Federal government announces new financial supports for workers affected by COVID-19
As the economy begins to re-open, the federal government has announced new financial supports for workers affected by COVID-19.
The $2,000/month Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended until September 27, 2020. To date, the CERB has paid out more than $69 billion to 8.6 million plus recipients.
Come September 27, individuals accessing the CERB who are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), but remain unable to work, will transition to a simplified EI program.
Revisions to the revised EI program include:
- 120 hours of insurable hours needed to claim EI, totalling 3.5 weeks of work over a 52 week period.
- Minimum EI payment of $400/week to a maximum of $573 per week, depending on past earnings.
- Claims can remain active for 26 to 45 weeks, depending on time worked prior.
- Claimants can earn income while receiving EI but will have their benefits adjusted, reduced by $0.50 for each dollar of earnings.
Furthermore, while EI premium rates would typically be set to increase, they have been froze for two years at $1.58 per $100 for employees and $2.21 per $100 for businesses.
In addition to the revamped EI system, the federal government has introduced three temporary taxable benefits for those who do not qualify for EI and will be introduced on September 27, 2020.
(1) Canada Recovery Benefit
- Available to self-employed, gig or contract workers who are not eligible for EI and are unable to return to work.
- Available for 26 weeks.
(2) Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
- Available for workers who do not have paid sick leave through their place of employment.
- The purpose of the benefit is to make it easier for people who need to stay home when they are sick or self-isolating to be able to do so without losing their entire income.
- $500/week for up to two weeks.
(3) Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
- Available for workers who need to stay home to care for loved ones, including children 12 years old and under, family members with a disability and dependents when schools, daycares and other facilities are closed due to the pandemic.
- It is also available for workers whom a medical professional has deemed to be at high-risk of severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19.
- $500/week for up to 26 weeks per household for (only one adult per household can access the benefit).
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