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[Updated March 26, 2020]

The Government of Canada announced several measures designed to assist employees who have been impacted by COVID-19. They include:

  • Employment Insurance benefits for laid off Employees and for Employee illness or Employee quarantine (assuming sufficient Employee insurable hours)
  • Emergency care benefit for Employees without sufficient insurable hours
  • Emergency care benefit for Employees required to provide childcare as a result of school closures regardless of insurable hours
  • Employee support for those Employees who lost their jobs or face reduced hours and are not eligible for EI are eligible for the $5.0 billion Emergency Support Program delivered through CRA

Employment Insurance Benefits: Temporary Layoffs

  • Employees must have a minimum of 700 insurable hours to qualify for EI
  • Employer issues ROE although Employees can still apply prior to Employer issuing ROE
  • Employees remains subject to 1 week waiting period
  • Benefit period from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks depending on unemployment rate in the region at the time of filing and the amount of insurable hours
  • Benefits provided equal to 55% of weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $573 per week

Employment Insurance Benefits: Sickness/Illness

  • Employees must have minimum of 600 insurance hours to qualify
  • Employer issues ROE although Employees can still apply prior to Employer issuing ROE
  • The normal 1-week waiting has been waived
  • Sickness/illness includes quarantine
  • No medical note by a Doctor is required
  • Benefits period is up to 15 weeks
  • Benefits provided equal to 55% of weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $573 per week

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit

On March 25 the federal government announced a new COVID-19 emergency support program. It combines two previously announced benefits – the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit, into a single, more streamlined program.

The new program which is named The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) offers up to 4 months of $2,000 payments for individuals who have lost their income due to the pandemic.

Who is eligible for the CERB?

Wage earners, contract workers and self-employed people who don’t qualify for Employment Insurance are eligible to use the CERB. Individuals who quit their jobs voluntarily will not be eligible for the CERB.

Can people access both EI and the CERB at the same time?

No – individuals who qualify for both may apply for either program but not concurrently. Applying for one program will not disqualify an individual from applying to the other. For example, a person could apply for 4 months of CERB, and after that expires may apply for EI (if qualified).

How to apply?

The online portal for CERB applications will be opened on April 6, 2020. Canadian applicants will receive their CERB payments within 10 days and payment will be sent every 4 weeks. The maximum number of weeks that CERB payments are made is capped at 16 weeks.

Employee Financial Support: For Employees Who Lose Their Jobs Or Face Reduced Hours

  • Emergency support benefit delivered through Canada Revenue Agency to provide up to $5.0 billion in support to workers not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment
  • More details on this still to be released by government

To stay informed visit the Employment Insurance website

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