Feds weigh cutting COVID-19 sickness benefit for Canadians who have travelled

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OTTAWA — The federal government is weighing whether to bar people who have travelled overseas from a new benefit for those who have to quarantine due to COVID-19.

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, launched in the fall to help Canadians who are unable to work because they must quarantine during the pandemic, is worth $500 per week to a maximum of two weeks.

But Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the government is actively looking at all options as questions surface around whether Canadians who have travelled abroad should be allowed to collect the money during their mandatory two-week isolation period upon returning to the country.

Qualtrough says the benefit was never intended to encourage Canadians to travel outside the country, adding the government continues to discourage non-essential travel.

A number of politicians across the country have found themselves in hot water over the past week after revelations they ignored such guidance and left the country for vacations or other purposes.

Those revelations have stoked public anger as millions of Canadians continue to self-isolate due to government-imposed lockdowns aimed at curbing the second wave of COVID-19 infections in Canada.

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