News Releases: Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge Park
August 20, 2020
Updated Emergency Measures by the Canadian Federal Government
The Government of Canada is continuing to take significant and decisive action to support Canadians and protect jobs during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was an important and necessary temporary response to support Canadians who had to stop working due to the pandemic. As we safely restart Canada’s economy, the Government will be transitioning to a simplified Employment Insurance (EI) program, effective September 27, 2020, to provide income support to those who remain unable to work and are eligible, and introducing a new suite of temporary and taxable recovery benefits to further support workers.
CERB Extension by 4 weeks:
While the Government prepares for this transition, and to ensure support continues for Canadians whose employment has been impacted by the pandemic, the CERB will be extended by an additional four weeks, providing a new maximum of up to 28 weeks of benefits.
Easier access to Employment Insurance
Recognizing that due to the pandemic, many Canadians would not have been able to accumulate sufficient hours to access EI, a one time insurable hours credit of 300 hours (for job loss) and 480 hours (for sickness/ maternity or caregiver) will be given. This will enable workers to access EI with 120 hours of minimum insurable earnings.
All EI recipients will also be able to access $400 per week as minimum benefits .The minimum benefit rate of $400 will reduce the negative impact on EI benefit rates for these workers and align with the weekly benefit rate for the new Canada Recovery Benefit described below. Applicants will also be eligible for at least 26 weeks of regular benefits.
EI Premium Rate Freeze
To support Canadian businesses and workers through the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is freezing the EI premium rate for employees at the 2020 level of $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings for two years. The rate for employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate, will also remain unchanged at $2.21 per $100 of insurable earnings.
Freezing the premium rate will ensure that employees and employers do not have to pay increased EI premiums.
Introduction of three new benefits:
As the CERB begins to wind down, the Government plans to introduce a suite of three new recovery benefits to provide needed support to Canadians who continue to face financial hardship even as the economy starts to re-open. The three new benefits are:
- Canada Recovery Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Benefit would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year and would provide a benefit amount of $400 per week for up to 26 weeks to workers who are not eligible for EI, mainly the self-employed and including those working in the gig economy.
- Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit would provide $500 per week, for up to two weeks, effective September 27, 2020 for one year, for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must self-isolate due to COVID-19. This new benefit would fulfil the Government of Canada’s commitment as part of the Safe Restart Agreement with provinces and territories to provide up to two weeks of sick leave to all Canadians in the context of COVID-19.
- Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
The new Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit, would be effective from September 27, 2020 for one year, and provide $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible Canadians.
The closure of schools and other daycare and day program facilities to prevent the spread of COVID 19 has meant that many Canadians have been unable to work because they needed to provide care to children or support to other dependents who had to stay home. While it is anticipated that facilities will gradually re-open as the economy restarts, the Government of Canada recognizes that access may vary over time and across communities. The Government is committed to ensuring that parents and others with dependents do not need to choose between caring for them and paying the bills.
Canadians already receiving benefits through Service Canada will be transitioned to the EI program once they have received the maximum CERB benefits for which they are entitled, if they are EI eligible and continue to need income support.
Canadians who are currently receiving the CERB from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who believe they are entitled to EI will need to apply through Service Canada after September 26.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would administer the Canada Recovery Benefits, and Canadians would be able to apply through the CRA. More information will be made available by the CRA in the weeks to come.
Details on the new benefit, and all federal COVID-19 supports can be accessed at www.Canada.ca/Coronavirus
At a news conference on Parliament Hill, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough discuss the federal government’s plan
for the migration of recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to Employment Insurance (EI). The CERB, which pays $2,000 every four weeks to eligible Canadians who are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to expire in September