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Minister says vaccination rules to gain COVID-19 benefits in the near future

OTTAWA – The federal minister in charge of aid to the unemployed said unemployed Canadians who refuse to get vaccinated could have their benefits blocked as long as public health concerns remain at the forefront.

The Liberals have introduced fallback provisions for a range of welfare payments, saying federal assistance is not available to workers who have lost their jobs or lost hours because they refused vaccinations.

The rules do not apply to people with medical exemptions.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said the decision was partly economic to ensure workplaces were not closed due to the outbreak and also to encourage more eligible Canadians to get their shots.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Qualtrough said that the rules will likely stay in place as long as public health remains a top policy priority.

The latest round of government subsidies for disadvantaged workers is scheduled to last until early May, but the Liberals have the power to extend aid until the summer if necessary.

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 30, 2021.

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