CERB-style program will ease burden on central bank during future economic shocks: governor

Canada’s top central banker says adding an income-support measure like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to the government’s tool kit could help the country more quickly respond to sudden shifts in the economy.

More than 8.1 million workers have applied for the $2,000-a-month benefit since it became available at the beginning of April, with payments now totalling over $38.4 billion.

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Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says a program like it would help because the central bank will likely have less policy room to manoeuvre when the next shock rolls around.

Speaking to reporters by videoconference, Poloz says he sees interest rates staying low, although he doesn’t know how low.

After the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada in mid-March, the bank quickly slashed its key interest rate to 0.25 per cent, bringing it as low as Poloz has said it will go.

Poloz says that cut, along with other measures, should help build a foundation for a quick recovery and the creation of new businesses.

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