The Canadian government has announced that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended and that access to Employment Insurance (EI) will be expanded. It also announced new programs to help self-employed workers, people sick with COVID-19, and those taking care of someone due to COVID-19.
CERB has been extended by another four weeks. This means that if you applied for the CERB in April and your benefits were due to run out, you will continue receiving the CERB until the end of September. At the end of this extension, people who qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) will be transferred to EI.
Changes to Employment Insurance
Applying and qualifying for EI is now easier.
Normally, you must work a certain number of minimum hours to qualify for EI. However, the government has announced temporary changes. This means that with you can now qualify for EI if you worked 120 insurable hours in the past year. You normally must work between 420 and 700 hours to qualify for EI.
In addition, EI will pay a minimum of $400 a week as of September 27, 2020. This applies even if you would normally receive less than that under the old EI rules.
For more information about EI, please see our article on EI.
Three New Benefit Programs
The Canadian government has announced three new benefits:
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The CRB is meant for workers who do not qualify for EI. This means that self-employed and gig workers who are impacted by COVID-19 can apply. The CRB pays $400 per week (taxable) for up to 26 weeks.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
The CRSB is meant for people sick with COVID-19 or who must self-isolate due to COVID-19. The CRSB pays $500 per week (taxable) for two weeks.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
The CRCB is meant for people who must take care of children or other dependents due to COVID-19. The CRCB pays $500 per week (taxable) for up to 26 weeks.
It’s important to note that these programs must first be approved by Parliament, which will not resume until late September. If passed by Parliament, these benefits will begin on September 27, 2020.
For more information on these programs, please visit the government’s website.