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Federal data gives most detailed picture yet of where CERB went in Halifax

A person looks at the Government of Canada's website for Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in Kingston, Ontario on Sunday, September 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

The city of Halifax had about 11.21 per cent of its residents receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) last year.

An analysis of federal data by The Canadian Press shows that the city had on average 21,869 recipients during each four-week pay period for the pandemic aid.

Over its lifespan between late March and October of last year, the CERB paid out nearly $82 billion to 8.9 million people in Canada whose incomes crashed either because they saw their hours slashed or lost their jobs.

Read more: Where did CERB go? Data shows disparities between Canada’s urban and rural areas

In the first four-week period, there were 38,390 people in the city receiving the CERB, and the figure fell from there.

There were 26,270 in the second period, 22,850 in the third, 19,840 in the fourth, 16,610 in the fifth, 15,540 in the sixth, and 13,580 in the final month before a trio of new benefits and a revamped employment insurance system replaced CERB.

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The figures come from federal data The Canadian Press obtained under the Access to Information Act that provides the most detailed picture yet of where the aid went.

The data from Employment and Social Development Canada is broken down by the first three digits of postal codes, known as forward sortation areas (FSAs), to determine the number of active recipients at any time anywhere in the country.

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The Canadian Press used population counts from the 2016 census to calculate what percentage of the population over age 15 in each forward sortation area received the CERB in any four-week pay period.

Some forward sortation areas in the data were created after the 2016 census and weren’t included in the analysis.

Halifax is made up of the following FSAs: B3H, B3J, B3K, B3L, B3M, B3N, B3P, B3R, B3S, B3V, B0J, B0N.

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This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and first published Feb. 15, 2021.

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