Illogical? The Government Is Offering $1,000 To Travelers Returning To Canada (Even Non-Essential Travelers)

Strange news today: the federal government says that travelers returning to the country are admissible to the $1,000 Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). Here at Flytrippers, we look at the facts about everything travel-related and we share our thoughts objectively as travel experts, regardless of whether the facts are in favor of travelers or not… and this just does seem very logical to us.

“No need to screw over the government; they screw themselves over.”

That was an epic quote, from a popular character known for being a swindler, on a Radio-Canada end-of-year show that was a big hit in the French-speaking part of Canada. It was about the CERB… but it’s hard not to draw a parallel with this quirk of the CRSB too…

 

The $1,000 for travelers

Here are the facts:

  • it’s assistance for workers who need to quarantine
  • it’s a $1,000 benefit to compensate for lost income
  • it’s $500 per week for 2 weeks
  • you must be present in Canada when receiving it
  • you must have missed at least 50% of a workweek
  • you must not have received paid leave from your employer simultaneously
  • you must be a Canadian resident
  • travelers have never been excluded from this benefit
  • you can see the details on the official CRSB website

Montreal’s La Presse first published this story this morning.

They spoke to the federal Minister of Employment’s press secretary and she confirmed that travelers returning to the country—whether they traveled for essential or non-essential reasons—can be admissible to receive $1,000 from taxpayers… because they traveled.

Let’s just say we’ve seen better in terms of ways to discourage travel…

As much as the outrage we’ve seen about travelers in the past few weeks seems disproportionate and not particularly fact-based (considering 98.2% of Canada’s COVID-19 cases are not related to international travel compared to 1.8% related to international travel, according to official data from Canada’s Public Health authorities)…

… as much as this CRSB quirk seems to be much more worthy of outrage.

Even if, yes, we can all agree this news could be interpreted as in favor of travelers… that factor is just never one we take into account.

We look at the facts objectively and tell it how it is.

Giving $1,000 to those who decide to travel seems a bit strange. Yes, you lose income because of a government measure (the quarantine) and yes it’s important to encourage people to quarantine. But you know that there’s that mandatory quarantine to do, it’s a known fact when you decide to travel or not…

But then again, you are allowed to claim that $1,000 according to the government, just like you are allowed to travel internationally…

Do you think this is logical?

 

226 million dollars already given out

The program has already cost taxpayers 226 million dollars and 268,000 people participated. This is since September only.

That said, not all beneficiaries are travelers of course… but the government doesn’t even compile data to know which proportion of these benefits were given out for which reason. (Are you really surprised?)

But yes, by all means, believe them when they say their policy decisions will all be evidence-based.

To be clear, we’re not saying some essential travelers wouldn’t deserve assistance, in some circumstances. But for those traveling for leisure, let’s just say it’s once again not very coherent with their recommendation not to travel…

It seems like this is another one of the federal government’s great successes in the travel-related sphere since the beginning of the pandemic (refunds, borders, quarantines, temperature checks, testing, airline bailouts, etc.)

Now, either they will react haphazardly and tighten the criteria (if enough media outlets talk about this maybe)… or they will do nothing, as they have on many travel-related issues (… or they’ll do it 4 months later).

 

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Summary

Travelers are entitled to $1,000 when returning to Canada if they meet the eligibility criteria for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), even if they traveled for non-essential reasons. Strange way to discourage leisure travel.

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 62/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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