Courtesy rcinet.ca

The federal Liberal cabinet approved a scheme to pay every single resident of a remote Quebec hamlet COVID-19 benefits, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Department of Employment on Monday would not comment on discretionary cash awards approved by cabinet order.

“This benefit is designed to provide targeted and temporary income support to workers whose employment is interrupted by a designated COVID-19 public health lockdown,” staff wrote in a Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement.  

“These payments will provide income support to workers who have lost their employment or are unable to perform work as a self-employed person.”

Cabinet on Wednesday designated the village of Kuujjuaq, Que. near Ungava Bay, as a lockdown region.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough was “of the opinion it is in the public interest that an order designating the region be made for the benefit,” wrote staff.

The Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit pays $300 a week. The village is home to 960 tax filers.

Every single resident of Quebec hamlet covered in large COVID payout

Kuujjuaq benefits were made retroactive from last October 24 to December 18, an eight-week period.

Payments were estimated at up to $3,936,000, the equivalent of a federal cheque for every wage earner in the village.

The department had no explanation for the budget figure.

“The minister is of the opinion the ‘lockdown orders’ definition has been met,” staff wrote in a regulatory notice.

“The rise in COVID-19 cases in mid-December driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant has resulted in enhanced public health measures in multiple regions, provinces and territories concurrently.

“The lockdown benefit is not currently designed to respond to the scale and nature of the current public health measures given the narrow definition of ‘lockdown order.’”

Parliament passed the Lockdown Benefit Act on December 16. It originally limited payments to workers affected by full closures or stay-home orders for a minimum 14 days.

The main private sector employers in the village include two motels with a total 35 rooms, a co-op store and the Old Chimo Café, according to a local business directory.

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