Are people not returning to work because of CERB?

By James Langton | July 15, 2020 | Last updated on July 15, 2020
1 min read
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While the federal government’s emergency income support program has been effective at combating the economic fallout from Covid-19, it could slow the pace of recovery for some businesses, National Bank Financial Inc. (NBF) cautions.

In a research note, NBF said that the government’s recent fiscal “snapshot” showed that the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program has “more than compensated for the loss in labour income” during the pandemic.

This has helped keep households afloat and serves as a support for economic demand.

Yet NBF noted that there’s also a concern that it could discourage workers from returning to their jobs, which could hamper the recovery.

Indeed, NBF reported that there’s evidence that some workers are not rushing back to work — based on a mismatch between the jobless rate and the number of businesses reporting shortages of unskilled labour.

“With CERB being extended in full measure for eight additional weeks while the economy reopens, it could hobble the revival of some businesses,” NBF said.

On Tuesday, a report from the Senate Committee on National Finance suggested that the “effectiveness of CERB as an emergency income support has led many people to wonder whether it is time to consider a more permanent solution, such as a basic income guarantee.”

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.