The parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux estimates that the 8-week CERB extension will end up costing $17.9 billion.
The CERB, now budgeted at $60 billion, has paid out $43.51 billion to 8.41 million people as of June 4 as demand surges past federal expectations.
There was a fear that CERB applicants who applied right at the beginning and still needed those payments would be in the lurch when the 16-week limit came to an end, to clear up any doubt and fear of that happening, the Liberals promised to increase the limit to 24 weeks.
Giroux’s report says the additional cost to the program depends heavily on the outlook for the economy and jobs, as well as the course of the pandemic.
The report says further uncertainty over the final cost of the program rests on the actual take up of the federal wage subsidy program, which the Liberals plan to retool.
As things stand, it is likely that high unemployment will continue for months to come even as the country re-opens. Too much has changed and many businesses have and will continue to change their business model.