To help Canadians facing financial hardships when employees were out of work at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program. With most businesses and services now reopened, or in the process of reopening, CERB will be coming to an end. However, there is a recognition that Canadians will still require financial support.
On Thursday, August 20th, it was announced that as CERB ends, eligible Canadians will be transitioned to an enhanced EI (employment insurance) program. To allow a seamless transition, CERB will be extended by four weeks and then transition to the new EI program, which is set to begin on September 27th, 2020 and last for a year. The federal government also announced three new programs for individuals who still do not qualify for EI with the proposed enhancements.
The New and Enhanced EI Program
In order to allow more Canadians to be eligible for EI, the proposed changes to the current EI program are as follows:
- 120 hours of work required to qualify
- Minimum benefit rate of $400 (or $240 for extended parental benefits) per week
- At least 26 weeks of regular benefits
In order to receive the new EI benefits, individuals will have to apply every 2 weeks to continue to receive supports. If you are currently getting CERB
- via Service Canada and you are eligible for EI, you will be automatically transitioned to EI
- via the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) and you are eligible for EI, you will need to apply via Service Canada starting September 27th, 2020
Even with the proposed changes to EI, some individuals will still not qualify. There are three new benefit programs to address these individuals. Applications for these other programs are set to open in October. Brief information on these additional programs can be found below.
Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB)
- $400 per week for up to 26 weeks
- For self-employed individuals and those not eligible for EI who still need financial support, who are looking for work
- For individuals who had an income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or 2020
- For individuals who have not quit their job voluntarily
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
- $500 per week for up to two weeks
- For those who are sick or must self-isolate for COVID-19 related reasons
Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit
- $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household
- For those unable to work because they are caring for a child under 12 or another dependent whose school, daycare or other day program facility is shut down due to COVID-19
For more information about CERB, EI and the three additional programs, you can visit these following links:
Supporting Canadians Through the Next Phase of the Economy Re-opening: Increased Access to EI and Recovery Benefits
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Government of Canada announces plan to help support Canadians through the next phase of the recovery
CERB is transitioning to EI. What does that mean?
What we know so far about the CERB to EI transition
Liberals unveil $37B for CERB transition to new benefits, EI changes