Federal Government Expands Employment Insurance and Introduces New Recovery Benefits

The government of Canada has expanded the Employment Insurance (EI) Program, and introduced three new benefits in response to COVID-19 for those who are not eligible for EI.

General information about the changes can be found here.

A chart that summarizes the EI changes can be found here. A chart that summarizes the new benefits can be found here.

Questions and answers about the new benefits can be found here.

We thank our friends at the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) for assistance with compiling this information. For ISAC’s detailed updates regarding income support in the wake of COVID-19, see here.

Employment Insurance Benefits

Beginning September 27, 2020, the government implemented temporary changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program. There are a number of changes, including the requirement that people need to have worked 120 insured hours in the previous 52 weeks to be eligible. If eligible, people will receive the benefits at a rate of 55% of their average weekly earnings, but with a minimum of $500 per week, up to a maximum of $573 per week (before taxes withheld). This means that even if 55% of a person’s weekly earnings falls below $500, that person will receive the minimum $500 per week (before taxes withheld).

More information can be found here.

Questions and answers about EI can be found here.

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

CRB is for people who are employed or self-employed, and who don’t qualify for EI. To receive the benefit these workers must have stopped working due to COVID-19, or had their income reduced by at least 50% compared to the previous year due to COVID-19. If eligible, people can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period. A new application will have to be submitted to receive benefits for more than 2 weeks. People may apply up to a total of 13 eligibility periods (26 weeks).

More information can be found here.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

CRSB is for workers who are ill or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19. If eligible, people can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) per week, for up to two weeks. To qualify, people need to meet criteria similar to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), such as earnings of $5000 in 2019 or in the previous 12 months.

More information can be found here.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

CRCB is for people who are unable to work because they need to care for a child under the age of 12, a family member or a dependent who needs supervised care. This applies if their school, regular program or facility is closed or unavailable to them due to COVID-19, or because they are sick, self-isolating, or at risk of serious health complications due to COVID-19. If eligible, people can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for each 1-week period. A new application will have to be submitted to receive benefits for more than 1 week. People may apply up to a total of 26 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021.

More information can be found here.

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