Federal government promises fix for loophole allowing aid money for returning vacationers

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MONTREAL -- The federal government will act to close a loophole that allows some vacationers who defied public health recommendations by travelling abroad to collect hundreds of dollars in aid.

Liberal MP and House of Commons leader Pablo Rodriguez called the provision of the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit that allows returning vacationers to receive $500 per week during the ensuing 14-day quarantine period “unacceptable.”

In an interview with LCN, Rodriguez promised the federal government will act quickly to rectify the situation.

“It was never the intention, it was never the goal,” he said. “The measures that were put in place were meant to help workers stay home and not contaminate their colleagues. We didn't foresee this and we will fix it. It's unacceptable.”

On Twitter, Rodriguez elaborated, saying the government owes a fix to "the healthcare workers and to everyone who respects the rules."

The provision allows for the aid to be paid if the quarantine period affects someone's income.

On Saturday, federal Employment and Social Development Minister Carla Qualtrough tweeted a statement saying the government was exploring “all available options to address this issue.”

The promises to act came after the Liberal government was criticized by members of the opposition parties, who said people leaving the country during the pandemic for vacations should not be eligible for the aid money.