Trudeau announces changes to CERB, the COVID alert app, and more

Ottawa – From the Public Health Agency of Canada in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced the launch of the new COVID Alert App, help for temporary foreign workers, and changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Trudeau began by acknowledging COVID-19 cases are on the rise in some communities across the country and for Canadians to ensure they follow public health protocols as much as possible.

He then announced the launch of the new COVID Alert App, now available through the App Store on all cellular phones.

The app is the result of collaboration between Blackberry, the Government of Ontario, and Shopify.

The app, which is entirely voluntary, will let you know if you’ve been in contact with someone else who has the app, and has tested positive for COVID-19.  Trudeau said the app does not collect any personal information, but the more downloads, the more effective the app will be.

He said if you have the app and are alerted to having been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus, to call public health for further information on the next steps to take. 

While the Atlantic provinces have not as yet “signed on” with the app, Trudeau said efforts are being made to integrate maritime health systems as quickly as possible.  

Trudeau announced a $59 million fund to protect the health and safety of migrant workers on Canadian farms.

The fund will provide for additional farm inspections, provide emergency relief when needed, and improve the overall conditions on farms.

Some 700,000 employees have benefited from the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), because the rent assistance program enabled employers to keep them on the payroll.   To that end, Trudeau said the CECRA would be extended through August 2020.

And finally, Trudeau talked about upcoming changes to the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit.

“Our goal is to transition everyone on the CERB to employment insurance (EI) because EI should cover every Canadian who’s looking for work,” said Trudeau.

“And for those who don’t qualify for EI right now, like gig or contract workers, we will create a transitional, parallel benefit that is similar to employment insurance.

“It will include access to training and being able to earn more money while receiving the benefit,” he added.

He said there will also be a sickness and caregivers benefit for those who must care for an individual with COVID-19.

“We intend to cover every Canadian who is looking for work with a better, 21st century EI system.”

For up to date information on cases across the country, all current benefit programs, Canada’s job bank, and further information on today’s funding announcements, go to