Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is working “rapidly” to close loopholes on a benefit that some Canadians could have used to be paid upon returning from non-essential travel abroad.
The PM referenced a loophole in the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit that could see vacationers receive $1,000 for their 14-day quarantine in his Tuesday morning address.
“It is not intended for travellers who are quarantining when they return from holiday,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau: ‘We didn’t imagine’ people would use benefit as loophole to travel
He added that this benefit was put in place to allow people who come down with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home if they are not covered by sickness benefits through their employer.
“We want them to stay home and we want them to have the support, that’s why we brought in the Canada sickness benefit,” Trudeau said. “We didn’t imagine when we passed in unanimously in the House...that people would use it to pay for their quarantines after having gone south for a two-week vacation.”
The prime minister said the federal government is “rapidly” looking at ways to fix this loophole in the financial aid.
“Anyone who travelled for non-essential reasons will not be able to access the sickness benefit,” Trudeau said.
Beginning on Thursday, all international travellers who are five years of age or older will require a negative COVID-19 test before arriving to Canada. This is in addition to the 14-day quarantine rule currently in place for travellers.
The prime minister also had a simple message for any Canadian who wants to travel for non-essential purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been very clear, no one should be vacationing abroad right now,” Trudeau said.