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UPDATE: P.E.I. government launching $1-million fund to support workers affected by COVID-19 restrictions

Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay - file
Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay - file

Grocery gift cards and the $500 Emergency Payment for Workers are returning as well


The P.E.I. government will be launching a $1-million fund to support workers affected by the latest COVID-19 restrictions brought in Sunday.

Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay made the announcement this afternoon during a briefing explaining some of the measures the provincial government is bringing in to help employees during the increased public health restrictions.

Several restrictions imposed on Feb. 28 impacted workers as non-essential businesses were forced to close in the wake of outbreaks in the Summerside and Charlottetown areas.

The support measures MacKay announced are meant to help employees who aren’t eligible for paid sick leave but are forced to take time off due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s a lot of anxiety right now especially with people wondering where their money’s going to come from to pay their bills and put food on their table. So, this million-dollar fund is essentially there so that people know we’re there to support them,” said MacKay.

More details about the new fund will be announced in the coming days.

MacKay started the briefing by saying the province is relaunching a $500 payment for workers and people who are self-employed who lost income because of the latest restrictions.

The $500 Emergency Payment for Workers will go to people who are out of work or whose hours were reduced by at least 12 hours per week from Feb. 28 – March 14 due to the latest modified red-level restricted measures announced Sunday.

MacKay said he’s hoping to see “money in Islanders’ bank accounts” in the next 72-hours.

The program was part of the initial provincial government response to the pandemic last year as restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 also put people out of work.

During the previous circuit breaker, the government handed out 1,530 emergency payments totalling $765,000. Additionally, the province handed out 1,199 gift cards totalling $45,000.

Details about the payment program and applications will be available on the provincial government’s website on Tuesday.

MacKay also announced the province is relaunching a $100 grocery card program for workers directly impacted by the restrictions.  

The Minister reminded people that the provincial programs are in addition to federal programs to support those impacted by COVID-19.

MacKay also announced that his staff will meet with stakeholders in the business community to discuss ways to support them.

“We applaud all our local businesses for being so innovative and accommodating in providing these safe options for their customers,” said MacKay.


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