Nearly 6 million people have applied for COVID-19 emergency benefits

Nearly six million people have applied for COVID-19 emergency aid benefits in the past month.

Figures from Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office show that more than half of them (3.5 million) have applied for the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) since it opened for claimants on April 6.

The total figure of nearly six million includes those who applied through the employment insurance (EI) process, which will be streamed through CERB for the first four months. To date, close to 5.4 million claims have been processed.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre is holding a news conference at 11 a.m. ET pushing for more help for businesses taking a financial hit from COVID-19. Watch it live here.

There were close to 172,000 new CERB claims over the weekend.

The $2,000 monthly CERB payment is for people who lost their source of income due to the global pandemic, either because they lost their job or had to stay home to care for children or to self-isolate.

The government is also offering a 75 per cent wage subsidy for businesses, charities and non-profits that will allow them to keep people on the payroll. That legislation passed in Parliament on the weekend.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking time with his family today and will not be giving a daily briefing.