Last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the federal government will extend the period of time claimants can receive COVID-19 pandemic income benefits. The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) and Employment Insurance (EI) will all see extensions in the number of weeks eligible recipients can receive them. “As some workers could begin to exhaust their benefits in late March, this increase would ensure continued support as Canada’s economy and labour force recovers,” the federal government said in a news release. “By increasing the number of available weeks for these important benefits, the government is giving certainty to workers in hard-hit sectors and their families, and better positioning our economy to recover.”
EI. The federal government will seek to increase the maximum period recipients can receive EI regular benefits to 50 weeks, an extension of 24 weeks. This applies to claims made between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. However, the EI extensions depend on the legislation receiving approval in Parliament.
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) replaced the federal government’s Canada Economic Recovery Benefit (CERB) program that provides $1,000 over a two-week period (less $100 withheld for tax purposes) to those who don’t qualify for EI. The new maximum that can be now claimed through the CRB will rise from the original 26 weeks to 38 weeks (i.e. from 13 two-week periods to 19 two-week periods. The CRB provides support to individuals who are unable to work because they’ve been “directly affected” by COVID-19 and are not entitled to EI. Recipients must reapply every two weeks to continue receiving the benefit.
The Canada Recovery Caregiving Bebefit (CRCB) will receive the same extension to 38 weeks. The program “provides income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they must care for their child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care,” said the government. Recipients receive $500 for a one-week period and must reapply each week to continue receiving the benefit.
The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), designed to support those who can’t work due to illness or having to self-isolate during the pandemic, will be extended to four weeks from the previous two. Those eligible can receive $500 per week but must reapply every week. For more information on these programs, please visit the appropriate Government of Canada website.