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Federal bill gets royal assent - Posted: Wed, Mar 25, 2020, 06:17 pm
An emergency federal bill to give the government billions of dollars to spend to help anxious workers, families and employers cope with COVID-19 is now law.

The bill allows the federal government up to $52 billion in funds to directly help Canadians, including a repackaged aid program for workers who can't work for almost any reason connected to the virus.

That Canada Emergency Response Benefit will offer $2,000 a month in direct support through the Canada Revenue Agency, and is the main reason the cost of direct COVID-19 aid nearly doubled from an estimated $27 billion last week to $52 billion now.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the benefits for workers should come as early as the first week of April, while top-ups for child benefits and GST cheques will flow in May.

"There aren't faster ways to get money into Canadians hands," said Morneau.

He said the benefit top-ups will be delivered faster if possible, but said the system has never been used this way before and the civil service is doing everything it can to get the money out the door to people who need it now.

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