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Today’s coronavirus news: CERB payments begin to wind down starting this weekend

Today’s coronavirus news: CERB payments begin to wind down starting this weekend
Canada
The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:02 a.m.: CERB payments will begin to wind down starting this weekend. In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on, and a new suite of benefits that won’t exist unless approved by Parliament.

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people, or roughly two in every five members of the nearly 20.2 million-strong labour force in August.

Benefits were paid up front, which won’t be the case for those in the first wave of being transferred to the new system: The government says the first payment will come the week of Oct. 11. About 80 per cent are expected to receive payments by Oct. 14; a further 10 per cent within the first two weeks.

The $500-a-week floor on benefits in EI, or $300 per week floor for new parents using the extended-leave option, will be taxable. Jobless benefits through this EI program will be available for at least 26 weeks, and claimants will be allowed to earn more than they did under the CERB, up to $38,000 annually, before being completely cut off.

Employers will also be allowed to use “supplemental unemployment benefits” to top up EI payments.

The threshold to qualify for EI has been reduced to 120 hours of insurable work for those coming back into the system that has been nearly dormant since March.

The government says 2.8 million people will qualify for EI as of Monday. But many may not do so automatically.

7:37 a.m.: A former Lebanese foreign minister and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Sunday.

The statement from his office said Gebran Bassil, who also heads the Christian Free Patriotic Movement party, will isolate until he recovers, adding that the infection level is still “low and acceptable.”

The announcement comes amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Lebanon, with record numbers registered almost every day for the past week.

The Health Ministry confirmed Saturday 1,280 new coronavirus cases, bringing the overall number of infections in Lebanon to 33,162. The government has recorded 317 deaths from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in late February.
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