A short note on the CERB

A lot of the news yesterday was about how the Trudeau government was looking to crack down on CERB fraudsters. I don’t know what the numbers are for fraudulent claims for CERB. I’m also betting that the government has no idea either. I do know though its a good program that is helping folks through this trying period. I know this because I am on CERB.

Prior to this pandemic, I was on EI. I had lost my job a while back and was in the search for a new one. Had landed a few job interviews but unfortunately no offers. I decided that I would go into business for myself. Primarily helping small businesses brand themselves and help to promote their stories. It was a combination of two things I had much experience in, communications and small business management. It was a good fit for me, so I created a sales pitch, printed up some business cards, signed up for a few networking meetings and made a list of businesses to target. And then the pandemic hit. Literally overnight every business I was going to call on, was uncertain if they were going to survive the month. Networking events cancelled. My entire plan literally collapsed in one day.

I was nervous to know what I would do if I couldn’t work. My EI would run out, but no one was hiring for my skill set. Luckily, the CERB was announced and I learned that I could apply after my EI ran out. Which it did. I tried to apply through Service Canada, but that wasn’t the clearest of processes. Eventually I called in, answered some questions and was put on the rolls for CERB. I am now one of the millions of Canadians getting $2,000 a month from the government.

I’m thankful for the funds coming into my bank account. Mostly as it’s helping to keep a roof over my family’s head and food on our table. More importantly, it’s allowed me to assess where I am right now. I don’t have pressure to go take any job potentially in a dangerous profession right now with COVID-19 still prevalent. I have been able to write more on this site as you’re no doubt able to see. I am also able to volunteer in helping with the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society leading up to their Relay at Home fundraiser this weekend. As well, I’m helping to create and launch a new online media platform for local news here in the 905 area code. Conveniently enough titled The 905er.

I am assuming that vast majority of people earning CERB are like me. Circumstances far beyond our control have caused us to not have jobs. The sum we’re getting isn’t a fortune, but it is enough to put fears and worries away. Which right now, is a lifesaver. No one is earning CERB because they want to. It’s because they need to. This is a necessary program. The economic recovery isn’t going to be a turn the light switch back on and all the jobs return kind of event. It’s going to be a long slow transition to a new kind of economy. A lot of jobs are going to be eliminated or phased out in the next few years. The CERB is no doubt going to be a necessary tool to ensure people are able to isolate and distances themselves against COVID-19, while allowing our economy to still function.

Conservatives and Liberals, don’t go after these people like they’re criminals. We aren’t. We’re all on CERB because we have to. We literally have nothing else to help us out right now. CERB cheats will no doubt turn into the welfare scam artists of the ‘90’s. The army of con-artists milking off the government dole, never existed. At least not in the numbers we were told. Take a word of advice from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, “have a heart.”

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