We are in an interesting time and there is a looming issue ahead. What can we do after CERB ends but if the pandemic continues? The federal government has recently announced an extension on CERB payments, however, it may soon be time to explore other ways to assist Canadians. The government has introduced a $40,000 interest-free loan program for small businesses. But why can’t we do the same for individuals? One idea could be, if you qualify under the CERB criteria, you could take out a zero-interest loan of up to $5,000 (for example). You would then pay back this loan at a rate of $1,000 per year for five years. If you don’t pay it back, it could just be deducted from your future tax refunds or GST credits. Cash flow seems to be the largest issue right now for families and this could help bridge part of that gap until they’re able to get back to work. This method allows the government to inject more money into seasonal economies to those that truly need it without a large long-term increase to the national debt.
This may not necessarily replace CERB but it might be a good way to stimulate the economy and give the average person enough money and time in the pandemic to meet their commitments when the government runs low on the funding it can provide through CERB. It could work very similar in ways to how a student loan might work. We need solutions.