Nearly one million Canadians filed for income support benefits on the first day the emergency COVID-19 program was open for applications.
Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says 996,000 new claims were filed for the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) on Monday, which offers people about $2,000 a month for up to 16 weeks.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, another 537,000 applications had flooded in.
Since March 15, the federal government has received more than four million claims, including employment insurance (EI) claims that will be paid out as the CERB for the first four months before EI payments kick in.
More than three million applications have been processed to date.
In his daily briefing this morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed appreciation for the public servants processing those claims, noting that they are working around the clock to get Canadians the help they need as quickly as possible.
Despite the high numbers, Trudeau acknowledged Monday that some people who should qualify for the aid aren’t eligible under current rules. Trudeau has promised to expand eligibility criteria to help students and people working reduced hours.