The Federal Government has announced the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be coming to an end September 27, 2020. But what does this mean for the 4.5 million Canadians currently on CERB? See below the proposed new benefits and qualifications for Employment Insurance (EI):

Employment Insurance (EI)

For those who qualify for EI and have been receiving CERB from Service Canada, they will be automatically transitioned into EI benefits once CERB ends.

For those who qualify for EI and have been receiving CERB from CRA, they will need to apply through Service Canada.

There are two kinds of EI you can apply for:

  1. EI Regular Benefits
    1. For workers who lost their jobs involuntarily and are actively looking for work
    2. Eligible workers will receive a minimum of $400 for up to 26 weeks or $240 for extended parental benefits
  2. EI Special Benefits
    1. For workers and self-employed individuals who are absent from work due to specific life circumstances including sickness, maternity, parental benefits and compassionate care or family caregivers

In both cases, to qualify workers must report at least 120 hours of work in the past 52 weeks or since their last claim (instead of the usual 420-700 hours for regular benefits and 600 hours for special benefits depending on the region). For workers who have not established their EI claim from March 15-September 26 due to not having enough worked, the government has proposed a one-time credit system. Through this, workers could receive a credit of 300 hours for regular benefits or 480 hours for special benefits.

Individuals will need to apply every to weeks to ensure they continue to meet requirements.

As well, self-employed individuals can still work and apply for the EI Special Benefits but would need to repay $0.50 of the benefit for each dollar earned over $38,000.

Three New Proposed Benefits

The federal government has proposed three new benefits to assist those who are not eligible for EI and still need temporary income support.

The three new proposed benefits are as follows:

  1. The Canada Recovery Benefit
    1. For workers who do not qualify for EI, are self-employed and cannot resume or return to work
    2. Will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks
    3. SEPT. 25 UPDATE: The proposed amount per week has been updated to $500 per week to match CERB payments, still waiting on approval.
  2. The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
    1. For works who are ill or must self-isolate due to COVID-19 reasons
    2. Will provide $500 per week for up to 2 weeks
  3. The Canada Recovery Care-giving Benefit
    1. For those who are unable to work because they care for a child under 12 or another dependent whose school, daycare or other day program facility is shut down due to COVID-19
    2. Will provide $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household

Please note that all the benefits have only been proposed and require parliamentary approval to become available. Parliament is currently shut down until September 23rd, in which a new bill including the changes can be introduced.

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