After the federal government recently announced that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended into late September (bringing the maximum payment period to 28 weeks), on Sunday, September 27, recipients still out of work can transition to the government’s Employment Insurance (EI) program. Or, depending on your situation at that time, you can apply for new benefit programs for self-employed workers who are not eligible for EI (the Canada Recovery Benefit), those who are ill or self-isolating due to COVID-19, and those caring for a child, dependant or family member because schools, daycares or care facilities are closed.
Under the revised EI program, which will be in place for one year, recipients will be eligible for a minimum regular benefit of $400 per week for between 26 and 45 weeks, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits. EI eligibility Canada-wide will also be effectively set at 120 insurable hours worked in the past year, equal to 3.5 hours of full-time work a week. Normally, eligibility requirements are determined by the number of insurable hours one has worked based on the unemployment rate in different regions across Canada (ranging from 420 to 700 hours). Benefit amounts will equal 55% of one’s income, to a maximum of $573 per week, and are taxable. The $400 floor will now mean that recipients will get between that and the maximum.
The Canada Recovery Benefit is for those who are self-employed and not EI-eligible, including workers employed in the “gig” economy. The benefit provides $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, and applicants will be required to attest on their form that they’ve lost income and are available and actively looking for work. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit will provide workers who are ill or self-isolating due to COVID-19 with $500 per week for up to two weeks. Similarly, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit is for workers who must miss work to stay home to care for a child under the age of 12, a family member, or a dependant. They can access $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household. A school or child-care facility must be closed, but if a medical professional recommends a child stay at home, the caregiver would be able to access the benefit.
For information specific to your particular situation as it evolves, please visit the appropriate government of Canada website.