Fix on Friday to finally let moms-to-be receive CERB, Qualtrough tells MPs

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OTTAWA — Expecting mothers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 in March, and have since been unable to access emergency federal aid, will receive a key benefit once a fix comes into effect on Friday.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough told MPs in an email today that changes to the system would be in place May 8 so some pregnant women can finally receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

The issue stems from a flaw in the CERB system in which women who identified as pregnant on their employment insurance applications in March weren’t automatically moved over to the pandemic benefit when it launched about one month ago.

Instead, some women entitled to CERB benefits were put on EI instead, which could impact their parental leave time, while others simply didn’t receive financial help at all.

Qualtrough says expectant mothers who haven’t received the CERB will begin to receive backdated payments, while those who received less than $500 per week in EI benefits will receive a retroactive top up.

She is also promising that women who receive EI won’t have those weeks docked from their maternity and parental leave entitlements.