On August 20, 2020, the New Minister of Finance, the Honorable Chrystia Freeland in cooperation with the Minister of Employment Carla Qualtrough, announced some changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new income support benefits that will better support all Canadians that are affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Accordingly, the following are highlights of what has been announced:
- The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be extended by an additional four weeks to a maximum of 28 weeks. This means that for the many Canadians expecting to exhaust their CERB benefits at the end of August, will now be able to access an additional month of support.
- As Canada safely restart its economy, the government will transition people who have been receiving the CERB to a more flexible and generous EI program for those who qualify, at the end of the CERB program in September:
- Those who qualify for EI and those who may not have qualified before will be eligible for a taxable benefit of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits;
- Benefits will be accessible for a minimum duration of 26 weeks;
- The federal government will continue to work with the provinces to those receiving EI benefits have access to skills training and employment supports, to help them get back to work;
- To assist employers who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government will freeze the EI insurance premium rates for two years, so workers and businesses will not face immediate increases to costs and payroll deductions due to the additional expenses resulting from the pandemic.
- The government will introduce new legislation to support the implementation of the following three new benefits:
- The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks, to workers who are self-employed or are not eligible for EI and who still require income support and are available and looking for work;
- The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500 per week for up to two weeks, for workers who are sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19;
- 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 child under age 12 due to the closures of schools or daycares because of COVID-19.
- A family member with a disability or a dependent because their day program or care facility is closed due to COVID-19.
- A child, a family member with a disability, or a dependent who is not attending school, daycare, or other care facilities under the advice of a medical professional due to being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.
For more information please contact your RSW advisor.
On July 17, 2020, the Minister of Finance has announced new and modified measures to the current Canada Employment Wage Subsidy (CEWS). As the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will wind down in August, the intent is to have the new CEWS measures pick up and provide a much needed revitalization to the current employment numbers, and entice employers to hire back furloughed workers as the economy restarts.
The proposed changes would include:
- An extension of the program until December 19, 2020;
- Qualifying employers who had less than 30% decline in revenues and a corresponding gradual decrease in base subsidy for qualifying employers;
- Ensuring employers who have previously qualified could still qualify, even their revenues no longer meet the 30%;
- Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly;
- Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they would not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have had under the previous rules.
We will have more details to share with you, as soon as these are made available by the Department of Finance.
If you have any questions please contact your RSW advisor.
We are hoping that you are reading our message in the comfort and safety of your home. Nothing in this world matters as much as our health and the health of our loved ones. So, we want to thank you for your continuous support and encouragements and we want you to know that we are doing our best in keeping you informed of the rules of the programs announced by the federal and provincial governments.
1.) What is the Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB)?
The CERB covers Canadians who lost their job, are sick, are quarantined, or are taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.
2.) Who does it apply to?
The CERB would apply to
- Wage earners,
- Salaried employees
- Contract workers and employees
- Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- Self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI)
3.) What is the period covered by the CERB?
Starting March 15, 2020, it will cover a period of 4 months or 16 weeks, and beneficiaries will be entitled up to $2,000 per month or every 4 weeks. The $2,000 will be issued by Services Canada and will be administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
4.) How and when to apply?
It is to note that, in early April, CRA will have a dedicated secured portal to handle the CERB applications and would require you to create a CRA My Account profile. If you already have an account, you don’t need to create a new one. You can apply by simply logging in and completing the application. Please make sure your 2018 T1 Income Tax and Benefit return and your 2018 notice of assessment are with you when you apply as certain information from these documents is required to complete and process your application.
5.) How to qualify?
The CERB applies to individuals who have had $5,000 in employment income, self-employment income, or maternity or parental leave benefits for 2019 or in the 12-month period preceding the time they made the application. If you have previously applied for EI and your application is either in process or has not processed yet, you don’t need to apply. Your application will be automatically processed under the CERB program. If you have started receiving regular or expanded EI Benefits, you will continue receiving and should not apply for the CERB benefits. If your EI Benefits end before October 3, 2020, you can then apply for the CERB after your benefits end, as long as you are not employed.
6.) When will the payments start?
Canadians would begin to receive their CERB payments within 10 days of application. The CERB would be paid every four weeks and be available from March 15, 2020, until October 3, 2020. It is highly advisable, that while you are completing your application, register for the direct deposit in order to receive the benefits in a secure and efficient manner. In the meantime, if you require further information, please don’t hesitate to contact your RSW advisor.