Justin Trudeau: Non-essential travellers will not be eligible for Canada’s sick leave benefit

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Justin Trudeau: Non-essential travellers will not be eligible for Canada's sick leave benefit
Justin Trudeau: Non-essential travellers will not be eligible for Canada's sick leave benefit

The prime minister has announced that the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will not be available for people who are forced to quarantine after a non-essential trip.

This comes after a number of politicians were caught vacationing internationally over the holidays, despite public health guidance to avoid non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is not intended for travellers who are quarantining when they return from holiday,” Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. “This program was created to give people sick leave if they needed it and otherwise wouldn’t have one from their employer. It’s not there to pay for someone’s post-vacation quarantine.”

The prime minister promised more details in the days to come but was clear: “Anyone who travelled for non-essential reasons would not be able to access the sickness benefit.”

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit offers people who have to quarantine for 14 days $500 a week.

The federal employment minister has said 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,” Carla Qualtrough said in a statement Saturday.

“The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit was never intended to incentivize or encourage Canadians to not follow public health or international travel guidelines.”

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