Government of Canada proposed changes to employment insurance and support benefits

Last Thursday, Tanya Walker and Jordan Koenig of Walker Law presented a webinar to provide updates on how the pandemic has impacted employment law. Click here to watch the webinar recording on our YouTube channel. 

Just hours after the webinar, the Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Employment, Carla Qualtrough, made an important announcement regarding changes to Employment Insurance (“EI”) and the introduction of new income support benefits which will be effective September 27, 2020, for up to one year. This article will provide you with a summary of the proposed changes and support benefits. 


The Government of Canada announced the extension of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”), which provides employed and self-employed Canadian’s who are directly affected by COVID-19 with financial support. Eligible persons may receive $2,000 a month. The CERB was extended for an additional four weeks, for a maximum of 28 weeks, meaning that individuals who qualify will receive an additional month of support until October 3, 2020. 


EI provides benefits to individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are available to work but cannot find employment. On August 20, the Government of Canada announced the extension of EI benefits adding more than 400,000 individuals into the program. Those who qualify are eligible for a taxable benefit of at least $400 per week, or $240 per week for extended parental benefits, and regular benefits for a minimum period of 26 weeks. 


The Government of Canada announced the Canada Recovery Benefit (“CRB”). The purpose of the plan is to help support Canadians who are moving to the next phase of recovery during COVID-19. The CRB will provide $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to individuals who are self-employed or otherwise ineligible for EI, but still require income support and are looking for work. The CRB would allow participants to earn more while still receiving benefits than is normally allowed under traditional EI. 


The proposed Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (“CRSB”) would provide those who become sick or must self-isolate for reasons related to COVID-19 with $500 taxable benefit per week, for up to two weeks. 


Lastly, the Government of Canada has proposed the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (“CRCB”). The CRCB would provide those who qualify with a $500 benefit per week, up to 26 weeks per household, for those who are unable to work because they must care for:

  • children under the age of 12 who are home because of school or daycare closures as a result of COVID-19;
  • a family member or dependent with a disability who is home because their day program or care facility is closed as a result of COVID-19; or
  • a child, dependent, or family member with a disability who is home because a medical professional has advised them not to attend school, daycare, or other care facilities, due to them being at high-risk if they contract COVID-19.

The Federal government intends to introduce legislation bringing these proposed changes into law in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor the progress and provide updates as they are announced.

This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be independent legal advice.  

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