily briefing outside Rideau cottage. “For everyone else, you’ll be able to apply another day this week depending on your birth month.”
But some Canadians have found they’re not covered by the new benefit.
Tammy Woodward is a health care aide in Calgary.
"I’m stuck in the middle where I’m not getting enough hours to make my ends meet, and I can’t apply for those benefits,” she told CTV News.
Many Canadians are in the same position, including contract workers, those who earn less than the benefit offers, and many students now also facing a summer of potential unemployment.
“There are some people who don’t yet qualify who we do need to help,” said Trudeau. "We will soon announce how you will be able to qualify for the CERB.”
In a city like Vancouver, $2,000 doesn’t go far.
“Luckily I live with my partner whose job hasn’t been lost, so $2,000 will cover my basics,” said Inkster. “I might have to dip into my savings but I won’t have to use my entire savings luckily.”
She’s one of the lucky ones, as so many look to an uncertain future, as they wait to see if money is going to be made available for them too.