On August 20th, the Federal Government announced several measures in preparation for the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). These announcements included a four-week extension to the CERB, changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and three new temporary recovery benefits.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The CERB will now be available for a maximum of 28 weeks, so applicants who received the benefit consistently since its March 15th commencement date can receive the benefit until September 26th.
Employment Insurance (EI)
Those receiving EI will now be eligible for a taxable benefit of at least $400 per week if they have worked at least 120 hours in the prior 52 weeks. Extended parental benefits will have a minimum payment of $240 per week. Regular benefits will be accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks. Under EI’s “Working While on Claim” rules, someone receiving EI can earn income and have their EI benefits reduced by 50 to 90 percent prior year’s earnings. Additionally, EI premium rates will be frozen for two years.
Temporary Recovery Benefits
The following new benefits will be available for one year, beginning on September 27, 2020.
Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)
The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide a taxable benefit of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks. Canadian residents who are at least 15 years old and have a valid SIN are eligible if they:
- have stopped working due to COVID-19 and are available and looking for work
- are working but have experienced a reduction in their employment or self-employment income for reasons related to COVID-19
Applicants cannot be eligible for EI, must not have quit their job voluntarily and have made employment or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020. Recipients can still earn income as long as they continue to meet the other requirements, but recipients need to repay $0.50 of the CRB for each dollar their annual net income exceeds $38,000 in the calendar year, up to the amount of CRB they received.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
For employees or the self-employed who do not have a paid sick leave program, the Canada Recovery Sickness benefit (CRSB) will provide a taxable benefit of $500 per week for up to two weeks for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. Canadian residents who are 15 years old with a valid SIN are eligible if they:
- are employed or self-employed at the time the application is made
- have missed a minimum of 60 per cent of scheduled work in the particular week
- not otherwise receiving paid sick leave
- have earned at least $5,000 of employment or self-employment income in 2019 or 2020
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
The Canada Recovery Caregiving benefit (CRCB) will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for eligible Canadians unable to work because they must care for a family member due to COVID-19. Only one household member can receive this benefit in any particular week. To be eligible, an applicant must have been unable to work for at least 60 per cent of a normally scheduled work week to take care of a child under 12 or provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent. The applicant must be caring for the family member or dependent because:
- Their school, daycare, day program or care facility is closed or operates under an alternative schedule due to COVID-19
- A medical professional has advised they cannot attend the facility due to being at high risk of COVID-19 contact
- The caregiver usually providing care is not available due to COVID-19
The CRCB applicant can not have received paid leave or other benefits like the CERB, CRB, CRSB, short term disability, workers’ compensation or EI for that any particular CRCB eligible week.