We are hearing some fantastic news about provinces and territories across the country slowly opening up their economies. It will potentially add hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost. However, the new jobs will not come close to the millions who have lost their means of income due to the pandemic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the government will extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to continue helping the millions who are still out of work.
The original CERB plan was going to pay $500 per week to applicants for up to 16 weeks, making the total payment a person can receive amount to $8,000. With no visible end to the pandemic, the CERB period for citizens who applied at the start began to worry about getting an income.
The government has decided to continue helping affected Canadians by announcing an extension to the original plan by eight weeks. CERB applicants can receive $500 per week for up to 24 weeks, adding $4,000 to the total they can receive.
CERB extension conditions
The country is moving back to a return-to-work phase. If you max out your CERB and still have not found a job with the economy reopening, you can apply for a further eight weeks or until you can find a job.
It’s necessary to understand that the CERB is a temporary relief measure. It is not something you can look to as an alternative to working. You should actively seek employment opportunities or return to your job if your employers call you.
People collecting CERB during the extension will sign an attestation that they acknowledge the fact that the government is encouraging them to find work and consult with the job bank with the government.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is no longer being lenient about checking the eligibility criteria. The government is also employers to avail the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program and recall employees.
Create a better income source
The pandemic and all that it has done should be a lesson for everybody. It might teach you the crucial nature of sound financial planning and having emergency funds set aside at an individual level. CERB has been a lifeline for millions of people, but it is only a temporary benefit. I would advise creating another means of income that can provide you with long-term benefits — crisis or not.
Brookfield Renewable Partners (TSX:BEP.UN)(NYSE:BEP) is a company with the business model to withstand economic shock. Despite the harsh economic environment right now, the company can continue growing.
The pure-play renewable power company is capitalizing on a booming new industry. Bloomberg estimates that there was a total of $1.5 trillion worldwide investment in various renewable energy projects. It believes that the investment can turn into $5 trillion in the next five years. Brookfield is at the forefront with its active growth right now.
The company only recently purchased wind farms in Spain for more than $1 billion. Brookfield also caters to clients through long-term contracts that last several decades. It shows that the company can sustain substantial cash flow for years without experiencing the challenges most other sectors face. Unlike typical utilities, Brookfield can also keep growing.
Having a stock like Brookfield in your investment portfolio can allow you to earn substantial income for decades without worrying about expiry dates or eligibility issues. You can keep reinvesting the passive income to increase your earning power or merely set it aside for emergencies.
Make sure you are completely eligible to receive the CERB money. If possible, I would advise trying to create alternative revenue streams through dividend-paying stocks like Brookfield Renewable Partners and other high-quality stocks with defensive properties and growth potential.
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Fool contributor Adam Othman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.