New temporary benefits after CERB from the Federal COVID-19 Response Plan

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The CERB has ended but new temporary supports for workers affected by the pandemic are now available starting October 12, 2020.

Employment Insurance benefits

Those who have been receiving CERB benefits through Service Canada and are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) will be automatically transitioned over to the new program. Meanwhile, those who applied through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and meet the eligibility will need to apply for EI (which is administered by Service Canada). Other individuals who should apply for the new EI also include: those with 900-series insurance numbers such as temporary foreign workers and international students, and self-employed workers who received benefits through Service Canada.

New EI claimants will be required to self-report on their employment status and apply every two weeks to keep receiving support. They must make reasonable and ongoing job search efforts while receiving EI.

What’s new with EI?

The updated EI program is now more flexible and accessible. Temporary changes to the program will allow those who were employed for at least 120 hours in the past 52 weeks to receive a taxable benefit of at least $500 a week, or $300 per week for extended parental benefits. You may be eligible for EI if you:

  • have received CERB (the 52 week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended)
  • stopped working through no fault of your own
  • have not quit their job voluntarily
  • are ready, willing and capable of work each day (EI regular benefits)
  • are temporarily unable to work while you care for someone else or yourself

If you do not qualify for EI based on the above mentioned criteria, you may be eligible for the following new temporary benefits:

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Who is it for? CRB is for individuals who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for EI but still require support.
How much will they receive? CRB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

Who is it for? It is for eligible workers who cannot work because they are sick with COVID-19 or must self-isolate because of COVID-19.
How much will they receive? CRSB provides a benefit of $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Who is it for? This is for eligible workers who are unable to work because they must care for a child or family-member for reasons related to COVID-19 or because schools, daycares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19.
How much will they receive? The CRCB provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household.

The three new benefits would provide weekly support for eligible applicants who:

  • are living and are present in Canada in the application period
  • are at least 15 years old on the first day of the application period
  • have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020 or in the last 12 months before application
  • stopped working due to the pandemic or have reduced work hours or reduced income by 50% due to reasons related to COVID-19
  • have not quit their job voluntarily

(For complete eligibility requirements and to apply, go to the Canada COVID-19 Economic Response Plan page).

Sources: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan; CERB is ending, here is what to know about your benefits, Jackie Dunham, CTV News; and The CERB is over – here’s what you need to know now, Kathleen Harris, CBC News. Accessed September 29, 2020.

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