OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Changes could be coming to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit because of the several politicians who spent some of the holiday season outside of the country, despite public health appeals to avoid non-essential travel due to COVID-19.
The scandal comes as the federal Liberal government considers whether the benefit — which offers $1,000 in support for people who have to quarantine for 14 days — should be off-limits to vacationers.
The federal employment minister says the benefit was designed “to provide workers with a paid sick-leave option” and not travel with paid time-off on return.
“In September, all parties in the House of Commons unanimously passed legislation, creating three new benefits and outlining eligibility criteria for the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit,” a statement from Carla Qualtrough reads.
My statement on the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and its eligibility criteria. pic.twitter.com/2lY9ZSPdmU
— Carla Qualtrough (@CQualtro) January 2, 2021
“The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit was never intended to incentivize or encourage Canadians to not follow public health or international travel guidelines.”
Qualtrough adds the government is “actively looking at all available options to address this issue,” brought to light after a number of politicians were caught travelling over the holidays.
A recent study out of the U.K. has shown that there’s been a marked decrease in compliance with public health orders when politicians and others in power have been caught breaking the rules. The study did not directly look at the situation that’s unfolded in Canada in recent weeks, but researchers have said that when people witnessed federal politicians working loopholes or sneaking around despite travel restrictions, personal sacrifices seemed less necessary and goodwill turned to anger.